Neither a horse borrower nor a lender be (1910)

Why not to borrow a friend’s horse

Borrowing a friend’s horse, or even accepting the loan of one, is a very risky business — for accidents almost always happen, and frequently the damage done is irreparable.

It is usually the person who has but little knowledge of horses who puts himself in either position, so if the result is not a runaway or a collision — with broken bones thrown in — the horse will probably be lamed by careless driving or foundered by kind heartedness in giving it a long drink when overheated or allowing it to cool off in a breeze.

And yet this kind of thing is being done constantly. One will hear some man who is going off on a trip imploring a woman he knows to drive or ride his horses when he is away, making the offer merely because he likes her and ignoring the risk of her not knowing how to handle a horse. The awkwardness of the situation later on can hardly be described, for to know that a friend has been injured through the fault of one’s treasured horse, even though it came from bad driving, is both a grief and a mortification, and if the horse is injured, the lender’s rage against every one concerned — including himself — is everlasting. “For a good horse,” one woman-hater said, “is more precious than the love of woman, which is quoted as above the value of rubies somewhere.”

To keep one’s horse and one’s friends, therefore, it is wisest to keep them apart.

Illustration: Derby-winning horse Lemberg; From an Arents Cigarette Card, 1910

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