In Jane Austen's world riding for everday travel and farmwork was in full force up until the late 18th century when train travel was born and boats a bit earlier for transport and military use. From donkeys to mares or hunting dogs or companion pets there were an important part of her novels to get her characters to their destination or hunting as well as companions. Or at times a topic of exercise other than walking, some had leisure animals and some had domestic or working animals on farms. Jane and her family all had as far as I can tell horses and various animals. Jane travelled a great deal with family members and or to extended family members and enjoyed the countryside a great deal. As well as her love for gardening and of course writing her great novels all in the privacy of her desk and note taking. Some of her subjects were lucky enough to have companion animals such as Lady Bertram and others had riding horses as all the gentlemen did and some were given as gifts as in Sense and Sensibility.
Here are some quotes from Jane Austen's novels all covering a small fraction of various animals as well as some history and information on specific breeds.
"James means to keep three horses on this increase of income ; at present he has but one. Mary wishes the other two to be fit to carry women, and in the purchase of one Edward will probably be called upon to fulfil his promise to his godson. We have now pretty well ascertained James's income to be eleven hundred pound-. curate paid, which makes us very happy the ascertainment as well as the income."
"My father is glad to hear so good an account of Edward's pigs, and desires he may be told, as encouragement to his taste for them, that Lord bolton is particularly curious in his pigs, has had pigstyes of a most elegant construction built for them, and visits them every morning as soon as he rises."
The Novels and Jane's use of animals in her novels
"He intends to send his groom into Somersetshire immediately
for it," she added, "and when it arrives we will ride
everyday. You shall share its use with me. Imagine to yourself,
my dear Elinor, the delight of a gallop on some of these
Marianne Dashwood to sister Elinor
"I should hold
myself guilty of greater impropriety in accepting a horse
from my brother than from Willoughby. Of John I know
very little, though we have lived together for years; but of Willoughby my judgment has long been formed."
The cottage seemed to be considered
and loved by him as his home; many more of his hours were
spent there than at Allenham; and if no general engagement
collected them at the park, the exercise which called him out
in the morning was almost certain of ending there, where the
rest of the day was spent by himself at the side of Marianne,
and by his favourite pointer at her feet.
JA on John Willoughby
"I have three
unanswerable reasons for disliking Colonel Brandon: he has
threatened me with rain when I wanted it to be fine; he has
found fault with the hanging of my curricle, and I cannot
persuade him to buy my brown mare"
S&S John Willoughby
"His wife was not always out of
humour, nor his home always uncomfortable; and in his breed of horses and dogs, and in sporting of every kind, he found
no inconsiderable degree of domestic felicity"
In vain were the well-meant condescension's of
Sir Thomas, and all the officious prognostications of Mrs. Norris
that she would be a good girl; in vain did Lady Bertram smile
and make her sit on the sofa with herself and pug, and vain was
even the sight of a gooseberry tart towards giving her comfort;
she could scarcely swallow two mouthfuls before tears interrupted
her, and sleep seeming to be her likeliest friend, she was
taken to finish her sorrows in bed.
To the education of her daughters, Lady Bertram paid not
the smallest attention. She had not time for such cares. She was
a woman who spent her days in sitting nicely dressed on a sofa,
doing some long piece of needle work, of little use and no
beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children, but very
indulgent to the latter, when it did not put herself to inconvenience,
guided in every thing important by Sir Thomas, and
in smaller concerns by her sister.
"And I will tell you what, Fanny--which is more than
I did for Maria--the next time pug has a litter you shall have a
"I hope she will not tease my poor pug," said Lady Bertram,
"I have but just got Julia to leave it alone."
"The place, Fanny, is what you will not quit, though you quit
the house. You will have as free a command of the park and
gardens as ever. Even your constant little heart need not take
fright at such a nominal change. You will have the same walks
to frequent, the same library to choose from, the same people to
look at, the same horse to ride."
"Very true. Yes, dear old grey poney. Ah! cousin, when I
remember how much I used to dread riding, what terrors it gave
me to hear it talked of as likely to do me good;--(Oh! how I
have trembled at my uncle's opening his lips if horses were
talked of) and then think of the kind pains you took to reason
and persuade me out of my fears, and convince me that I should
like it after a little while, and feel how right you proved to be, I
am inclined to hope you may always prophecy as well."
When he returned to understand how Fanny was situated, and
perceive its ill effects, there seemed with him but one thing to
be done, and that "Fanny must have a horse," was the resolute
declaration with which he opposed whatever could be urged by
the supineness of his mother, or the economy of his aunt, to
make it appear unimportant.
He had three horses of his own, but not one that would carry a woman. Two of them were hunters, the third, a useful road
horse; this third he resolved to exchange for one that his cousin
might ride; he knew where such a one was to be met with, and
having once made up his mind, the whole business was soon
completed. The new mare proved a treasure; with a very little
trouble, she became exactly calculated for the purpose, and
Fanny was then put in almost full possession of her. She had not
supposed before, that any thing could ever suit her like the old
grey poney; but her delight in Edmund's mare was far beyond
any former pleasure of the sort
"You would find it difficult, I dare say, just now, in the middle
of a very late hay harvest, to hire a horse and cart?"
"I was astonished to find what a piece of work was made of
it! To want a horse and cart in the country seemed impossible,
so I told my maid to speak for one directly; and as I cannot look
out of my dressing-closet without seeing one farm yard, nor
walk in the shrubbery without passing another, I thought it
would be only ask and have, and was rather grieved that I could
not give the advantage to all.
"You could not be expected to have thought on the subject
before, but when you do think of it, you must see the importance
of getting in the grass. The hire of a cart at any time, might not
be so easy as you suppose; our farmers are not in the habit of
letting them out; but in harvest, it must be quite out of their
power to spare a horse."
"No part of it fatigues me but getting off this horse, I assure
you," said she, as she sprang down with his help; "I am very
strong. Nothing ever fatigues me, but doing what I do not like.
Miss Price I give way to you with a very bad grace, but I sincerely
hope you will have a pleasant ride, and that I may have nothing
but good to hear of this dear, delightful, beautiful animal."
"It is a pleasure to see a lady with such a good heart for
riding!" said he. "I never see one sit a horse better. She did not
seem to have a thought of fear. Very different from you, Miss,
when you first began, six years ago come next Easter. Lord bless
me! how you did tremble when Sir Thomas first had you put
"I cannot but think that good
horsemanship has a great deal to do with the mind."
When they parted at night, Edmund asked Fanny whether
she meant to ride the next day.
"No, I do not know, not if you want the mare," was her
"I shall not ride to-morrow, certainly," said Fanny; "I have
been out very often lately, and would rather stay at home. You
know I am strong enough now to walk very well."
"If Fanny would be more regular in her exercise, she would
not be knocked up so soon. She has not been out on horseback
now this long while, and I am persuaded, that when she does
not ride, she ought to walk. If she had been riding before, I
should not have asked it of her. But I thought it would rather
do her good after being stooping among the roses; for there is
nothing so refreshing as a walk after a fatigue of that kind; and
though the sun was strong, it was not so very hot.
"Sitting and calling to Pug, and trying to keep him from the flower-beds, was aim
too much for me."
VOLUME II CHAPTER II
"My dear Sir Thomas, if you had seen the state of the roads that day! I thought we should never have got through them
though we had the four horses of course; and poor old coachman
would attend us out of his great love and kindness, though he
was hardly able to sit the box on account of the rheumatism
which I had been doctoring him for, ever since Michaelmas. I
cured him at last; but he was very bad all the winter--and this
was such a day, I could not help going to him up in his room
before we set off to advise him not to venture: he was putting
on his wig--so I said, 'Coachman, you had much better not go,
your Lady and I shall be very safe; you know how steady Stephen
is, and Charles has been upon the leaders so often now, that I
am sure there is no fear.' But, however, I soon found it would
not do; he was bent upon going, and as I hate to be worrying
and officious, I said no more; but my heart quite ached for him
at every jolt, and when we got into the rough lanes about Stoke,
where what with frost and snow upon beds of stones, it was
worse than any thing you can imagine, I was quite in an agony
about him. And then the poor horses too!--To see them straining
away! You know how I always feel for the horses.
William expressed an inclination to hunt; and Crawford
could mount him without the slightest inconvenience to himself,
and with only some scruples to obviate in Sir Thomas, who
knew better than his nephew the value of such a loan, and some
alarms to reason away in Fanny. She feared for William; by
no means convinced by all that he could relate of his own
horsemanship in various countries, of the scrambling parties in
which he had been engaged, the rough horses and mules he had
ridden, or his many narrow escapes from dreadful falls, that he
was at all equal to the management of a high-fed hunter in an
English fox-chase; nor till he returned safe and well, without
accident or discredit, could she be reconciled to the risk, or feel
any of that obligation to Mr. Crawford for lending the horse
which he had fully intended it should produce. When it was
proved however to have done William no harm, she could allow
it to be a kindness, and even reward the owner with a smile
when the animal was one minute tendered to his use again; and
the next, with the greatest cordiality, and in a manner not to be
resisted, made over to his use entirely so long as he remained in
My dear, how am I to get so far? Randalls is such a distance. I
could not walk half so far.
No, papa, nobody thought of your walking. We must go in the
carriage, to be sure.
The carriage! But James will not like to put the horses to for such
a little way;--and where are the poor horses to be while we are paying
Indeed! replied he. Then, my dear Isabella, it is the most extraordinary
sort of thing in the world, for in general every thing does
give you cold. Walk home!--you are prettily shod for walking home, I
dare say. It will be bad enough for the horses.
Their subjects in general were such as belong to an opening acquaintance.
On his side were the inquiries--Was she a horsewoman?--
Pleasant rides?--Pleasant walks?--Had they a large neighbourhood?--
Highbury, perhaps, afforded society enough?--There were several very
pretty houses in and about it.--Balls--had they balls?--Was it a musical
Mr. Knightleys carriage had brought, and was to take them home again.
I was quite surprized;--very glad, I am sure; but really quite surprised.
Such a very kind attention--and so thoughtful an attention!--the sort
of thing that so few men would think of. And, in short, from knowing
his usual ways, I am very much inclined to think that it was for their
accommodation the carriage was used at all. I do suspect he would not
have had a pair of horses for himself, and that it was only as an excuse
for assisting them.
"Yes, upon my word, very considerable. Sixty-five miles farther than
from Maple Grove to London. But what is distance, Mr. Weston, to people
of large fortune?--You would be amazed to hear how my brother,
Mr. Suckling, sometimes flies about. You will hardly believe me--but
twice in one week he and Mr. Bragge went to London and back again
with four horses"
While she talked of his son, Mr. Westons attention was chained; but
when she got to Maple Grove, he could recollect that there were ladies
just arriving to be attended to, and with happy smiles must hurry away.
Mrs. Elton turned to Mrs. Weston. I have no doubt of its being our
carriage with Miss Bates and Jane. Our coachman and horses are so
extremely expeditious!--I believe we drive faster than any body.--What
a pleasure it is to send ones carriage for a friend!--I understand you
were so kind as to offer, but another time it will be quite unnecessary.
You may be very sure I shall always take care of them.
Ah! dear Mrs. Elton, so obliged
to you for the carriage!--excellent time. Jane and I quite ready. Did
not keep the horses a moment. Most comfortable carriage.--Oh! and
I am sure our thanks are due to you, Mrs. Weston, on that score. Mrs.
Elton had most kindly sent Jane a note, or we should have been.--But
two such offers in one day!--Never were such neighbours. I said to
my mother, Upon my word, maam--. Thank you, my mother is remarkably
well. Gone to Mr. Woodhouses. I made her take her shawl
Is not this most vexations, Knightley? she cried.--And such
weather for exploring!--These delays and disappointments are quite
odious. What are we to do?--The year will wear away at this rate,
and nothing done. Before this time last year I assure you we had had a
delightful exploring party from Maple Grove to Kings Weston.
You had better explore to Donwell, replied Mr. Knightley. That
may be done without horses. Come, and eat my strawberries. They are
I wish we had a donkey. The thing would be for us all to come on
donkeys, Jane, Miss Bates, and me--and my caro sposo walking by. I
really must talk to him about purchasing a donkey. In a country life I
conceive it to be a sort of necessary; for, let a woman have ever so many
resources, it is not possible for her to be always shut up at home;--and
very long walks, you know--in summer there is dust, and in winter
there is dirt
He told her of horses
which he had bought for a trifle and sold for incredible
sums; of racing matches, in which his judgment had
infallibly foretold the winner; of shooting parties, in
which he had killed more birds (though without having
one good shot) than all his companions together; and
described to her some famous day's sport, with the foxhounds,
in which his foresight and skill in directing the
dogs had repaired the mistakes of the most experienced
huntsman, and in which the boldness of his riding,
though it had never endangered his own life for a
moment, had been constantly leading others into
difficulties, which he calmly concluded had broken the
necks of many.
"By heavens, if they do not, I will kick them out of
the room for blockheads. What chap have you there?"
Catherine satisfied his curiosity. "Tilney," he repeated.
"Hum--I do not know him. A good figure of a man;
well put together. Does he want a horse? Here is a
friend of mine, Sam Fletcher, has got one to sell that
would suit anybody. A famous clever animal for the
road--only forty guineas. I had fifty minds to buy it
myself, for it is one of my maxims always to buy a good
horse when I meet with one; but it would not answer
my purpose, it would not do for the field. I would give
any money for a real good hunter. I have three now, the
best that ever were backed. I would not take eight
hundred guineas for them.
"How could you deceive me so, Mr. Thorpe? How
could you say that you saw them driving up the
Lansdown Road? I would not have had it happen so for
the world. They must think it so strange, so rude of me!
To go by them, too, without saying a word! You do not
know how vexed I am; I shall have no pleasure at
Clifton, nor in anything else. I had rather, ten thousand
times rather, get out now, and walk back to them. How
could you say you saw them driving out in a phaeton?"
Thorpe defended himself very stoutly, declared he had
never seen two men so much alike in his life, and would
hardly give up the point of its having been Tilney
"If your brother had not got such a d--beast to
drive," said he soon afterwards, "we might have done it
very well. My horse would have trotted to Clifton
within the hour, if left to himself, and I have almost
broke my arm with pulling him in to that cursed
broken-winded jade's pace. Morland is a fool for not
keeping a horse and gig of his own."
"No, he is not," said Catherine warmly, "for I am
sure he could not afford it."
"And why cannot he afford it?"
"Because he has not money enough."
John Thorpe kept of course with Catherine, and,
after a few minutes' silence, renewed the conversation
about his gig. "You will find, however, Miss Morland,
it would be reckoned a cheap thing by some people, for
I might have sold it for ten guineas more the next day;
Jackson, of Oriel, bid me sixty at once; Morland was
with me at the time."
"Yes," said Morland, who overheard this; "but you
forget that your horse was included."
"My horse! Oh, d--it! I would not sell my horse for a
hundred. Are you fond of an open carriage, Miss
In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore a blue coat, and rode a black horse
"Can I have the carriage?" said Jane.
"No, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain; and then you must stay all night."
"That would be a good scheme," said Elizabeth, "if you were sure that they would not offer to send her home."
"Oh! but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bingley's chaise to go to Meryton, and the Hursts have no horses to theirs."
"I had much rather go in the coach."
"But, my dear, your father cannot spare the horses, I am sure. They are wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, are they not?"