NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1951
YORK STATE FARM LORE
Selected, edited, and written by Edith E. Cutting
In early New York, farmers had to depend on their own judgment
in buying stock, rather than on pedigree or production
records. Few farmers had any scientific training, and there was
little literature to guide them in the care of their animals. Often
they had to doctor the stock themselves. They developed, consequently,
a fund of sayings embodying both observation and
One of the best-known rhymes for judging a horse is:
One white foot, buy him;
Two white feet, try him;
Three white feet, deny him;
Four white feet and a snip on his nose—
Take off his hide and feed him to the crows.
Charlie Root of Elizabethtown, who “teamed it” to and from Westport for years, begins the verse the same way but ends it:
Three white feet, look about him;
John Hinds; Jr., of Madison County, a farmer and blacksmith,
says that often the white feet are much softer, wear down more
easily, and will not hold shoes as well as dark feet do. He adds
that 95 per cent of the time “pin ears” (set close together and
pointed toward each other) indicate a horse that will not be true.
A “dish-faced” horse is nearly always a troublemaker, likely to
have a poor disposition, and a “pig-eyed” one (eyes small and
set back) is one to leave alone. Finally, he says, a horse should
be wide between the eyes and have a head a little full above the
eyes to have “room for brains.”
Four white feet, do without him.
Voices is the membership magazine of the New York Folklore Society. To become a subscriber, join the New York Folklore Society today.
TO PURCHASE A BACK ISSUE of the New York Folklore Quarterly, visit our online book store.
TO PURCHASE THIS ARTICLE from the New York Folklore Quarterly, use the form here.
BACK TO THE NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY.
|New York Folklore Quarterly
PURCHASE A SINGLE ARTICLE
To order a single article, please enter volume number, issue number, and title of the article you wish and click on an order button below to purchase through Paypal or with your credit card. We will send you a PDF of the article via e-mail upon receipt of your order.
|ITEM #603 |
Single Article $3.00
|Member Price $2.00||