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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild
and Vicious Horses, by P. R. Kincaid
John J. Stutzman

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at
Title: The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild and Vicious Horses

Release Date: January 24, 2005 [EBook #14776]


Produced by Kentuckiana Digital Library, David Garcia, Michael
Ciesielski and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

Part B of

The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild Horses

by P.R. Kincaid and John J. Stutzman


But, before we go further, I will give you Willis J. Powel's system of
approaching a wild colt, as given by him in a work published in Europe,
about the year 1811, on the "Art of taming wild horses." He says, "A horse
is gentled by my secret, in from two to sixteen hours." The time I have
most commonly employed has been from four to six hours. He goes on to say:
"Cause your horse to be put in a small yard, stable, or room. If in a
stable or room, it ought to be large in order to give him some exercise
with the halter before you lead him out. If the horse belong to that class
which appears only to fear man, you must introduce yourself gently into
the stable, room, or yard, where the horse is. He will naturally run from
you, and frequently turn his head from you; but you must walk about
extremely slow and softly, so that he can see you whenever he turns his
head towards you, which he never fails to do in a short time, say in a
quarter of an hour. I never knew one to be much longer without turning
towards me.

"At the very moment he turns his head, hold out your left hand towards
him, and stand perfectly still, keeping your eyes upon the horse, watching
his motions if he makes any. If the horse does not stir for ten or fifteen
minutes, advance as slowly as possible, and without making the least
noise, always holding out your left hand, without any other ingredient in
it than that what nature put in it." He says, "I have made use of certain,
ingredients before people, such as the sweat under my arm, etc., to
disguise the real secret, and many believed that the docility to which
the horse arrived in so short a time, was owing to these ingredients; but
you see from this explanation that they were of no use whatever. The
implicit faith placed in these ingredients, though innocent of themselves,
becomes 'faith without works.' And thus men remained always in doubt
concerning this secret. If the horse makes the least motion when you
advance toward him, stop, and remain perfectly still until he is quiet.
Remain a few moments in this condition, and then advance again in the same
slow and imperceptible manner. Take notice: if the horse stirs, stop
without changing your position. It is very uncommon for the horse to stir
more than once after you begin to advance, yet there are exceptions. He
generally keeps his eyes steadfast on you, until you get near enough to
touch him on the forehead. When you are thus near to him, raise slowly,
and by degrees, your hand, and let it come in contact with that part just
above the nostrils as lightly as possible. If the horse flinches, (as many
will,) repeat with great rapidity these light strokes upon the forehead,
going a little further up towards his ears by degrees, and descending with
the same rapidity until he will let you handle his forehead all over. Now
let the strokes be repeated with more force over all his forehead,
descending by lighter strokes to each side of his head, until you can
handle that part with equal facility. Then touch in the same light manner,
making your hands and fingers play around the lower part of the horse's
ears, coming down now and then to his forehead, which may be looked upon
as the helm that governs all the rest.

"Having succeeded in handling his ears, advance towards the neck, with the
same precautions, and in the same manner; observing always to augment the
force of the strokes whenever the horse will permit it. Perform the same
on both sides of the neck, until he lets you take it in your arms without

"Proceed in the same progressive manner to the sides, and then to the back
of the horse. Every time the horse shows any nervousness return
immediately to the forehead as the true standard, patting him with your
hands, and from thence rapidly to where you had already arrived, always
gaining ground a considerable distance farther on every time this happens.
The head, ears, neck and body being thus gentled, proceed from the back to
the root of the tail.

"This must be managed with dexterity, as a horse is never to be depended
on that is skittish about the tail. Let your hand fall lightly and rapidly
on that part next to the body a minute or two, and then you will begin to
give it a slight pull upwards every quarter of a minute. At the same time
you continue this handling of him, augment the force of the strokes, as
well as the raising of the tail, until you can raise it and handle it with
the greatest ease, which commonly happens in a quarter of an hour in most
horses; in others almost immediately, and in some much longer. It now
remains to handle all his legs. From the tail come back again to the head,
handle it well, as likewise the ears, breast, neck, etc., speaking now and
then to the horse. Begin by degrees to descend to the legs, always
ascending and descending, gaining ground every time you descend until you
get to his feet.

"Talk to the horse in Latin, Greek, French, English, or Spanish, or in any
other language you please; but let him hear the sound of your voice, which
at the beginning of the operation is not quite so necessary, but which I
have always done in making him lift up his feet. Hold up your foot--'Live
la pied'--'Alza el pie'--'Aron ton poda,' etc., at the same time lift his
foot with your hand. He soon becomes familiar with the sounds, and will
hold his foot up at command. Then proceed to the hind feet and go on in
the same manner, and in a short time the horse will let you lift them and
even take them up in your arms.

"All this operation is no magnetism, no galvanism; it is merely taking
away the fear a horse generally has of a man, and familiarizing the animal
with his master; as the horse doubtless experiences a certain pleasure
from this handling, he will soon become gentle under it, and show a very
marked attachment to his keeper."


These instructions are very good, but not quite sufficient for horses of
all kinds, and for haltering and leading the colt; but I have inserted it
here, because it gives some of the true philosophy of approaching the
horse, and of establishing confidence between man and horse. He speaks
only of the kind that fear man.

To those who understand the philosophy of horsemanship, these are the
easiest trained; for when we have a horse that is wild and lively, we can
train him to our will in a very short time; for they are generally quick
to learn, and always ready to obey. But there is another kind that are of
a stubborn or vicious disposition, and, although they are not wild, and do
not require taming, in the sense it is generally understood, they are just
as ignorant as a wild horse, if not more so, and need to be learned just
as much; and in order to have them obey quickly, it is very necessary that
they should be made to fear their masters; for, in order to obtain perfect
obedience from any horse, we must first have him fear us, for our motto is
_fear, love, and obey_; and we must have the fulfilment of the first two
before we can expect the latter, and it is by our philosophy of creating
fear, love and confidence, that we govern to our will every kind of a
horse whatever.

Then, in order to take horses as we find them, or all kinds, and to train
them to our likings, we will always take with us, when we go into a stable
to train a colt, a long switch whip, (whale-bone buggy whips is the best,)
with a good silk cracker, so as to cut keen and make a sharp report,
which, if handled with dexterity, and rightly applied, accompanied with a
sharp, fierce word, will be sufficient to enliven the spirits of any
horse. With this whip in your right hand, with the lash pointing backward,
enter the stable alone. It is a great disadvantage in training a horse, to
have any one in the stable with you; you should be entirely alone, so as
not to have nothing but yourself to attract his attention. If he is wild
you will soon see him in the opposite side of the stable from you; and now
is the time to use a little judgement. I would not want for myself, more
than half or three-quarters of an hour to handle any kind of a colt, and
have him running about in the stable after me; though I would advise a new
beginner to take more time, and not to be in too much of a hurry. If you
have but one colt to gentle, and are not particular about the length of
time you spend, and have not had any experience in handling colts, I would
advise you to take Mr. Powel's method at first, till you gentle him, which
he says takes from two to six hours. But, as I want to accomplish the
same, and what is much more, learn the horse to lead in less than one
hour, I shall give you a much quicker process of accomplishing the same
end. Accordingly, when you have entered the stable, stand still and let
your horse look at you a minute or two, and as soon as he is settled in
one place, approach him slowly, with both arms stationary, your right
hanging by your side, holding the whip as directed, and the left bent at
the elbow, with your hand projecting. As you approach him, go not too much
towards his head or croop, so as not to make him move either forward or
backward, thus keeping your horse stationary, if he does move a little
forward or backward, step a little to the right or left very cautiously;
this will keep him in one place, as you get very near him, draw a little
to his shoulder, and stop a few seconds. If you are in his reach he will
turn his head and smell at your hand, not that he has any preference for
your hand, but because that it is projecting, and is the nearest portion
of your body to the horse. This all colts will do, and they will smell of
your naked hand just as quick as they will of any thing that you can put
in it, and with just as good an effect, however much some men have
preached the doctrine of taming horses by giving them the scent articles
from the hand. I have already proved that to be a mistake. As soon as he
touches his nose to your hand, caress him as before directed, always using
a very light, soft hand, merely touching the horse, all ways rubbing the
way the hair lays, so that your hand will pass along as smoothly as
possible. As you stand by his side you may find it more convenient to rub
his neck or the side of his head, which will answer the same purpose, as
rubbing his forehead. Favor every inclination of the horse to smell or
touch you with his nose. Always follow each touch or communication of this
kind with the most tender and affectionate caresses, accompanied with a
kind look, and pleasant word of some sort, such as: Ho! my little boy, ho!
my little boy, pretty boy, nice lady! or something of that kind,
constantly repeating the same words, with the same kind, steady tone of
voice; for the horse soon learns to read the expression of the face and
voice, and will know as well when fear, love or anger, prevails as you
know your own feelings; two of which, _fear and anger_, a good horseman
_should never feel_.


If your horse, instead of being wild, seems to be of a stubborn or
_mulish_ disposition; if he lays back his ears as you approach him, or
turns his heels to kick you, he has not that regard or fear of man that he
should have, to enable you to handle him quickly and easily; and it might
be well to give him a few sharp cuts with the whip, about the legs, pretty
close to the body. It will crack keen as it plies around his legs, and the
crack of the whip will affect him as much as the stroke; besides one sharp
cut about his legs will affect him more than two or three over his back,
the skin on the inner part of his legs or about his flank being thinner,
more tender than on his back. But do not whip him much, just enough to
scare him, it is not because we want to hurt the horse that we whip him,
we only do it to scare that bad disposition out of him. But whatever you
do, do quickly, sharply and with a good deal of fire, but always without
anger. If you are going to scare him at all you must do it at once. Never
go into a pitch battle with your horse, and whip him until he is mad and
will fight you; you had better not touch him at all, for you will
establish, instead of fear and regard, feelings of resentment, hatred and
ill-will. It will do him no good but an injury, to strike a blow, unless
you can scare him; but if you succeed in scaring him, you can whip him
without making him mad; for fear and anger never exist together in the
horse, and as soon as one is visible, you will find that the other has
disappeared. As soon as you have frightened him so that he will stand up
straight and pay some attention to you, approach him again and caress him
a good deal more than you whipped him, then you will excite the two
controlling passions of his nature, love and fear, and then he will fear
and love you too, and as soon as he learns what to do will quickly obey.


As soon as you have gentled the colt a little, take the halter in your
left hand and approach him as before, and on the same side that you have
gentled him. If he is very timid about your approaching closely to him,
you can get up to him quicker by making the whip a part of your arm, and
reaching out very gently with the but end of it, rubbing him lightly on
the neck, all the time getting a little closer, shortening the whip by
taking it up in your hand, until you finally get close enough to put your
hands on him. If he is inclined to hold his head from you, put the end of
the halter strap around his neck, drop your whip, and draw very gently; he
will let his neck give, and you can pull his head to you. Then take hold
of that part of the halter, which buckles over the top of his head, and
pass the long side, or that part which goes into the buckle, under his
neck, grasping it on the opposite side with your right hand, letting the
first strap loose--the latter will be sufficient to hold his head to you.
Lower the halter a little, just enough to get his nose into that part
which goes around it, then raise it somewhat, and fasten the top buckle,
and you will have it all right. The first time you halter a colt you
should stand on the left side, pretty well back to his shoulder only
taking hold of that part of the halter that goes around his neck, then
with your hands about his neck you can hold his head to you, and raise the
halter on it without making him dodge by putting your hands about his
nose. You should have a long rope or strap ready, and as soon as you have
the halter on, attach this to it, so that you can let him walk the length
of the stable without letting go of the strap, or without making him pull
on the halter, for if you only let him feel the weight of your hand on the
halter, and give him rope when he runs from you, he will never rear, pull,
or throw himself, yet you will be holding him all the time, and doing more
towards gentling him, than if you had the power to snub him right up, and
hold him to one spot; because, he does not know any thing about his
strength, and if you don't do any thing to make him pull, he will never
know that he can. In a few minutes you can begin to control him with the
halter, then shorten the distance between yourself and the horse, by
taking up the strap in your hand.

As soon as he will allow you to hold him by a tolerably short strap, and
step up to him without flying back, you can begin to give him some idea
about leading. But to do this, do not go before and attempt to pull him
after you, but commence by pulling him very quietly to one side. He has
nothing to brace either side of his neck, and will soon yield to a steady,
gradual pull of the halter; and as soon as you have pulled him a step or
two to one side, step up to him and caress him, and then pull him again,
repeating this operation until you can pull him around in every direction,
and walk about the stable with him, which you can do in a few minutes, for
he will soon think when you have made him step to the right or left a few
times, that he is compelled to follow the pull of the halter, not knowing
that he has the power to resist your pulling; besides, you have handled
him so gently, that he is not afraid of you, and you always caress him
when he comes up to you, and he likes that, and would just as leave follow
you as not. And after he has had a few lessons of that kind, if you turn
him out in a lot he will come up to you every opportunity he gets. You
should lead him about in the stable some time before you take him out,
opening the door, so that he can see out, leading him up to it and back
again, and past it. See that there is nothing on the outside to make him
jump, when you take him out, and as you go out with him, try to make him
go very slowly, catching hold of the halter close to the jaw, with your
left hand, while the right is resting on the top of the neck, holding to
his mane. After you are out with him a little while, you can lead him
about as you please. Don't let any second person come up to you when you
first take him out; a stranger taking hold of the halter would frighten
him, and make him run. There should not even be any one standing near him
to attract his attention, or scare him. If you are alone, and manage him
right, it will not require any more force to lead or hold him than it
would to manage a broke horse.


If you should want to lead your colt by the side of another horse, as is
often the case, I would advise you to take your horse into the stable,
attach a second strap to the colt's halter, and lead your horse up
alongside of him. Then get on the broke horse and take one strap around
his breast, under his martingale, (if he has any on,) holding it in your
left hand. This will prevent the colt from getting back too far; besides,
you will have more power to hold him, with the strap pulling against the
horse's breast. The other strap take up in your right hand to prevent him
from running ahead; then turn him about a few times in the stable, and if
the door is wide enough, ride out with him in that position; if not, take
the broke horse out first, and stand his breast up against the door, then
lead the colt to the same spot, and take the straps as before directed,
one on each side of his neck, then let some one start the colt out, and as
he comes out, turn your horse to the left, and you will have them all
right. This is the best way to lead a colt; you can manage any kind of a
colt in this way, without any trouble; for, if he tries to run ahead, or
pull back, the two straps will bring the horses facing each other, so that
you can easily follow up his movements without doing much holding, and as
soon as he stops running backward you are right with him, and all ready to
go ahead. And if he gets stubborn and does not want to go, you can remove
all his stubbornness by riding your horse against his neck, thus
compelling him to turn to the right, and as soon as you have turned him
about a few times, he will be willing to go along. The next thing, after
you are through leading him, will be to take him into a stable, and hitch
him in such a way as not to have him pull on the halter, and as they are
often troublesome to get into a stable the first few times, I will give
you some instructions about getting him in.


You should lead the broke horse into the stable first, and get the colt,
if you can, to follow in after him. If he refuses to go, step up to him,
taking a little stick or switch in your right hand; then take hold of the
halter close to his head with your left hand, at the same time reaching
over his back with your right arm so that you can tap him on the opposite
side with your switch; bring him up facing the door, tap him lightly with
your switch, reaching as far back with it as you can. This tapping, by
being pretty well back, and on the opposite side, will drive him ahead,
and keep him close to you, then by giving him the right direction with
your left hand you can walk into the stable with him. I have walked colts
into the stable this way, in less than a minute, after men had worked at
them half an hour, trying to pull them in. If you cannot walk him it at
once this way, turn him about and walk him round in every direction, until
you can get him up to the door without pulling at him. Then let him stand
a few minutes, keeping his head in the right direction with the halter,
and he will walk in, in less than ten minutes. Never attempt to pull the
colt into the stable; that would make him think at once that it was a
dangerous place, and if he was not afraid of it before, he would be then.
Besides we don't want him to know anything about pulling on the halter.
Colts are often hurt, and sometimes killed, by trying to force them into
the stable; and those who attempt to do it in that way, go into an up-hill
business, when a plain smooth road is before them.

If you want to hitch your colt, put him in a tolerably wide stall which
should not be too long, and should be connected by a bar or something of
that kind to the partition behind it; so that, after the colt is in he
cannot get far enough back to take a straight, backward pull on the
halter; then by hitching him in the center of the stall, it would be
impossible for him to pull on the halter, the partition behind preventing
him from going back, and the halter in the center checking him every time
he turns to the left or right. In a state of this kind you can break every
horse to stand hitched by a light strap, any where, without his ever
knowing any thing about pulling. But if you have broke your horse to lead,
and have learned him the use of the halter (which you should always do
before you hitch him to any thing), you can hitch him in any kind of a
stall, and give him something to eat to keep him up to his place for a few
minutes at first and there is not one colt in fifty that will pull on his


You should use a large, smooth, snaffle bit, so as not to hurt his mouth,
with a bar to each side, to prevent the bit from pulling through either
way. This you should attach to the head-stall of your bridle and put it on
your colt without any reins to it, and let him run loose in a large stable
or shed, some time, until he becomes a little used to the bit, and will
bear it without trying to get it out of his mouth. It would be well, if
convenient, to repeat this several times before you do anything more with
the colt; as soon as he will bear the bit, attach a single rein to it,
without any martingale. You should also have a halter on your colt, or a
bridle made after the fashion of a halter, with a strap to it, so that you
can hold or lead him about without pulling on the bit much. He is now
ready for the saddle.


Any one man, who has this theory, can put a saddle on the wildest colt
that ever grew, without any help, and without scaring him. The first thing
will be to tie each stirrup strap into a loose knot to make them short,
and prevent the stirrups from flying about and hitting him. Then double up
the skirts and take the saddle under your right arm, so as not to frighten
him with it as you approach. When you get to him, rub him gently a few
times with your hand, and then raise the saddle very slowly until he can
see it, and smell, and feel it with his nose. Then let the skirts loose,
and rub it very gently against his neck the way the hair lays, letting him
hear the rattle of the skirts as he feels them against him; each time
getting a little farther backward, and finally slip it over his shoulders
on his back. Shake it a little with your hand, and in less than five
minutes you can rattle it about over his back as much as you please, and
pull it off and throw it on again, without his paying much attention to

As soon as you have accustomed him to the saddle, fasten the girth. Be
careful how you do this. It often frightens a Colt when he feels the girth
binding him, and making the saddle fit tight on his back. You should bring
up the girth very gently, and not draw it too tight at first, just enough
to hold the saddle on. Move him a little, and then girth it as tight as
you choose, and he will not mind it.

You should see that the pad of your saddle is all right before you put it
on, and that there is nothing to make it hurt him, or feel unpleasant to
his back. It should not have any loose straps on the back part of it to
flap about and scare him. After you have saddled him in this way, take a
switch in your right hand to tap him up with, and walk about in the stable
a few times with your right arm over the saddle, taking hold of the reins
on each side of his neck, with your right and left hands. Thus marching
him about in the stable until you learn him the use of the bridle, and can
turn him about in any direction, and stop him by a gentle pull of the
rein. Always caress him, and loose the reins a little every time you stop

You should always be alone, and have your colt in some tight stable or
shed, the first time you ride him; the loft should be high so that you can
sit on his back without endangering your head. You can learn him more in
two hours time in a stable of this kind, than you could in two weeks in
the common way of breaking colts, out in an open place. It you follow my
course of treatment, you need not run any risk, or have any trouble in
riding the worst kind of a horse. You take him a step at a time, until you
get up a mutual confidence and trust between yourself and horse. First
learn him to lead and stand hitched, next acquaint him with the saddle,
and the use of the bit; and then all that remains, is to get on him
without scaring him, and you can ride him as well as any horse.


First gentle him well on both sides, about the saddle, and all over,
until he will stand still without holding, and is not afraid to see you
any where about him.

As soon as you have him thus gentled, get a small block, about one foot or
eighteen inches in height, and set it down by the side of him, about where
you want to stand to mount him; step up on this, raising yourself very
gently; horses notice every change of position very closely, and if you
were to step up suddenly on the block, it would be very apt to scare him;
but by raising yourself gradually on it, he will see you, without being
frightened, in a position very near the same as when you are on his back.

As soon as he will bear this without alarm, untie the stirrup strap next
to you, and put your left foot into the stirrup, and stand square over it,
holding your knee against the horse, and your toe out, so as to touch him
under the shoulder with the toe of your boot. Place your right hand on the
front of the saddle and on the opposite side of you. Taking hold of a
portion of the mane and the reins as they hang loosely over his neck with
your left hand; then gradually bear your weight on the stirrup, and on
your right hand, until the horse feels your whole weight on the saddle;
repeat this several times, each time raising yourself a little higher from
the block, until he will allow you to raise your leg over his croop, and
place yourself in the saddle.

There are three great advantages in having a block to mount from. First, a
sudden change of position is very apt to frighten a young horse that has
never been handled; he will allow you to walk up to him, and stand by his
side without scaring at you, because you have gentled him to that
position, but if you get down on your hands and knees and crawl towards
him, he will be very much frightened, and upon the same principle, he
would frighten at your new position if you had the power to hold yourself
over his back without touching him. Then the first great advantage of the
block is to gradually gentle him to that new position in which he will see
you when you ride him.

Secondly, by the process of leaning your weight in the stirrups, and on
your hand, you can gradually accustom him to your weight, so as not to
frighten him by having him feel it all at once. And in the third place the
block elevates you so that you will not have to make a spring in order to
get on to the horse's back, but from it you can gradually raise yourself
into the saddle. When you take these precautions, there is no horse so
wild, but what you can mount him without making him jump. I have tried it
on the worst horses that could be found, and have never failed in any
case. When mounting, your horse should always stand without being held. A
horse is never well broke when he has to be held with a tight rein while
mounting; and a colt is never so safe to mount, as when you see that
assurance of confidence, and absence of fear, which causes him to stand
without holding.


When you want him to start do not touch him on the side with your heel or
do anything to frighten him and make him jump. But speak to him kindly,
and if he does not start pull him a little to the left until he starts,
and then let him walk off slowly with the reins loose. Walk him around in
the stable a few times until he gets used to the bit, and you can turn him
about in every direction and stop him as you please. It would be well to
get on and off a good many times until he gets perfectly used to it before
you take him out of the stable.

After you have trained him in this way, which should not take you more
than one or two hours, you can ride him any where you choose without ever
having him jump or make any effort to throw you.

When you first take him out of the stable be very gentle with him, as he
will feel a little more at liberty to jump or run, and be a little easier
frightened than he was while in the stable. But after handling him so much
in the stable he will be pretty well broke, and you will be able to manage
him without trouble or danger.

When you first mount him take a little the shortest hold on the left rein,
so that if any thing frightens him you can prevent him jumping by pulling
his head around to you. This operation of pulling a horse's head around
against his side will prevent any horse from jumping ahead, rearing up, or
running away. If he is stubborn and will not go you can make him move by
pulling his head around to one side, when whipping would have no effect.
And turning him around a few times will make him dizzy, and then by
letting him have his head straight, and giving him a little touch with the
whip, he will go along without any trouble.

Never use martingales on a colt when you first ride him; every movement of
the hand should go right to the bit in the direction in which it is
applied to the reins, without a martingale to change the direct of the
force applied. You can guide the colt much better without them, and learn
him the use of the bit in much less time. Besides, martingales would
prevent you from pulling his head around if he should try to jump.

After your colt has been rode until he is gentle and well accustomed to
the bit, you may find it an advantage if he carries his head too high, or
his nose too far out, to put martingales on him.

You should be careful not to ride your colt so far at first as to heat,
worry or tire him. Get off as soon as you see he is a little fatigued;
gentle him and let him rest, this will make him kind to you and prevent
him from getting stubborn or mad.


Farmers often put bitting harness on a colt the first thing they do to
him, buckling up the bitting as tight as they can draw it to make him
carry his head high, and then turn him out in a lot to run a half day at a
time. This is one of the worst punishments that they could inflict on the
colt, and very injurious to a young horse that has been used to running in
pasture with his head down. I have seen colts so injured in this way that
they never got over it.

A horse should be well accustomed to the bit before you put on the bitting
harness, and when you first bit him you should only rein his head up to
that point where he naturally holds it, let that be high or low; he will
soon learn that he cannot lower his head, and that raising it a little
will loosen the bit in his mouth. This will give him the idea of raising
his head to loosen the bit, and then you can draw the bitting a little
tighter every time you put it on, and he will still raise his head to
loosen it; by this means you will gradually get his head and neck in the
position you want him to carry it, and give him a nice and graceful
carriage without hurting him, making him mad, or causing his mouth to get

If you put the bitting on very tight the first time, he cannot raise his
head enough to loosen it, but will bear on it all the time, and paw, sweat
and throw himself. Many horses have been killed by falling backward with
the bitting on, their heads being drawn up, strike the ground with the
whole weight of the body. Horses that have their heads drawn up tightly
should not have the bitting on more than fifteen or twenty minutes at a


Take up one fore foot and bend his knee till his hoof is bottom upwards,
and merely touching his body, then slip a loop over his knee, and up until
it comes above the pasture joint to keep it up, being careful to draw the
loop together between the hoof and pasture joint with a second strap of
some kind, to prevent the loop from slipping down and coming off. This
will leave the horse standing on three legs; you can now handle him as you
wish, for it is utterly impossible for him to kick in this position.
There is something in this operation of taking up one foot that conquers a
horse quicker and better than any thing else you can do to him. There is
no process in the world equal to it to break a kicking horse, for several
reasons. First, there is a principle of this kind in the nature of the
horse; that by conquering one member you conquer to a great extent the
whole horse.

You have perhaps seen men operate upon this principle by sewing a horse's
ears together to prevent him from kicking. I once saw a plan given in a
newspaper to make a bad horse stand to be shod, which was to fasten down
one ear. There were no reasons given why you should do so; but I tried it
several times, and thought it had a good effect--though I would not
recommend its use, especially stitching his ears together. The only
benefit arising from this process is, that by disarranging his ears we
draw his attention to them, and he is not so apt to resist the shoeing. By
tying up one foot we operate on the same principle to a much better
effect. When you first fasten up a horse's foot he will sometimes get very
mad, and strike with his knee, and try every possible way to get it down;
but he cannot do that, and will soon give it up.

This will conquer him better than anything you could do, and without any
possible danger of hurting himself or you either, for you can tie up his
foot and sit down and look at him until he gives up. When you find that he
is conquered, go to him, let down his foot, rub his leg with your hand,
caress him and let him rest a little, then put it up again. Repeat this a
few times, always putting up the same foot, and he will soon learn to
travel on three legs so that you can drive him some distance. As soon as
he gets a little used to this way of traveling, put on your harness and
hitch him to a sulky. If he is the worst kicking horse that ever raised a
foot you need not be fearful of his doing any damage while he has one foot
up, for he cannot kick, neither can he run fast enough to do any harm. And
if he is the wildest horse that ever had harness on, and has run away
every time he has been hitched, you can now hitch him in a sulky and drive
him as you please. And if he wants to run you can let him have the lines,
and the whip too, with perfect safety, for he cannot go but a slow gait on
three legs, and will soon be tired and willing to stop; only hold him
enough to guide him in the right direction, and he will soon be tired and
willing to stop at the word. Thus you will effectually cure him at once of
any further notion of running off. Kicking horses have always been the
dread of every body; you always hear men say, when they speak about a bad
horse, "I don't care what he does, so he don't kick." This new method is
an effectual cure for this worst of all habits. There are plenty of ways
by which you can hitch a kicking horse and force him to go, though he
kicks all the time; but this don't have any good effect towards breaking
him, for we know that horses kick because they are afraid of what is
behind them, and when they kick against it and it hurts them they will
only kick the harder, and this will hurt them still more and make them
remember the scrape much longer, and make it still more difficult to
persuade them to have any confidence in any thing dragging behind them
ever after.

But by this new method you can hitch them to a rattling sulky, plow,
wagon, or anything else in its worst shape. They may be frightened at
first, but cannot kick or do any thing to hurt themselves, and will soon
find that you do not intend to hurt them, and then they will not care any
thing more about it. You can then let down the leg and drive along gently
without any farther trouble. By this new process a bad kicking horse can
be learned to go gentle in harness in a few hours' time.


Horses know nothing about balking, only as they are brought into it by
improper management, and when a horse balks in harness it is generally
from some mismanagement, excitement, confusion, or from not knowing how to
pull, but seldom from any unwillingness to perform all that he
understands. High spirited, free going horses are the most subject to
balking, and only so because drivers do not properly understand how to
manage this kind. A free horse in a team may be so anxious to go that when
he hears the word he will start with a jump, which will not move the load,
but give him such a severe jerk on the shoulders that he will fly back and
stop the other horse; the teamster will continue his driving without any
cessation, and by the time he has the slow horse started again he will
find that the free horse has made another jump, and again flew back, and
now he has them both badly balked, and so confused that neither of them
knows what is the matter, or how to start the load. Next will come the
slashing and cracking of the whip, and hallooing of the driver, till
something is broken or he is through with his course of treatment. But
what a mistake the driver commits by whipping his horse for this act.
Reason and common sense should teach him that the horse was willing and
anxious to go, but did not know how to start the load. And should he whip
him for that? If so, he should whip him again for not knowing how to talk.
A man that wants to act with any rationality or reason should not fly into
a passion, but should always think before he strikes. It takes a steady
pressure against the collar to move a load, and you cannot expect him to
act with a steady, determined purpose while you are whipping him. There is
hardly one balking horse in five hundred that will pull true from
whipping; it is only adding fuel to fire, and will make them more liable
to balk another time. You always see horses that have been balked a few
times, turn their heads and look back, as soon as they are a little
frustrated. This is because they have been whipped and are afraid of what
is behind them. This is an invariable rule with balked horses, just as
much as it is for them to look around at their sides when they have the
bots; in either case they are deserving of the same sympathy and the same
kind, rational treatment.

When your horse balks, or is a little excited, if he wants to start
quickly, or looks around and don't want to go, there is something wrong,
and needs kind he treatment immediately. Caress him kindly, and if he
don't understand at once what you want him to do he will not be so much
excited as to jump and break things, and do everything wrong through fear.
As long as you are calm and can keep down the excitement of the horse,
there are ten chances to have him understand you, where there would not be
one under harsh treatment, and then the little _flare up_ would not carry
with it any unfavorable recollections, and he would soon forget all about
it, and learn to pull true. Almost every wrong act the horse commits is
from mismanagement, fear or excitement; one harsh word will so excite a
nervous horse as to increase his pulse ten beats in a minute.

When we remember that we are dealing with dumb brutes, and reflect how
difficult it must be for them to understand our motions, signs and
language, we should never get out of patience with them because they don't
understand us, or wonder at their doing things wrong. With all our
intellect, if we were placed in the horse's situation, it would be
difficult for us to understand the driving of some foreigner, of foreign
ways and foreign language. We should always recollect that our ways and
language are just as foreign and unknown to the horse as any language in
the world is to us, and should try to practice what we could understand,
were we the horse, endeavoring by some simple means to work on his
understanding rather than on the different parts of his body. All balked
horses can be started true and steady in a few minutes time; they are all
willing to pull as soon as they know how, and I never yet found a balked
horse that I could not teach him to start his load in fifteen, and often
less than three minutes time.

Almost any team, when first balked, will start kindly, if you let them
stand five or ten minutes, as though there was nothing wrong, and then
speak to them with a steady voice, and turn them a little to the right or
left, so as to get them both in motion before they feel the pinch of the
load. But if you want to start a team that you are not driving yourself,
that has been balked, fooled and whipped for some time, go to them and
hang the lines on their hames, or fasten them to the wagon, so that they
will be perfectly loose; make the driver and spectators (if there is any)
stand off some distance to one side, so as not to attract the attention of
the horses; unloose their checkreins, so that they can get their heads
down, if they choose; let them stand a few minutes in this condition,
until you can see that they are a little composed. While they are standing
you should be about their heads, gentling them; it will make them a little
more kind, and the spectators will think that you are doing something that
they do not understand, and will not learn the secret. When you have them
ready to start, stand before them, and as you seldom have but one balky
horse in a team, get as near in front of him as you can, and if he is too
fast for the other horse, let his nose come against your breast; this will
keep him steady, for he will go slow rather than run on you; turn them
gently to the right, without letting them pull on the traces, as far as
the tongue will let them go; stop them with a kind word, gentle them a
little, and then turn them back to the left, by the same process. You will
have them under your control by this time, and as you turn them again to
the right, steady them in the collar, and you can take them where you

There is a quicker process that will generally start a balky horse, but
not so sure. Stand him a little ahead, so that his shoulders will be
against the collar, and then take up one of his fore feet in your hand,
and let the driver start them, and when the weight comes against his
shoulders, he will try to step; then let him have his foot, and he will go
right along. If you want to break a horse from balking that has long been
in that habit, you ought to set apart a half day for that purpose. Put him
by the side of some steady horse; have check lines on them; tie up all the
traces and straps, so that there will be nothing to excite them; do not
rein them up, but let them have their heads loose. Walk them about
together for some time as slowly and lazily as possible; stop often, and
go up to your balky horse and gentle him. Do not take any whip about him,
or do any thing to excite him, but keep him just as quiet as you can. He
will soon learn to start off at the word, and stop whenever you tell him.

As soon as he performs right, hitch him in an empty wagon; have it stand
in a favorable position for starting. It would be well to shorten the stay
chain behind the steady horse, so that if it is necessary he can take the
weight of the wagon the first time you start them. Do not drive but a few
rods at first; watch your balky horse closely, and if you see that he is
getting balky, stop him before he stops of his own accord, caress him a
little, and start again. As soon as they go well, drive them over a small
hill a few times, and then over a large one, occasionally adding a little
load. This process will make any horse true to pull.


Take him in a tight stable, as you did to ride him; take the harness and
go through the same process that you did with the saddle, until you get
him familiar with them, so that you can put them on him and rattle them
about without his caring for them. As soon as he will bear this, put on
the lines, caress him as you draw them over him, and drive him about in
the stable till he will bear them over his hips. The _lines_ are a great
aggravation to some colts, and often frighten them as much as if you were
to raise a whip over them. As soon as he is familiar with the harness and
line, take him out and put him by the side of a gentle horse, and go
through the same process that you did with the balking horse. Always use a
bridle without blinds when you are breaking a horse to harness.


Lead him to and around it; let him look at it, touch it with his nose, and
stand by it till he does not care for it; then pull the shafts a little to
the left, and stand by your horse in front of the off wheel. Let some one
stand on the right side of the horse, and hold him by the bit, while you
stand on the left side, facing the sulky. This will keep him straight. Run
your left hand back and let it rest on his hip, and lay hold of the shafts
with your right, bringing them up very gently to the left hand, which
still remains stationary. Do not let anything but your arm touch his back,
and as soon as you have the shafts square over him, let the person on the
opposite side take hold of one of them and lower them very gently on the
shaft bearers. Be very slow and deliberate about hitching; the longer time
you take, the better, as a general thing. When you have the shafts placed,
shake them slightly, so that he will feel them against each side. As soon
as he will bear them without scaring, fasten your braces, etc., and start
him along very slowly. Let one man lead the horse to keep him gentle,
while the other gradually works back with the lines till he can get behind
and drive him. After you have driven him in this way a short distance, you
can get into the sulky, and all will go right. It is very important to
have your horse go gently, when you first hitch him. After you have walked
him awhile, there is not half so much danger of his scaring. Men do very
wrong to jump up behind a horse to drive him as soon as they have him
hitched. There are too many things for him to comprehend all at once. The
shafts, the lines, the harness, and the rattling of the sulky, all tend to
scare him, and he must be made familiar with them by degrees. If your
horse is very wild, I would advise you to put up one foot the first time
you drive him.


Every thing that we want to learn the horse must be commenced in some way
to give him an idea of what you want him to do, and then be repeated till
he learns it perfectly. To make a horse lie down, bend his left fore leg,
and slip a loop over it, so that he cannot get it down. Then put a
circingle around his body, and fasten one end of a long strap around the
other fore leg, just above the hoof. Place the other end under the
circingle, so as to keep the strap in the right hand; stand on the left
side of the horse, grasp the bit in your left hand, pull steadily on the
strap with your right; bear against his shoulder till you cause him to
move. As soon as he lifts his weight, your pulling will raise the other
foot, and he will have to come on his knees. Keep the strap tight in your
hand, so that he cannot straighten his leg if he raises up. Hold him in
his position, and turn his head toward you; bear against his side with
your shoulder, not hard, but with a steady equal pressure, and in about
ten minutes he will lie down. As soon as he lies down he will be
completely conquered, and you can handle him as you please. Take off the
straps, and straighten out his legs; rub him lightly about the face and
neck with your hand the way the hair lays; handle all his legs, and after
he has lain ten or twenty minutes, let him get up again. After resting him
a short time, make him lie down as before. Repeat the operation three or
four times, which will be sufficient for one lesson. Give him two lessons
a day, and when you have given him four lessons, he will lie down by
taking hold of one foot. As soon as he is well broken to lie down in this
way, tap him on the opposite leg with a stick when you take hold of his
foot, and in a few days he will lie down from the mere motion of the


Turn him into a large stable or shed, where there is no chance to get out,
with a halter or bridle on. Go to him and gentle him a little, take hold
of his halter and turn him towards you, at the same time touching him
lightly over the hips with a long whip. Lead him the length of the stable,
rubbing him on the neck, saying in a steady tone of voice as you lead him,
COME ALONG BOY! or use his name instead of boy, if you choose. Every time
you turn, touch him slightly with the whip, to make him step up close to
you, and then caress him with your hand. He will soon learn to hurry up to
escape the whip and be caressed, and you can make him follow you around
without taking hold of the halter. If he should stop and turn from you,
give him a few cuts about the hind legs, and he will soon turn his head
toward you, when you must always caress him. A few lessons of this kind
will make him run after you, when he sees the motion of the whip--in
twenty or thirty minutes he will follow you about the stable. After you
have given him two or three lessons in the stable, take him out into a
small lot and train him; and from thence you can take him into the road
and make him follow you anywhere, and run after you.


After you have him well broken to follow you, stand him in the center of
the stable--begin at his head to caress him, gradually working backward.
If he move, give him a cut with the whip and put him back in the same spot
from which he started. If he stands, caress him as before, and continue
gentling him in this way until you can get round him without making him
move. Keep walking around him, increasing your pace, and only touch him
occasionally. Enlarge your circle as you walk around and if he then moves,
give him another cut with the whip and put him back to his place. If he
stands, go to him frequently and caress him, and then walk around him
again. Do not keep him in one position too long at a time, but make him
come to you occasionally and follow you round in the stable. Then stand
him in another place, and proceed as before. You should not train your
horse more than half an hour at a time.

Part A
Horseman's guide (Alternative Cures and Methods)

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