OVER-MARK. Nimrod.inone of his papers on the Condition of Hunters, and we believe the credit must be given to him as having first drawn the attention of the sporting world to the subject, says,—" When a horse is very much exhausted after a long run with hounds, a noise will sometimes be heard to proceed from his inside, which is often erroneously supposed to be the beating of his heart; whereas it proceeds from the excessive motion of the abdominal muscles. All horses, however, who die from exertions beyond the limits of vital power, die from suffocation; and on this account, as soon as we perceive a horse to be much over-marked, he should have from three to four quarts of blood drawn from his neck immediately on his getting home, to relieve the pressure on his lungs; and one ounce of carbonate of ammonia (salt of hartshorn, a powerful stimulant) should be given him every four hours during that night, and part of the next day, in a ball. Although he should be put into the coolest stable that can be found—nay, indeed, into an open shed, well littered down, if the symptoms are alarming—yet a strong determination of the blood to the surface should be kept up by friction of the legs, belly, and head, and by very warm clothing on the body. A good cordial ball, or a pint of mulled port wine well spiced, should also be given him, and his bowels should be relieved by a clyster of warm gruel. If the action of the heart and arteries do not soon abate, he should be well blistered behind his e1bows, and lose some more blood ; and I think I may venture to say that if this treatment does not save his life there is too much reason to fear he is beyond the reach of man.
" Many persons are apt to imagine that when horses are over-marked cordials are improper, and that the reducing or repellant system is alone to be pursued. This, however, is quite a mistaken notion; for although bleeding is resorted to in order to relieve the pressure on the lungs, from the greatly increased action of the heart and arteries, yet a stimulus is afterwards wanting to assist almost expiring nature.
Having mentioned the most effectual measures to be adopted when life appears in danger, proceed we now to detail the directing symptoms of this too frequent occurrence, and the best way of treating a horse after what may be termed a very hard day.
Long days with bounds—by which I mean severe running, with perhaps a brace of foxes, and upwards of twenty miles home afterwards— are most injurious to hunters, and call forth all the skill and judgment of their grooms to recover them from their effects. If mere fatigue be the consequence, rest, that vis medicatrix nature, will do all that is necessary: hut if a horse is what is called over-marked, his groom must be on the alert. There are two or three directing symptoms which cannot easily be mistaken. In the first place, his appetite fails him, and he is very greedy for his water. His respiration is not so smooth as it should be, and there is a considerable relaxation in the muscles in the interstices of the hips. Notice should also be taken of bis pulse; but if that is not understood by his groom, the inside of his eyelids should be examined, and if fever is denoted by them he should lose a gallon of blood, but not otherwise. A pectoral ball, and two ounces of nitre in his water, should be given him; and, instead of his corn, he should have what gruel he will drink, and a large bran mash, made rather thin, and nearly cold, which will be not only most grateful to him, but, by relaxing his bowels, will prevent fever, which is certain, more or less, to accompany him. Sometimes inflammation comes on very rapidly after a hard day, bidding defiance to all precautions, and, too often, if it does not destroy him, renders the horse unfit for a hunter, as it generally terminates in his feet. If he does not cast his hoofs entirely, they become what is termed " pumice," and take a long time to recover. Horses that have had fever in their feet generally go on their heels afterwards, and the inside of their feet becomes convex, instead of being concave.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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