Old books have all kinds of useful tidbits in them, which I suppose was very helpful when you couldn’t simply google a topic such as “Hints on Humanity to Animals.” The Farm Account Book of 1883 highlighted 17 such “hints” on page 127:
1. – In frosty weather warm the bit before putting it into the horse’s mouth.
2. – Never startle a horse by striking him suddenly or unexpectedly, especially if he has on a blind bridle.
3. – Treat your horse kindly. Anger, severity and sudden jerking endanger your harness, our vehicle and your life, besides permanently injuring your horse.
4. – Be well provided with horse blankets, particularly at night or in cold weather if allowed to stand out.
5. – If the shoulders are tender, feverish and disposed to chafe, rub them well, and afterwards wash with salt water. This should be done after unharnessing, so that the parts bathed may be dry before work is resumed.
6. – Do not overload your team, as it occasions blindness, spavin, splint, glanders, farcy and other painful and fatal disorders.
7. – See that the harness fits easily in every part, and that the shoes are tight and well put on.
8. – Curry, rub and clean well and thoroughly at least once every day. The effect is worth half the feed.
9. – Never use a check rein, as it makes a horse restless and uneasy, and often prevents him from recovering himself in case of a stumble or fall.
10. – When the heat is oppressive drive very slow, and in icy weather keep the animal sharp shod. A few dollars expended in this way will undoubtedly save your horse from serious injury, and perhaps from loss of life.
11. – Keep your wheels well greased and examine your horse’s feet every night to see if there is any stone or dirt between the hoof and the shoe.
12. – When a horse is hot or fatigued from labor, walk him about till cool, groom him quite dry, first with straw and then with a brush; rub his legs well with the hands and give him his grain as soon as he is cool, dry and willing to eat.
13. – Lead the horse carefully out of the stable. Accustom him to stand quite still until you are ready to start. Go slowly the first and last mile, and never use the whip if you can help it.
14. – Be always on your guard, just feeling the mouth with the bit lightly and steadily.
15. – If a horse shies never whip him or pat him, but speak encouragingly, and let him come slowly towards the object.
16. – Never drive fast in the dark, nor in town, nor add your own weight to a load that is already heavy enough.
17. – Never tease or tickle the horse; and don’t forget that old horses, like old men, lose their teeth and their chewing abilities; therefore, bruise the grain and cut the hay for the old nags who can’t get “store teeth.”
Related link: The Farm Account Book