October 31, 2010

Monday, 31 October 1910


Robert Scott (second from left), his wife Kathleen Scott, and Lawrence Oates (4th from left), with Mongolian ponies, on Quail Island, circa 1910, prior to the British Antarctic ('Terra Nova') Expedition of 1910-1913. Other persons unidentified. Photograph taken by Steffano Francis Webb. [1]

"Captain Robert F. Scott (in uniform), Captain Lawrence E. G. Oates (standing behind Scott) and party inspecting sled dogs at the training centre on Quail Island, Lyttelton, before leaving New Zealand for the British Antarctic ('Terra Nova') Expedition. Photograph taken by Steffano Francis Webb, circa 1910. " [2]

"Robert Falcon Scott and his wife Kathleen, on Quail Island, circa 1910. The 2 men on the left are unidentified. Photographer unknown." [3]

"To Quail Island to see dogs and ponies," wrote Scott, "greatly pleased ... think dogs finest ever got together -- Meares has done his work splendidly." [4]

Oates, however, was appalled. "Victor: Narrow chest, knock knees, suffers with his eyes," he noted in his diary, "Aged. Wind-sucker.... Snippets: Bad wind sucker. Doubtful back tendons off fore legs. Slightly lame off fore. Pigeon toes. Aged. James Pigg: Sand crack near hind. Aged. Chinaman: Has ringworm just above coronet on near fore. I think the oldest pony we have which is saying a good deal. Both nostrils slit up. Christopher: Aged. Ringbone off fore. Slightly lame off fore. Jehu: Aged, suffering from debility and worn out. Nobby: Aged. Goes with stiff hocks. Spavin near hind. Best pony we have. Michael: Lame near hind. Ringbone. Aged.... In mentioning the ponies' blemishes I have only mentioned those which appear to actively interfere with their work or for identification." [5]


The dogs had their muzzles removed, and were allowed run of the ship.


[1] Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand.
[2] Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand.
[3] Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand. Caption supplied by the Turnbull Library; the man on the far left is probably Oates.
[4] R.F. Scott, [source not given], 31 October, 1910, quoted by David Crane in Scott of the Antarctic (New York : Knopf, c2005), p.388.
[5] L.E.G. Oates, diary, [date not given], quoted by Sue Limb and Patrick Cordingley in Captain Oates : Soldier and Explorer (London : Batsford, c1982), p.100. Windsucking, also known as cribbing or crib-biting, is a habit that some horses have of chewing the sides of their crib (manger) or stall or other handy surfaces, and thus sucking in air. Horses who do this are often underweight or malnourished and colicky as a result.

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