RICHARD PORTER

Horse power, rum coves and the faint whiff of ma­nure…

Evo India - - DRIVEN - Yours faith­fully, Henry Ful­ton-Wearn­aby Sod­dery, Bucks

DEAR SIRS, Am I alone in be­ing con­cerned about the amount of at­ten­tion given to the new fad of ‘mo­tor cars’? I am par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about the cov­er­age in your pub­li­ca­tion and can­not disguise my dis­ap­point­ment at this un­wel­come devel­op­ment. I seek refuge in your pages to es­cape the in­fer­nal in­sis­tence of lesser jour­nals in cham­pi­oning mo­tor cars de­spite their ob­vi­ous fail­ings. One has to won­der what un­der­hand agree­ments must have been forged to per­suade oth­er­wise sen­si­ble pe­ri­od­i­cals to leap with both feet onto such a fool­ish and fad­dish band­wagon. I would have hoped that you gen­tle­men would have been above such fickle fash­ions, but ev­i­dence in re­cent is­sues gives me grave cause to won­der if you are los­ing sight of what made this magazine my pri­mary and favoured source of in­for­ma­tion about the sub­ject beloved by so many of your loyal read­ers – the high-per­for­mance horse.

I do not en­ter your pages to be told that within a few short months or years we shall all be trans­ported by these in­fer­nal mo­tor cars and I would re­mind you to re­mem­ber your role as wise guardians and de­fend­ers of the horse’s good stand­ing. I my­self ride a fouryear-old Thor­ough­bred, hav­ing pre­vi­ously owned a fast but tem­per­a­men­tal Arab, a se­ries of Warm­bloods and var­i­ous Cobs, and I can tell you there is no mo­tor car made that can ri­val the tal­ents of­fered by my steed. Fur­ther­more, I doubt there ever will be.

I have read, in your pages amongst oth­ers, the grand claims made for the re­mark­able per­for­mance that is pos­si­ble from a mo­tor car, but that is to over­look the fact that, for those of us with an en­thu­si­as­tic bent, trans­porta­tion is far more than a mere process to get from A to B and there is no mo­tor car I have yet seen that can match the sheer per­son­al­ity of my horse nor the won­der­ful sounds it makes, from the clop of his hooves to the neighs and whin­nies that emerge from his prow.

It strikes me that the mo­tor car also comes with sev­eral draw­backs, chief among which is the vexed prob­lem of meet­ing the ap­petite of the blasted things. When I am upon my horse I can pull over in prac­ti­cally any town or vil­lage and be con­fi­dent there will be some straw or car­rots with which to quickly and con­ve­niently re­plen­ish the beast. A mo­tor car rider sim­ply can­not do this, be­ing re­quired in­stead to go through the tire­some process of seek­ing out a chemist’s shop, buy­ing some pe­tro­leum, and then putting it into their ma­chine. My horse and I will be long gone by then! This is a per­ni­cious prob­lem that mo­tor car en­thu­si­asts seem to gloss over, yet it is patently a se­vere draw­back and one that will per­sist. Af­ter all, how are we to solve it, short of cov­er­ing our land with dozens, nay hun­dreds, of sta­tions to dis­pense petrol? It sim­ply will not hap­pen! Fur­ther­more, even if such a far-fetched in­fra­struc­ture were to be built, what would hap­pen if and when ev­ery sin­gle mo­tor car owner in the land at­tempted to fill up at the same time? The ef­fect would be cat­a­strophic.

I hear time and again of the sup­posed ben­e­fits of the mo­tor car, none of which sound con­vinc­ing, least of all the claim that our en­vi­ron­ment will ben­e­fit. This is noth­ing less than a di­rect corol­lary of the tire­some de­mon­i­sa­tion of the horse that has been go­ing on for some years now and is, of course, pure scare­mon­ger­ing of the worst kind. As I look from the win­dow of my study do I see the sup­posed rivers of equine fae­ces that the doom and gloom crowd would claim are blight­ing our town streets? Ab­so­lutely not. There are barely any piles of the stuff, it hardly smells at all, and my physi­cian sug­gests that my daugh­ter’s ill­ness could have been caused by many other things. To my mind, a small amount of stench and dis­ease and the vast clouds of flies that fill the air year-round are a small price to pay for the joy and lib­erty brought about by the good, hon­est horse and I would re­mind you, the de­cent peo­ple of this pub­li­ca­tion, to think more about main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo for those of us who like it and less about fol­low­ing the ridicu­lous whims of im­prac­ti­cal mo­tor car buf­foons who most likely as not are the kind of rum coves who would, dare I say it, vote for the Lib­eral Party. The mo­tor car is noth­ing less than a folly and a fad and I will not have it.

This let­ter was first pub­lished in the Jan­uary 1900 edi­tion of ev‑woah! (in­cor­po­rat­ing Sporty Horse)

The mo­tor car comes with sev­eral draw­backs, chief among which is meet­ing the ap­petite of the blasted things

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