STARTING. A horse is said to start, that is skittish or timorous, and that takes every object he sees to be otherwise than it is.
This fault is most common to horses that have defects in their eyes, or that have been kept a long time in the stable without airing: a starting horse should never be beat in his consternation, but made to advance gently, and by soothing means, to the object that alarms him, till he recovers and gains confidence.
It is also used for a hare being moved from her seat, or for a racehorse beginning his course; indeed it is so appropriated to this, that it is difficult to find a phrase to explain it. In the first instance, it is used as a transitive verb ; in the last, as a neuter, when applied to the horse, though sometimes the owner will say, " I mean to start my horse."
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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