Prof. Low 'Domesticated Animals' page 546. With respect to the writer in India see 'India Sporting Review' volume 2 page 181. As Lawrence has remarked ('The Horse' page 9), "perhaps no instance has ever occurred of a three-part bred horse (i.e. a horse, one of whose grandparents was of impure blood) saving his distance in running two miles with thoroughbred racers." Some few instances are on record of seven-eights racers having been successful.) It is notorious that the Arabs have long been as careful about the pedigree of their horses as we are, and this implies great and continued care in breeding. Seeing what has been done in England by careful breeding, can we doubt that the Arabs must likewise have produced during the course of centuries a marked effect on the qualities of their horses? But we may go much farther back in time, for in the Bible we hear of studs carefully kept for breeding, and of horses imported at high prices from various countries. (2/29. Prof. Gervais 'Hist. Nat. Mamm.' tome 2 page 144 has collected many facts on this head. For instance Solomon (1 Kings x. 28) bought horses in Egypt at a high price.) We may therefore conclude that, whether or not the various existing breeds of the horse have proceeded from one or more aboriginal stocks, yet that a great amount of change has resulted from the direct action of the conditions of life, and probably a still greater amount from the long-continued selection by man of slight individual differences.

With several domesticated quadrupeds and birds, certain coloured marks are either strongly inherited or tend to reappear after having been lost for a long time. As this subject will hereafter be seen to be of importance, I will give a full account of the colouring of horses. All English breeds, however unlike in size and appearance, and several of those in India and the Malay archipelago, present a similar range and diversity of colour. The English race-horse, however, is said (2/30. 'The Field' July 13, 1861 page 42.) never to be dun-coloured; but as dun and cream-coloured horses are considered by the Arabs as worthless, "and fit only for Jews to ride" (2/31. E. Vernon Harcourt 'Sporting in Algeria' page 26.), these tints may have been removed by long-continued selection. Horses of every colour, and of such widely different kinds as dray-horses, cobs, and ponies, are all occasionally dappled (2/32. I state this from my own observations made during several years on the colours of horses. I have seen cream-coloured, light-dun and mouse-dun horses dappled, which I mention because it has been stated (Martin 'History of the Horse' page 134) that duns are never dappled. Martin (page 205) refers to dappled asses. In the 'Farrier' (London 1828 pages 453, 455) there are some good remarks on the dappling of horses; and likewise in Col. Hamilton Smith on 'The Horse.'), in the same manner as is so conspicuous with grey horses. This fact does not throw any clear light on the colouring of the aboriginal horse, but is a case of analogous variation, for even asses are sometimes dappled, and I have seen, in the British Museum, a hybrid from the ass and zebra dappled on its hinder quarters. By the expression analogous variation (and it is one that I shall often have occasion to use) I mean a variation occurring in a species or variety which resembles a normal character in another and distinct species or variety. Analogous variations may arise, as will be explained in a future chapter, from two or more forms with a similar constitution having been exposed to similar conditions,--or from one of two forms having reacquired through reversion a character inherited by the other form from their common progenitor,--or from both forms having reverted to the same ancestral character. We shall immediately see that horses occasionally exhibit a tendency to become striped over a large part of their bodies; and as we know that in the varieties of the domestic cat and in several feline species stripes readily pass into spots and cloudy marks--even the cubs of the uniformly-coloured lion being spotted with dark marks on a lighter ground--we may suspect that the dappling of the horse, which has been noticed by some authors with surprise, is a modification or vestige of a tendency to become striped.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V1 Page 38

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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