GIVE-AND-TAKE PLATES, where horses, carried a certain weight according to their height, regulated by a graduated scale :—. thus, horses measuring fourteen hands, to carry nine stone; above or below which height, to carry seven pounds more or less, for every inch higher or lower than the fourteen hands fixed as the criterion.
Example. — A horse measuring fourteen hands one inch and a half (four inches making one hand), will carry nine stone, ten pounds, eight ounces: a horse measuring thirteen hands two inches and a half, will carry only eight stone, three pounds, eight ounces; the former being one inch and a half above the fourteen hands, the other one inch and a half below it; the weight is therefore added or diminished by the eighth of every inch, higher or lower, weight in proportion. The horses were measured on a flat stone, about six feet long and three feet broad.
The two broad lines on the stone are five feet distant from each other, the space allowed between the animal's fore and hind feet; and the length of each line is two feet, the space allowed between the two fore feet, as also the same between the two hind feet.
It was a practice to make the horse shrink down when touched on his withers; and thus, when they felt the standard, they, from use, would crouch a little, which of course made them appear less than they really were, and entitled them to carry a less weight than they ought in the race.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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