"The Art of Horsemanship"
4th Century B.C.
In examining his body, we say you must first look at his feet. For, however well the upper parts may look he will be quite useless if he has bad feet. High hooves have the frog, as it is called, well off the ground; but flat hoofs tread with the strongest and weakest part of the foot simultaneously, like a bow-legged man. The bones (of the pastern) should not be too upright, like a goats: such legs give too hard a tread, jar the rider, and are more liable to inflammation. The bones of the shanks should be thick, since these are the pillars of the body. Supple knees are tightly approved, since they render the gorse less likely to stumble and tire than stiff legs. A chest of some width is better formed both for appearance and for strength, and for carrying the legs well apart without crossing. His neck should stand straight up to the chest, like a cock’s, and should be flexible at the bend. The head should be bony, with a small cheek. A prominent eye looks more alert than one that is hollow, and it gives the horse a greater range of vision. A fairly large crest and fairly small ears give the more characteristic shape to a horse’s head. High withers offer the rider a safer seat and a stronger grip on the shoulders. The double back is both softer to sit on than the single and more pleasing to the eye. The colt that is longest in the shanks at the time he is foaled makes the biggest horse. For, in all quadrupeds the shanks increase but little in size as time goes on, whereas the rest of the body grows to them, so as to be in the right proportion.