In The Great Lady Tony, Lucien St. Clare “was the most disgraceful lord in London. He had unforgivably broken a gentleman’s code of honor, unthinkingly broken a legion of ladies’ hearts, and unrepentingly broken every rule of decent behavior.”
The heroine, Lady Antonia, only child of the elegant Duke of Mountjoy, rides a magnificent bay that any gentleman would covet. Lord St. Clare, however, is not impressed:
She was a little stung, despite herself. “If so, I will still contrive to give you the lead on this circus animal, as you call him. Had I known you meant to mount a draft animal, I would have reconsidered myself.”
He merely laughed and patted the neck of his ugly gray. “Dorcas? What she lacks in beauty she more than makes up in stamina, and a comfortable ride. I can travel on her back day after day, and frequently have. But if you end up with an aching back and wrenched arms, it’s nothing to do with me, after all, and I daresay it’s a small-enough price to pay for looking magnificent.”
— The Great Lady Tony (Signet Regency romance), by Dawn Lindsey
John Mytton had a favorite horse–Baronet. After a day of hunting, Mytton rode home and his pack of hounds was dismissed to the kennel. By this time, his mount, not a stupid animal, must have believed his labor was over, after a hard day in the field. Baronet was by now, as they said in those days, “in cool blood.”
However, his master and others accompanying him found their attention drawn to a nearby brook, measuring seven yards in width.
“Facing a brook” while hunting is the most difficult part of riding to hounds, according to Nimrod. I am quite in charity with this assessment. Horses do not like rushing water. Moreover, the banks are likely to be soft, making a fall at such an obstacle highly likely, affording no small amusement to those observing, to one’s eternal embarrassment.
Mytton’s “brute” was put to the obstacle. He cleared it–a leap measuring nine and a quarter yards in all–to the astonishment of all.
Was Baronet a magnificent steed, with flowing mane and tail? Hardly. He was “a mean-looking horse, with only one eye.”
The mount of a rake is chosen for function only, in complete disregard of convention. In short, the rake rides a nag:
“(Baronet) may be said to be stout as steel; and if there was rank among brutes, this Baronet would have been raised to the peerage.” — Nimrod’s Hunting Tours