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These horse care tips come from a translation from Samuelsson's Horse Care book - from a book I inherited from my grandfather who had horses. His book was printed in 1863, and is itself a translation from the original which was published in Sweden around 1775. I have translated this from old Finnish, and so some of the "clumsiness" in translation is intentional. (I have added the more modern terms in brackets in blue.) 

21. Nail (keratin?) in the eye

It is known by a black line on the outmost part. It is bigger than (?)… With this the eye is pressed so that the eyeball gets lighter in color and starts to run. Open the vein under the eye. The next day dip a fine feather into water and twirl it in the above mentioned powder (see 20.). Open the eye, put the feather in the eye and let it be there until bean-sized water drops begin to run. Then pull it slowly out. But be certain it is a matter of nail/keratin in the eye, because not everything that looks like nail in the eye is that, and many have ruined their horse's eye by unnecessary cutting.

22. Another medicine to the same 

Take a spoonful of white honey; white vitriol and white potassium bitartrate; both for the amount of a swallow's egg - mix, wipe into the horse's eye with a feather; but if not potent enough, put same amount of verdigris you have crushed very fine. 

It is possible to blow salts and saltpetre (potassium nitrate) into the eye using a pen or a straw.

23. Glaucoma

First you see in the pupil, at the bottom of the eye like a white bean that more and more gets wider until it covers the whole  pupil; of this the horse can become quite blind; and the blinder he is, the more he opens his eyes.

First open the eyesight-vein; and while he is without food, his lung-vein. Give into him 1,7g of Hepar-Antimonio  and 6.5 scruples / 130 grains worth of the noble horse-powder.  One day after this twirl a feather into the before mentioned eye-powder and put it in the eye; repeat this againon the eight day after this.


1,7 g is written as "1/8 luoti".  Luoti = 13,28g and 1/8 = 1,7g. Grain = 0.,068g. 25 x 0,068g = 1,7g

6,5g scruples is written as "5/8 luoti" = 8,5 g. Scruple = 20 garins = 1.296 g. 6,5 scruple / 130 grains = 8,424 g.

24. Film over the eye

When a horse has this condition, you put inside his eye the eye-powder (which is mentioned in Nr. 20), first every fourth day, then every sixth, until a cure happens. -H.I.

25. To the same

When a horse gets a blue film over his eye, but there is no damage to the eyeball, take blue-stone (Vitriolum Sulphuricum), grind into fine powder and put into spring water from a bottle. Shake until mixed and dip a fine feather into it, with which you will smear the eye. -H.I.

  26. Another medicine to the same

Take 23 fluid drams of fresh spring- or well water, mix 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of lead acetate ("plyijy-etikka", blyättika) and spread or bathe the horse's eyes with a fine sea-sponge or loofah you dip into this water. It is good if you can mix 8 or 10 drops of Hoffman's remedy into this. If the film remains in the eye, blow into the eye once or twice a day (depending on the thickness of the film) finely pulvered cleaned saltpetre, mixed with equal amount of sugar.

23 fluid drams is written as "one jumpru" = 8,18cl = 81,8 cm3. 1 fluid dram = 3,5516 cm3

27. one more to the same

Ginger and sugar, of equal measure, is ground and mixed well and from a feather is blown into the eye.

- H.I.

28. papule (freckle) in the eye

It has the appearance of a sharp edge of a stone. You must not touch it with your fingers; instead take a 1/3 quart of spirit in a bottle, add a spoonful of cleaned white honey; shake together and put near a hearth so it warms until lukewarm; dip a feather into the mixture and spread into the eye once a day, until the eye heals. 

1/3 quart is written as "kortteli" = 0,327 l., 1 quart = 0,946 l., 1/3 quart = 0,315 l.

29. Excess fIlm, nail in the eyes of a horse and other creatures
(common advice)

The membrane can sometimes cover too much of the eye. If this happens, do the following: take a needle (the term used was "äimä" which is a big needle used in leather-working), put manure into its eye, put it through the membrane, lift the membrane and cut away. After this smear salts and fresh cream (fresh cover that forms on top of milk). A light and experienced hand is needed to do this. That is: in the spring take a the liver of a burbot, put it in an open drinking glass into the sun, oil will run from it. Smar this with a feather in the mornings and evenings, and the membrane will wear off. It would be beneficial to put half the amount of salt on top if the liver, when it is put in the sunshine in a glass.  That is: put earth worms in a glass, cover it with dough; put into the oven and the while baking the worms will melt; smear this oil into the eye.

30. When the horse's eyes are thick, runny and the head is swollen

This can be seen when the eyes are opened and white matter runs out; the head looks big, hair stands on end and eyes bulge. When you see these signs, open a vein under the eye; take a nutshell's worth of white ginger, half the amount of salt and verdigris for half the amount of salt. Grind these together into fine powder; put a little into each eye using a fine feather, but not before a day has passed after blood-letting. Take care the horse cannot get near anything sharp, for then he will rub and puncture his eyes. - If the disease is in a progressed stage, then cut off the white matter, or it will ruin his eyes. If the horse also has a swollen head; feel with your fingers for the width of the side of your palm, and you will find in the skin, under it a lump of the size of a finger. Open the skin, cut it out and let the blood run out: on second day put quick lime into the wound and then wash clean with warmed spirit and smear the surrounding area with green medicinal salve (of which there is more at the end of the book). If the wound swells, put quick lime again for a day and bathe with spirit; thus the wound will heal and the horse's head will appear dry again. 

This is an old pastel painting of mine. An Arab horse, looking over its shoulder while the wind plays with its mane and tail.

It is still one of my favourites, and I almost feel sorry for selling it...

If you like the painting, click on the picture and you'll be directed to my Redbubble store, where you can buy the design on T-shirts, mugs, notebooks and other gifts. 

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