Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of corrections is found at the end of the text. Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been maintained. A list of inconsistently spelled and hyphenated words is found at the end of the text.
Oe ligatures have been expanded.
A New Illustrated Edition of
J. S. RAREY'S
ART OF TAMING HORSES;
WITH THE SUBSTANCE OF THE LECTURES AT THE ROUND HOUSE, AND ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS ON HORSEMANSHIP AND HUNTING, FOR THE YOUNG AND TIMID.
BY THE SECRETARY TO THE FIRST SUBSCRIPTION OF FIVE THOUSAND GUINEAS,
AUTHOR OF "GALLOPS AND GOSSIPS," AND HUNTING CORRESPONDENT OF THE "ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS."
LONDON: ROUTLEDGE, WARNES, AND ROUTLEDGE, FARRINGDON STREET. 1859.
[The right of Translation is reserved.]
Mr. Rarey's pamphlet first published in Ohio.—Experience of old system.—Compiled and invented new.—Tying up the fore-leg known many years ago, see Stamford Almanack.—Forgotten and not valued.—Reference to Captain Nolan's and Colonel Greenwood's works on horsemanship.—Dick Christian missed the discovery.—Baucher's plan of laying down a horse explained.—Mademoiselle Isabel's whip-and-spur plan.—Account of the Irish whisperer Dan Sullivan.—Usual modes of taming vicious horses.—Starving.—Physic.—Sleepless nights.—Bleeding.—Biting the ear.—Story of Kentish coachman.—The Ellis system.—Value of the Rarey system as compared with that of ordinary horse-tamers.—Systems of Australia and Arabia compared.—The South American plan explained.—A French plan.—Grisone the Neapolitan's advice.—The discovery of Mr. Rarey by Mr. Goodenough.—Visit to Canada.—To England.—Lord Alfred Paget.—Sir Richard Airey.—System made known to them.—To Mr. Jos. Anderson.—Messrs. Tattersall.—Sir Matthew Ridley's black horse tamed.—Subscription list of 500 opened.—Stafford tamed.—Description of.—Teaching commenced with Lords Palmerston, Granville, &c.—Cruiser tamed.—History of.—Enthusiastic crowd at Cruiser exhibition.—System approved by the Earl of Jersey and Sir Tatton Sykes.—Close of first subscription list.—Anecdote of Mr. Gurney's colt—Personal sketch of Mr. Rarey 1
Mr. Rarey's Introduction.—Remarks on 26
The three fundamental principles of the Rarey Theory.—Heads of the Rarey Lectures.—Editor's paraphrase.—That any horse may be taught docility.—That a horse should be so handled and tied as to feel inferior to man.—That a horse should be allowed to see, smell, and feel all fearful objects.—Key note of the Rarey system 32
How to drive a colt from pasture.—How to drive into a stable.—The kind of halter.—Experiment with a robe or cloak.—Horse-taming drugs.—The Editor's remarks.—Importance of patience.—Best kind of head-stall.—Danger of approaching some colts.—Hints from a Colonel of the Life Guards 39
Powell's system of approaching a colt.—Rarey's remarks on.—Lively high-spirited horses tamed easily.—Stubborn sulky ones more difficult.—Motto, "Fear, love and obey."—Use of a whalebone gig-whip.—How to frighten and then approach.—Use kind words.—How to halter and lead a colt.—By the side of a horse.—To lead into a stable.—To tie up to a manger.—Editor's remarks.—Longeing.—Use and abuse of.—On bitting.—Sort of bit for a colt.—Dick Christian's bit.—The wooden gag bit 51
Taming a colt or horse.—Rarey's directions for strapping up and laying down detailed.—Explanations by Editor.—To approach a vicious horse with half door.—Cartwheel.—No. 1 strap applied.—No. 2 strap applied.—Woodcuts of.—How to hop about.—Knot up bridle.—Struggle described.—Lord B.'s improved No. 2 strap.—Not much danger.—How to steer a horse.—Laid down, how to gentle.—To mount, tied up.—Place and preparations for training described 67
The Drum.—The Umbrella.—Riding-habit.—How to bit a colt.—How to saddle.—To mount.—To ride.—To break.—To harness.—To make a horse follow and stand without holding.—Baucher's plan.—Nolan's plan 90
Value of good horsemanship to both sexes.—On teaching children.—Anecdote.—Havelock's opinion.—Rarey's plan to train ponies.—The use of books.—Necessity of regular teaching for girls; boys can be self-taught.—Commence without a bridle.—Ride with one pair of reins and two hands.—Advantage of hunting-horn on side-saddle.—On the best plan for mounting.—Rarey's plan.—On a man's seat.—Nolan's opinion.—Military style.—Hunting style.—Two examples in Lord Cardigan.—The Prussian style.—Anecdote by Mr. Gould, Blucher, and the Prince Regent.—Hints for men learning to ride.—How to use the reins.—Pull right for right, and left for left.—How to collect your horse 111
On bits.—The snaffle.—The use of the curb.—The Pelham.—The Hanoverian bit described.—Martingales.—The gentleman's saddle to be large enough.—Spurs.—Not to be too sharp.—The Somerset saddle for the timid and aged.—The Nolan saddle without flaps.—Ladies' saddle described.—Advantages of the hunting-horn crutch.—Ladies' stirrup.—Ladies' dress.—Hints on.—Habit.—Boots.—Whips.—Hunting-whips.—Use of the lash.—Gentleman's riding costume.—Hunting dress.—Poole, the great authority.—Advantage of cap over hat in hunting.—Boot-tops and Napoleons.—Quotation from Warburton's ballads 135
Advantage of hunting.—Libels on.—Great men who have hunted.—Popular notion unlike reality.—Dick Christian and the Marquis of Hastings.—Fallacy of "lifting" a horse refuted.—Hints on riding at fences.—Harriers discussed.—Stag-hunting a necessity and use where time an object.—Hints for novices.—"Tally-ho!" expounded.—To feed a horse after a hard ride.—Expenses of horse-keep.—Song by Squire Warburton, "A word ere we start" 154
The Fitzwilliam.—Brocklesby.—A day on the Wolds.—Brighton harriers.—Prince Albert's harriers 176
Hunting Terms 199
The origin of Fox-hunting 210
The wild ponies of Exmoor 218
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
TO FACE 1. ZEBRA STRAPPED UP Drawn by Louis Huard, Esq. Title-page 2. HORSE WITH STRAP NO. 1 Ditto " 67 3. HORSE WITH STRAPS NOS. 1 AND 2 Ditto " 76 4. THE HORSE STRUGGLING Ditto " 79 5. THE HORSE EXHAUSTED Ditto " 80 6. THE HORSE TAMED Ditto " 82 7. SECOND LESSON IN HARNESS Ditto " 100 8. RAILS AND DOUBLE DITCH Ditto " 153
PAGE WILD HORSE'S HEAD 25 HALTER OR BRIDLE 39 WOODEN GAG BIT 66 STRAP NO. 1 74 STRAP NO. 2 76 LORD B.'S IMPROVED NO. 2 77 SURCINGLE STRAP FOR NO. 2 78 SIDE SADDLE, AND LADY'S SEAT ON 111 SIDE SADDLE, OFFSIDE VIEW OF 135 CURB, OR HARD AND SHARP 136 PLAIN SNAFFLE 137 PELHAM 138 HANOVERIAN 139 SITZ, OR HUNTSMAN'S BATH 232 HOT-AIR OR INDIAN BATH 235
THE ART OF TAMING HORSES.
Mr. Rarey's pamphlet first published in Ohio.—Experience of old system.—Compiled and invented new.—Tying up the fore-leg known many years ago, see Stamford Almanack.—Forgotten and not valued.—Reference to Captain Nolan's and Colonel Greenwood's works on horsemanship.—Dick Christian missed the discovery.—Baucher's plan of laying down a horse explained.—Mademoiselle Isabel's whip-and-spur plan.—Account of the Irish whisperer Dan Sullivan.—Usual modes of taming vicious horses.—Starving.—Physic.—Sleepless nights.—Bleeding.—Biting the ear.—Story of Kentish coachman.—The Ellis system.—Value of the Rarey system as compared with that of ordinary horse-tamers.—Systems of Australia and Arabia compared.—The South American plan explained.—A French plan.—Grisone the Neapolitan's advice.—The discovery of Mr. Rarey by Mr. Goodenough.—Visit to Canada.—To England.—Lord Alfred Paget.—Sir Richard Airey.—System made known to them.—To Mr. Jos. Anderson.—Messrs. Tattersall.—Sir Matthew Ridley's black horse tamed.—Subscription list of 500 opened.—Stafford tamed.—Description of.—Teaching commenced with Lords Palmerston, Granville, &c.—Cruiser tamed.—History of.—Enthusiastic crowd at Cruiser exhibition.—System approved by the Earl of Jersey and Sir Tatton Sykes.—Close of first subscription list.—Anecdote of Mr. Gurney's colt.—Personal sketch of Mr. Rarey.
Mr. Rarey is a farmer from Ohio, in the United States. Five years ago he wrote the little book which forms the text of the following complete account of his system, with pictorial illustrations, which are essential for explaining the means he now employs for subduing the most refractory animals. Without these explanations, it would be extremely difficult for any one who had not enjoyed the advantage of hearing Mr. Rarey's explanations, to practise his system successfully, or even safely. The original work contains a mere outline of the art, since perfected by five years' further study and practice. The author did not revise his first sketch, for very obvious reasons.
He was living in obscurity, teaching his system for a few dollars in Ohio and Texas. He never taught in the great cities or seabord states of the United States. When he had imparted his art to a pupil, he bound him to secrecy, and presented him with a copy of his pamphlet. He did not dream, then, of becoming the great Lion of the London Season, and realising from English subscribers nearly 20,000l. It will be observed, that in the original American edition, the operation of tying up the foot is described in one chapter, and, at an interval of some pages, that of laying a horse down, in another; and that neither the difficulties nor the necessary precautions, nor the extraordinary results, are described with the clearness their importance requires.
Mr. Rarey has now very properly released his subscribers from the contract which bound them to secrecy; and it is now in every point of view important that this valuable system of rendering horses docile and affectionate, fit for hacks or chargers, ladies' pads or harness, or the safe conveyance of the aged, crippled, and sick, should be placed within the reach of the thousands whose business it is to deal with horses, as well as of that large class of gentlemen who are obliged to observe economy while keeping up their equestrian tastes. After all, it is to the horse-breeding farmers and grooms to whom Mr. Rarey's art will be of the most practical use.
As it is, enough of the system has oozed out to suggest to the ignorant new means of cruelty. A horse's leg is strapped up, and then the unlearned proceed to bully the crippled animal, instead of—to borrow an expressive Americanism—"to gentle him."
Before entering into the details for practising the Rarey system, it may be interesting to give a sketch of the "facts" that have placed Mr. Rarey in his present well-deserved position, as an invincible Horse-Tamer, as well as a Reformer of the whole modern system of training horses—a position unanimously assigned to him by all the first horsemen of the day.
Mr. Rarey has been a horse-breaker in the United States from his earliest youth, and had frequently to break in horses five or six years old, that had run wild until that mature undocile age.
At first he employed the old English rough-rider method, and in the course of his adventures broke almost every bone in his body, for his pluck was greater than his science. But he was not satisfied with following old routine; he inquired from the wandering horsemen and circus trainers into their methods (it may be that he was at one time attached to a circus himself), and read every book he could lay his hands on. By inquiry and by study—as he says in one of his advertisements—"he thought out" the plan and the principles of his present system.
The methods he uses for placing a colt or horse completely in his power are not absolutely new, although it is possible that he has re-invented and has certainly much improved them. The Russian (i. e. Courland) Circus Riders have long known how, single-handed, to make a horse lie down by fastening up one fore-leg, and then with a rope suddenly pulling the other leg from under him. The trick was practised in England more than forty years ago, and forgotten. That no importance was attached to this method of throwing a horse is proved by the fact, that in the works on horsemanship, published during the last twenty years, no reference is made to it. When Mr. Starkey, of Wiltshire, a breeder and runner of race-horses,[4-*] saw Mr. Rarey operate for the first time, he said, "Why I knew how to throw a horse in that way years ago, but I did not know the use of it, and was always in too great a hurry!" Lord Berners made nearly the same remark to me. Nimrod, Cecil, Harry Hieover, Scrutator—do not appear to have ever heard of it. The best modern authority on such subjects (British Rural Sports), describes a number of difficulties in breaking colts which altogether disappear under the Rarey system—especially the difficulty of shoeing.
Captain Nolan, who was killed at Balaklava, served in an Hungarian regiment, in the Austrian service, afterwards in our own service in India, and visited Russia, France, Denmark, and South Germany, to collect materials for his work on the "History of Cavalry and on the Training of Horses," although he set out with the golden rule laid down by the great Greek horseman, Xenophon, more than a thousand years ago—"HORSES ARE TAUGHT, NOT BY HARSHNESS, BUT BY GENTLENESS," only refers incidentally to a plan for throwing a horse down, in an extract from Baucher's great work, which will presently be quoted, but attaches no importance to it, and was evidently totally ignorant of the foundation of the Rarey system.
The accomplished Colonel Greenwood, who was equally learned in the manege of the Haute Ecole, and skilled in the style of the English hunting-fields, gives no hint of a method which reduces the time for taming colts from months to hours, and makes the docility of five horses out of six merely a matter of a few weeks' patience.
The sporting newspapers of England and America were so completely off the true scent when guessing at the Rarey method, that they put faith in recipes of oils and scents for taming horses.
Dick Christian—a genius in his way—when on horseback unmatched for patience and pluck, but with no taste for reading and no talent for generalizing, used to conquer savages for temporary use by tying up one fore-foot, and made good water-jumpers of horses afraid of water by making them smell it and wade through it; so that he came very near the Rarey methods, but missed the chain of reasoning that would have led him to go further with these expedients.[5-*]
Mons. Baucher, of Paris (misprinted Faucher in the American edition), the great modern authority in horse-training and elaborate school equitation, under whom our principal English cavalry generals have studied—amongst others, two enthusiastic disciples of Mr. Rarey, Lord Vivian and General Laurenson, commanding the cavalry at Aldershott—admitted Mr. Rarey's system was not only "most valuable," but "quite new to him."
After Mr. Rarey had taught five or six hundred subscribers, some of whom of course had wives, Mr. Cooke, of Astley's, began to exhibit a way of making a horse lie down, which bore as much resemblance to Mr. Rarey's system, as Buckstone's or Keeley's travestie of Othello would to a serious performance by a first-rate tragedian. Mr. Cooke pulling at a strap over the horse's back, was, until he grew, by practice, skilful, more than once thrown down by the extension of the off fore-leg.
Indeed, the proof that the circus people knew neither the Rarey plan, nor the results to be obtained from it, is to be found in the fact, that they continually failed in subduing unruly horses sent to them for that purpose.
A friend of mine, an eminent engineer, sent to Astley's, about two years ago, a horse which had cost him two hundred pounds, and was useless from a habit of standing still and rearing at the corner of streets; he was returned worse rather than better, and sold for forty pounds. Six lessons from Mr. Rarey would have produced, at least, temporary docility.
Monsieur Baucher, in his Methode d'Equitation, says, speaking of the surprise created by the feats he performed with trained horses,—"According to some, I was a new 'Carter,'[6-*] taming my horses by depriving them of rest and nourishment: others would have it, that I tied ropes to their legs, and suspended them in the air; some again supposed that I fascinated them by the power of the eye; and part of the audience, seeing my horses (Partisan, Capitaine, Neptune, and Baridan) work in time to my friend Monsieur Paul Cuzent's charming music, seriously argued that the horses had a capital ear for music, and that they stopped when the clarionets and trombones ceased to play, and that the music had more power over the horse than I had. That the beast obeyed an 'ut' or a 'sol' or 'staccato,' but my hands and legs went for nothing.
"Could any one imagine that such nonsense could emanate from people who passed for horsemen?
"Now from this, although in some respects the same class of nonsense that was talked about Mr. Rarey, it does not seem that any Parisian veterinary surgeon staked his reputation on the efficacy of oils and scents."
M. Baucher then proceeds to give what he calls sixteen "Airs de Manege," which reflect the highest credit on his skill as a rational horseman, using his hands and legs. But he proceeds to say—"It is with regret I publish the means of making a horse kneel, limp, lie down, and sit on his haunches in the position called the 'Cheval Gastronomie,' or 'The Horse at Dinner.' This work is degrading to the poor horse, and painful to the trainer, who no longer sees in the poor trembling beast the proud courser, full of spirit and energy, he took such pleasure in training.
"To make a horse kneel, tie his pastern-joint to his elbow, make fast a longer line to the other pastern-joint, have this held tight, and strike the leg with the whip; the instant he raises it from the ground, pull at the longeing line to bend the leg. He cannot help it—he must fall on his knees. Make much of the horse in this position, and let him get up free of all hindrance.
"As soon as he does this without difficulty, leave off the use of the longeing line, and next leave both legs at liberty: by striking him on the shins with the whip, he will understand that he is to kneel down.
"When on his knees, send his head well to the off-side, and, supporting him with the left rein, pull the right rein down against his neck till he falls to the near side; when down at full length, you cannot make too much of him; have his head held that he may not get up too suddenly, or before you wish him. You can do this by placing your right foot on the right reins; this keeps the horse's nose raised from the ground, and thus deprives him of the power of struggling successfully against you. Profit by his present position to make him sit up on his haunches, and in the position of the 'Cheval Gastronomie.'"
The difference between this and Rarey's plan of laying down a horse is as great as between Franklin's kite and Wheatstone's electrical telegraph; and foremost to acknowledge the American's merits was M. Baucher.
So little idea had cavalry authorities that a horse could be trained without severity, that, during the Crimean war, a Mademoiselle Isabel came over to this country with strong recommendations from the French war minister, and was employed at considerable cost at Maidstone for some months in spoiling a number of horses by her system, the principal features of which consisted in a new dumb jockey, and a severe spur attached to a whip!
It is true that Mademoiselle Isabel's experiment was made contrary to the wishes and plans of the head of the Cavalry Training Department, the late General Griffiths; but it is not less true that within the last two years influential cavalry officers were looking for an improvement in training horses from an adroit use of the whip and spur.
From the time of Alexander the Great down to the Northumberland Horse-Breaker, there have been instances of courageous men who have been able to do extraordinary things with horses. But they may be divided into two classes, neither of which have been able to originate or impart a system for the use of ordinary horsemen.
The one class relied and relies on personal influence over lower animals. They terrify, subdue, or conciliate by eye, voice, and touch, just as some wicked women, not endowed with any extraordinary external charms, bewitch and betray the wisest men.
The other class rely on the infliction of acute pain, or, stupefaction by drugs, or other similar expedients for acquiring a temporary ascendancy.
In a work printed in 1664, quoted by Nolan, we have a melancholy account of the fate of an ingenious horse-tamer. "A Neapolitan, called Pietro, had a little horse, named Mauroco, doubtless a Barb or Arab, which he had taught to perform many tricks. He would, at a sign from his master, lie down, kneel, and make as many courvettes (springs on his hind-legs forward, like rearing), as his master told him. He jumped over a stick, and through hoops, carried a glove to the person Pietro pointed out, and performed a thousand pretty antics. He travelled through the greater part of the Continent, but unfortunately passing through Arles, the people in that 'age of faith,' took him for a sorcerer, and burned him and poor Mauroco in the market-place." It was probably from this incident that Victor Hugo took the catastrophe of La Esmeralda and her goat.
Dan Sullivan, who flourished about fifty years ago, was the greatest horse-tamer of whom there is any record in modern times. His triumph commenced by his purchasing for an old song a dragoon's horse at Mallow, who was so savage "that he was obliged to be fed through a hole in the wall." After one of Sullivan's lessons the trooper drew a car quietly through Mallow, and remained a very proverb of gentleness for years after. In fact, with mule or horse, one half-hour's lesson from Sullivan was enough; but they relapsed in other hands. Sullivan's own account of the secret was, that he originally acquired it from a wearied soldier who had not money to pay for a pint of porter he had drunk. The landlord was retaining part of his kit as a pledge, when Sullivan, who sat in the bar, vowed he would never see a hungry man want, and gave the soldier so good a luncheon, that, in his gratitude, he drew him aside at parting, and revealed what he believed to be an Indian charm.
Sullivan never took any pupils, and, as far as I can learn, never attempted to train colts by his method, although that is a more profitable and useful branch of business than training vicious horses. It is stated in an article in "Household Words" on Horse-Tamers, that he was so jealous of his gift that even the priest of Ballyclough could not wring it from him at the confessional. His son used to boast how his reverence met his sire as they both rode towards Mallow, and charged him with being a confederate of the wicked one, and how the "whisperer" laid the priest's horse under a spell, and forthwith led him a weary chase among the cross roads, till he promised in despair to let Sullivan alone for ever. Sullivan left three sons: one only practised his art, with imperfect success till his death; neither of the others pretended to any knowledge of it. One of them is to this day a horse-breaker at Mallow.
The reputation of Mr. Rarey brought to light a number of provincial horse-tamers, and, amongst others, a grandson of Sullivan has opened a list under the auspices of the Marquis of Waterford, for teaching his grandfather's art of horse-taming. It is impossible not to ask, why, if the art is of any value, it has not been taught long ago?
In Ireland as in England, the accepted modes of taming a determined colt, or vicious horse, are either by a resolute rider with whip and spur, and violent longeings, or by starving, physic, and sleepless nights. It was by these means combined that the well-known horseman, Bartley the bootmaker, twenty years ago, tamed a splendid thorough-bred horse, that had defied all the efforts of all the rough-riders of the Household Cavalry regiments.
Bleeding a vicious horse has been recommended in German books on equitation. In the family Robinson Crusoe, paterfamilias conquers the quagga by biting its ear, and every farrier knows how to apply a twitch to a horse's ear or nose to secure his quietness under an operation. A Mr. King, some years since, exhibited a learned horse, which he said he subdued by pinching a nerve of its mouth, called "the nerve of susceptibility."
The writer in the "Household Words" article, to which I have already referred, tells how "a coachman in Kent, who had been quite mastered by horses, called in the assistance of a professed whisperer. After his ghostly course the horses had the worst of it for two months, when their ill-humour returned, and the coachman himself immediately darkened his stable, and held what he termed a little conversation with them, which kept them placid till two more months had passed. He did not seem altogether to approve of the system, and plainly confessed that it was cruel." Putting shot in the ear is an old stupid and fatal trick of ignorant carters to cure a gibbing horse—it cures and kills him too.
The latest instantaneous system which acquired a certain degree of temporary popularity was that introduced from the western prairies, by Mr. Ellis, of Trinity College, Cambridge, which consisted in breathing into the nostrils of a colt, or buffalo colt, while its eyes were covered. But although on some animals this seemed to produce a soothing effect, on others it totally failed.
There can be very little doubt that most of the mysterious "horse-whisperers" relied for their power of subduing a vicious horse partly on the special personal influence already referred to, and partly on some one of those cruel modes of intimidating the animal. It has been observed that idiots can sometimes manage the most savage horses and bulls, and conciliate the most savage dogs at first sight.
The value of Mr. Rarey's system consists in the fact that it may be taught to, and successfully practised by, a ploughboy of thirteen or fourteen for use on all except extremely vicious and powerful horses.
It requires patience—it requires the habit of dealing with horses as well as coolness; but the real work is rather a matter of skill than strength. Not only have boys of five or six stone become successful horse-tamers, but ladies of high rank have in the course of ten minutes perfectly subdued and reduced to death-like calmness fiery blood-horses.
Therefore, in dealing with Mr. Rarey's plan we are not wasting our time about a trick for conquering these rare exceptions—incurably-savage horses—but considering the principles of a universally applicable system for taming and training horses for man's use, with a perfection of docility rarely found except in aged pet horses, and with a rapidity heretofore quite unknown.
The system of Arabia and Australia are the two extremes. In Australia, where the people are always in a hurry, the usual mode of breaking in the bush horses is to ride them quiet; that is, to let the man fight it out with the horse until the latter gives in; for the time, at any rate. The result is, that nine-tenths of the Australian horses are vicious, and especially given to the trick of "buck-jumping." This vile vice consists in a succession of leaps from all-fours, the beast descending with the back arched, the limbs rigid, and the head as low down between the legs as possible. Not one horseman in a hundred can sit three jumps of a confirmed buck-jumper. Charles Barter, who was one of the hardest riders in the Heythrope Hunt, in his "Six Months in Natal," says, "when my horse began buck-jumping I dismounted, and I recommend every one under the same circumstances to do the same."
The Guachos on the South American Pampas lasso a wild horse, throw him down, cover his head with one of their ponchos, or cloaks, and, having girthed on him one of their heavy demi-piqued saddles, from which it is almost impossible to be dislodged, thrust a curb-bit, capable of breaking the jaw with one tug, into the poor wretch's mouth, mount him with a pair of spurs with rowels six inches long, and ride him over the treeless plains until he sinks exhausted in a fainting state. But horses thus broken are almost invariably either vicious or stupid; in fact, idiotic. There is another milder method sometimes adopted by these Pampas horsemen, on which, no doubt, Mr. Rarey partly founded his system. After lassoing a horse, they blind his eyes with a poncho, tie him fast to a post, and girth a heavy saddle on him. The animal sometimes dies at once of fright and anger: if not, he trembles, sweats, and would, after a time, fall down from terror and weakness. The Guacho then goes up to him, caresses him, removes the poncho from his eyes, continues to caress him; so that, according to the notion of the country, the horse becomes grateful and attached to the man for delivering him from something frightful; and from that moment the process of training becomes easy, and, with the help of the long spurs, is completed in a few days. This plan must spoil as many horses as it makes quiet, and fail utterly with the more nervous and high-spirited; for the very qualities that render a horse most useful and beautiful, when properly trained, lead him, when unbroken, to resist more obstinately rough violent usage.
In a French newspaper article on Mr. Rarey's system, it is related that a French horse-breaker, in 1846, made a good speculation by purchasing vicious horses, which are more common in France than in England, and selling them, after a few days' discipline, perfectly quiet. His remedy lay in a loaded whip, freely applied between the ears when any symptom of vice was displayed. This expedient was only a revival of the method of Grisone, the Neapolitan, called, in the fifteenth century, the regenerator of horsemanship, predecessor of the French school, who says—"In breaking young horses, put them into a circular pit; be very severe with those that are sensitive, and of high courage; beat them between the ears with a stick." His followers tied their horses to the pillars in riding-schools, and beat them to make them raise their fore-legs. We do not approve of Grisone's maxims at the present day in print, but we leave our horses too much to ignorant colt-breakers, who practise them.
The Arabs alone, who have no need to hurry the education of their horses, and who live with them as we do with our pet dogs, train their colts by degrees, with patient gentleness, and only resort to severe measures to teach them to gallop and stop short. For this reason Arabs are most docile until they fall into the hands of cruel grooms.
It was from considering the docility of the high-bred Arab horse and intractableness of the quibly, roughly broken prairie or Pampas horse, that Mr. Rarey was led to think over and perfect the system which he has repeatedly explained and illustrated by living examples in his lectures, and very imperfectly explained in his valuable, original, but crude little book.
It is very fortunate that this book did not find its way to England before Mr. Rarey himself came and conquered Cruiser, and in face-to-face interviews gained the confidence and co-operation of all our horse-loving aristocracy. For had the book appeared unsupported by lectures (or such explanations written and pictorial as this edition will supply), there would have been so many accidents and so many failures, that Mr. Rarey would have had great difficulty in obtaining a hearing, and for many years our splendid colts would have been left to the empirical treatment of ignorant rough-riders.
An accident withdrew the great reformer of horse-training from obscurity.
In the course of his travels as a teacher of horse-taming he met with Mr. Goodenough, a sharp, hard-fisted New Englander, of the true "Yankee" breed, so well-described by Sam Slick, settled in the city of Toronto, Canada, as a general dealer. In fact, a "sort of Barnum." Mr. Goodenough saw that there was money to be made out of the Rarey system—formed a partnership with the Ohio farmer—conducted him to Canada—obtained an opportunity of exhibiting his talents before Major Robertson, Aide-de-camp to General Sir William Eyre, K.C.B., Commander of the forces, and, through the Major, before Sir William himself, who is (as I can say from having seen him with hounds) an accomplished horseman and enthusiastic fox-hunter. From these high authorities the partners obtained letters of introduction to the Horse Guards in England, and to several gentlemen attached to the Court; in one of the letters of introduction, General Eyre said, "that the system was new to him, and valuable for military purposes." On arriving in England, Mr. Rarey made known his system, and was fortunate enough to convert and obtain the active assistance of Sir Richard Airey, Quarter-Master General, Lord Alfred Paget,[16-*] and Colonel Hood, the two first being noted for their skill as horsemen, and the two latter being attached to the Court. From these gentlemen of high degree, Mr. Rarey proceeded, under good advice, to make known his art to Mr. Joseph Anderson of Piccadilly, and his prime minister, the well-known George Rice—tamed for them a black horse that had been returned by Sir Matthew White Ridley, as unridable from vice and nervousness. The next step was an introduction to Messrs. Tattersall of Hyde Park, whose reputation for honour and integrity in most difficult transactions is world wide and nearly a century old. Introduced at Hyde Park Corner with the strongest recommendations and certificates from such authorities as Lord Alfred Paget, Sir Richard Airey, Colonel Hood, &c., &c., Messrs. Tattersall investigated Mr. Rarey's system, and became convinced that its general adoption would confer an invaluable benefit on what may be called "the great horse interest," and do away with a great deal of cruelty and unnecessary severity now practised on the best-bred and most high-spirited animals through ignorance of colt-breakers and grooms. They, therefore, decided, with that liberality which has always distinguished the firm, to lend Mr. Rarey all the assistance in their power, without taking any commission, or remuneration of any kind.
As the methods used by Mr. Rarey are so exceedingly simple, the question next arose of how Mr. Rarey was to be remunerated when teaching in a city where hundreds live by collecting and retailing news. His previous lessons had been given to the thinly-populated districts of Ohio and Texas, where each pupil was a dealer in horses, and kept his secret for his own sake. Had he been the inventor of an improved corkscrew or stirrup-iron, a patent would have secured him that limited monopoly which very imperfectly rewards many invaluable mechanical inventions. Had his countrymen chosen to agree to a reciprocity treaty for copyright of books, he might have secured some certain remuneration by a printed publication of his Lectures. But they prefer the liberty of borrowing our copyrights without consulting the author, and we occasionally return the compliment. In this instance the author cannot say that the British nation has not paid him handsomely.
After a consultation with Mr. Rarey's noble patrons, it was decided that a list should be opened at Hyde Park Corner for subscribers at L10 10s. each, paid in advance, the teaching to commence as soon as five hundred subscriptions had been paid, each subscriber signing an engagement, under a penalty of L500, not to teach or divulge Mr. Rarey's method, and Messrs. Tattersall undertaking to hold the subscriptions in trust until Mr. Rarey had performed his part of the agreement.[17-*] To this fund, at the request of my friends Messrs. Tattersall, I agreed to act as Secretary. My duties ceased when the list was filled, and the management of the business passed from those gentlemen to Mr. Rarey's partner, Mr. Goodenough, on the 3rd of May, 1858.
This list was opened the first day at Mr. Jos. Anderson's, after Mr. Rarey had exhibited, not his method, but the results of his method on the celebrated black, or rather iron-gray, horse already mentioned.
Leaving the list to fill, Mr. Rarey went to Paris, and there tamed the vicious and probably half-mad coaching stallion, Stafford.[18-*] It is not generally known that having omitted the precautions of gagging this wild beast with the wooden bit, which forms one of the vignettes of this book, he turned round suddenly, while the tamer was soothing his legs, caught his shoulder in his mouth, and would have made an end of the Rarey system if assistance had not been at hand in the shape of Mr. Goodenough and a pitchfork.
Intense enthusiasm was created in Paris by the conquest of Stafford, but 250 francs was too large a sum to found a long subscription list in a city so little given to private horsemanship, and a French experiment did not produce much effect in England.
In fact, the English list, which started so bravely under distinguished patronage, after touching some 250 names, languished, and in spite of testimonials from great names, only reached 320, when Mr. Rarey, at the pressing recommendation of his English friends, returned from Paris, and fixed the day for commencing his lessons in the private riding-school of the Duke of Wellington, the use of which had been in the kindest manner offered by his Grace as a testimony of his high opinion of the value of the new system.
The course was commenced on the 20th March, by inviting to a private lesson a select party of noblemen and gentlemen, twenty-one in all, including, amongst other accomplished horsemen and horse-breeders, Lord Palmerston, the two ex-masters of the Royal Buckhounds, Earls Granville and Bessborough, the Marquis of Stafford, Vice-President of the Four-Horse Driving Club, and the Honourable Admiral Rous, the leading authority of the Jockey Club on all racing matters. The favourable report of these, perhaps, among the most competent judges of anything appertaining to horses in the world, settled the value of Mr. Rarey's lessons, and the list began to fill speedily; many of the subscribers, no doubt, being more influenced by the prevailing fashion and curiosity, than by an inclination to turn horse-tamers.
But early in April, when it became known that Mr. Rarey had tamed Cruiser,[20-*] the most vicious stallion in England, "who could do more fighting in less time than any horse in the world," and that he had brought him to London on the very day after, that he first backed him and had ridden him within three hours after the first interview, slow conviction swelled to enthusiasm. The list filled up rapidly.
The school in Kinnerton Street, to which Mr. Rarey was obliged to remove, was crowded, the excitement increasing with each lesson. On the day that Cruiser was exhibited for the first time, long before the doors were open, the little back street was filled with a fashionable mob, including ladies of the highest rank. An admission by noble non-subscribers with notes, gold, and cheques in hands, was begged for with a polite insinuating humility that was quite edifying. A hatful of ten-guinea subscriptions was thrust upon the unwilling secretary at the door with as much eagerness as if he had been the allotter of shares in a ten per cent railway in the day of Hudsonian guarantees. And it must be observed that this crowd included among the mere fashion-mongers almost every distinguished horseman and hunting-man in the three kingdoms.
It is quite too late now to attempt to depreciate a system the value of which has been repeatedly and openly acknowledged by authorities above question. As to the "secret," the subscribers must have known that it was impossible that a system that required so much space, and involved so much noise, could long remain a secret.
The Earl of Jersey, so celebrated in this century as a breeder of race-horses, in the last century as a rider to hounds, stood through a long lesson, and was as much delighted as his son the Honourable Frederick Villiers, Master of the Pytchley Hounds. Sir Tatton Sykes of Sledmere, perhaps the finest amateur horseman that ever rode a race, whose equestrian performances on the course and in the hunting-field date back more than sixty years, was as enthusiastic in his approval as the young Guardsman who, fortified by Mr. Rarey's lessons, mastered a mare that had defied the efforts of all the farriers of the Household Cavalry.
In a word, the five-hundred list was filled, and overflowed, the subscribers were satisfied, and the responsibility of Messrs. Tattersall as stakeholders for the public ceased, and the Secretary and Treasurer to the fund, having wound up the accounts and retired, the connection between Mr. Rarey and the Messrs. Tattersall resolved itself into the use of an office at Hyde Park Corner.
The London subscription list had passed eleven hundred names, and, in conjunction with the subscription received in Yorkshire, Liverpool, Manchester, Dublin, and Paris, besides private lessons at L25 each, had realised upwards of L20,000 for Mr. Rarey and his partner, when the five-hundred secrecy agreement was extinguished by the re-publication of the little American pamphlet already mentioned.
It was high time that it should, for, while Mr. Rarey had been handsomely paid for his instruction, the more scrupulous of his subscribers were unable to practise his lessons for want of a place where they could work in secrecy.
But although the re-publication of Mr. Rarey's American pamphlet virtually absolved his subscribers from the agreement which he gave up formally a few days later in his letter to the Times, it is quite absurd to assert that the little pamphlet teaches the Art of Horse-Taming as now practised by Mr. Rarey. Certainly no one but a horseman skilled in the equitation of schools could do much with a horse without great danger of injuring the animal and himself, if he had no other instruction than that contained in Mr. Rarey's clever, original, but vague chapters.
In the following work I shall endeavour to fill up the blanks in Mr. Rarey's sketch, and with the help of pictures and diagrams, show how a cool determined man or boy may break in any colt, and make him a docile hack, harness horse, or hunter; stand still, follow, and obey the voice almost as much as the reins.
To say that written or oral instructions will teach every man how to grapple with savages like Stafford, Cruiser, Phlegon, or Mr. Gurney's gray colt, would be sheer humbug—that must depend on the man; but we have an instance of what can be done that is encouraging. When Mr. Rarey was so ill that he was unable to sit Mr. Gurney's gray colt, the boasting Mr. Goodenough tried his hand, and was beaten pale and trembling out of the circus by that equine tiger; but Mr. Thomas Rice, the jobmaster of Motcombe Street, who had had the charge of Cruiser in Mr. Rarey's absence up to that time, although he had never before tried his hand at Rareyfying a horse, stuck to the gray colt, laid down, made him fast, and completely conquered him in one evening, so that he was fit to be exhibited the next day, when Mr. Goodenough, more suo, claimed the benefit of the victory.
Several ladies have succeeded famously in horse-taming; but they have been ladies accustomed to horses and to exercise, and always with gentlemen by, in case a customer proved too tough.
Before concluding this desultory but necessary introductory sketch of the rise, progress, and success of the Rarey system, it will be as well, perhaps, for the benefit of lady readers, to give a personal sketch of Mr. Rarey, who is by no means the athletic giant that many imagine.
Mr. Rarey is about thirty years of age, of middle height, and well-proportioned figure, wiry and active rather than muscular—his complexion is almost effeminately fair, with more colour than is usually found in those of his countrymen who live in the cities of the sea-coast. And his fair hair, large gray eyes, which only light up and flash fire when he has an awkward customer to tackle, give him altogether the appearance of a Saxon Englishman. His walk is remarkably light and springy, yet regular, as he turns round his horse; something between the set-up of a soldier and the light step of a sportsman. Altogether his appearance and manners are eminently gentlemanly. Although a self-educated and not a book-educated man, his conversation, when he cares to talk, for he is rather reserved, always displays a good deal of thoughtful originality, relieved by flashes of playful humour. This may be seen in his writing.
It may easily be imagined that he is extremely popular with all those with whom he has been brought in contact, and has acquired the personal friendship of some of the most accomplished noblemen and gentlemen of the day.
Mr. Rarey's system of horse-training will infallibly supersede all others for both civil and military purposes, and his name will take rank among the great social reformers of the nineteenth century. May we have many more such importations from America!
[4-*] Owner of Fisherman.
[5-*] See "The Post and the Paddock," by "The Druid."
[6-*] Carter, one of the Van Amburgh showmen.
[16-*] Son of the late Marquis of Anglesea, one of the finest horsemen of his day, even with one leg, after he left the other at Waterloo.
[17-*] The list itself is one of the most extraordinary documents ever printed, in regard to the rank and equestrian accomplishments of the subscribers.
[18-*] "Stafford is a half-bred carriage stallion, six years old. For three years he has formed one of the breeding-stud at Cluny, where he has acquired the character of being a most dangerous animal. He was about to be withdrawn from the stud and destroyed, in consequence of the protests of the breeders—for a whole year he had obstinately refused to be dressed, and was obliged to be closely confined in his box. He rushed at every one who appeared with both fore-feet, and open mouthed. Every means of subduing and restraining him was adopted; he was muzzled, blindfolded, and hobbled. In order to give Mr. Rarey's method a trial, Stafford was sent to Paris, and there a great number of persons, including the principal members of the Jockey Club, had an opportunity of judging of his vicious disposition.
"After being alone with Stafford for an hour and a half, Mr. Rarey rode on him into the Riding School, guiding him with a common snaffle-bridle. The appearance of the horse was completely altered: he was calm and docile. His docility did not seem to be produced by fear or constraint, but the result of perfect confidence. The astonishment of the spectators was increased when Mr. Rarey unbridled him, and guided the late savage animal, with a mere motion of his hands or indication with his leg, as easily as a trained circus-horse. Then, dashing into a gallop, he stopped him short with a single word.
"Mr. Rarey concluded his first exhibition by beating a drum on Stafford's back, and passing his hand over his head and mouth. Stafford was afterwards ridden by a groom, and showed the same docility in his hands as in those of Mr. Rarey.
"Mr. Rarey succeeded on the first attempt in putting him in harness with a mare, although he had never had his head through a collar before; and he went as quietly as the best-broken carriage-horse in Paris. Mr Rarey concluded by firing a six-chambered revolver from his back."—Paris Illustrated Journal.
[20-*] "Cruiser was the property of Lord Dorchester, and was a good favourite for the Derby in Wild Dayrell's year, but broke down before the race. Like all Venison horses, his temper was not of the mildest kind, and John Day was delighted to get rid of him. When started for Rawcliffe, he told the man who led him on no account to put him into a stable, as he would never get him out. This injunction was of course disregarded, for when the man wanted some refreshment, he put him into a country public-house stable, and left him, and to get him out, the roof of the building had to be pulled off. At Rawcliffe, he was always exhibited by a groom with a ticket-of-leave bludgeon in his hand, and few were bold enough to venture into his yard. This animal, whose temper has depreciated him perhaps a thousand pounds in value, I think would be 'the right horse in the right place' for Mr. Rarey. Phlegon and Vatican would also be good patients. I am sorry to hear that the latter has been blinded: if leathern blinds had been put on his eyes, the same effect would have been produced."—Morning Post, March 2, 1858.
"Mr. Rarey, when here, first subjugated a two-year old filly, perfectly unbroken. This he accomplished under half an hour, riding on her, opening an umbrella, beating a drum upon her, &c. He then took Cruiser in hand, and in three hours Mr. Rarey and myself mounted him. He had not been ridden for nearly three years, and was so vicious that it was impossible even to dress him, and it was necessary to keep him muzzled constantly. The following morning Mr. Rarey led him behind an open carriage, on his road to London. This horse was returned to me by the Rawcliffe and Stud Company on account of his vice, it being considered as much as a man's life was worth to attend to him.
"Greywell, April 7." "DORCHESTER."
Mr. Rarey's Pamphlet.—Introduction.
Mr. Rarey's American Pamphlet would make about fifty pages of this type, if given in full; but, in revising my Illustrated Edition, I have decided on omitting six pages of Introduction, which, copied from Mr. Rollo Springfield, an American author, do not contain any reliable facts or useful inferences.
The speculations of the American author, as to the early history of the horse, are written without sufficient information. So far from the "polished Greeks" having, as he states, "ridden without bridles," we have the best authority in the frieze of the Parthenon for knowing that, although they rode barebacked on their compact cobby ponies, they used reins and handled them skilfully and elegantly.
To go still further back, the bas-reliefs in the British Museum, discovered by Mr. Layard in the Assyrian Palace of Nimroud, contain spirited representation of horses with bridles, ridden in hunting and in pursuit of enemies, as well as driven in war-chariots. These horses are Arabs, while those of the Elgin Marbles more resemble the cream-coloured Hanoverians which draw the state carriage of our sovereigns. In one of the Nimroud bas-reliefs, we have cavalry soldiers standing with the bridles of their horses in their hands, "waiting," as Mr. Bonomi tells us, "for the orders to mount;" but, as they stand on the left side, with the bridles in their left hands, it is difficult to understand how they could obey such an order with reasonable celerity.
The Arabian stories, as to the performances of Arab horses and their owners, must be received with considerable hesitation, for the horse is one of the subjects on which Orientals love to found their poetical fireside stories. This is certain, that the Arab horse being highly bred, is very intelligent, being reared from its birth in the family of its master, extremely docile, and, being always in the open air and fed on a moderate quantity of dry food, very hardy.
If we lived with our horses, as we do with our dogs, they would be equally affectionate and tractable.
In Norway, in consequence of the severity of the climate, the ponies are all housed during the winter, and thus become so familiar with their owner that there is scarcely any difficulty in putting them into harness, even the first time.
English thoroughbred horses, when once acclimatized and bred in the open air on the dry pastures of Australia and South Africa, are found, if not put to work too early, as enduring as the Arab. Experiments in the Indian artillery have proved that the Australian horse and the Cape[27-*] horse, which has also been improved by judicious crosses with English blood, are superior for strength and endurance to the Eastern horses bred in the stud establishments of the East India Company.
The exaggerated idea that long prevailed of the value of the Arab horse, as compared with the English thorough-bred, which is an Eastern horse improved by long years of care and ample food, has been to a great extent dissipated by the large importation of Arabs that took place after the Crimean war—in fact, they are on the average pretty ponies of great endurance, but of very little use in this country, where size is indispensable for profit. In the East they are of great value for cavalry; they are hardy and full of fire and spirit. "But," says Captain Nolan, "no horse can compare with the English—no horse is more easily broken in to anything and everything—there is no quality in which the English horse does not excel—no performance in which he cannot beat all competition;" and Nolan was as familiar with the Eastern, Hungarian, and German crosses with the Arab as with the English thorough-bred.
We spoil our horses, first by pampering them in hot stables under warm clothing; next, by working them too young; and, lastly, by entrusting their training to rude, ignorant men, who rely for leading colt the way he should go on mere force, harsh words, a sharp whip, and the worrying use of the longeing rein. Rarey has shown how easily, quietly, and safely horses may be tamed; but we must also train men before we can obtain full benefit from our admirable breeds of horses.
Proof that our horses have become feeble from pampering may be found in Devonshire. There the common hacks of the county breed on the moors, and, crossed with native ponies, are usually undersized and coarse and heavy about the shoulders, like most wild horses, and all the inferior breeds of Arabs, but they are hardy and enduring to a degree that a Yorkshire breeder would scarcely believe. Mean-looking Galloways will draw a heavy dog-cart over the Devonshire hills fifty miles a-day for many days in succession.
A little common sense has been introduced into the management of our cavalry, since the real experience of the Crimean war. General Sir Charles Napier was not noticed when, nearly ten years ago, he wrote, "The cavalry charger, on a Hounslow Heath parade, well fed, well groomed, goes through a field-day without injury, although carrying more than twenty stone weight; he and his rider presenting together, a kind of alderman centaur. But if in the field, half starved, they have, at the end of a forced march, to charge an enemy! The biped full of fire and courage, transformed by war-work to a wiry muscular dragoon, is able and willing, but the overloaded quadruped cannot gallop—he staggers."
Our poor horses thus loaded, are expected to bound to hand and spur, while the riders wield their swords worthily. They cannot; and both man and horse appear inferior to their Indian opponents. The Eastern warrior's eye is quick, but not quicker than the European's; his heart is big, yet not bigger than the European's; his arm is strong, but not so strong as the European's; the swing of his razor-like scimitar is terrible, but an English trooper's downright blow splits the skull. Why then does the latter fail? The light-weighted horse of the dark swordsman carries him round his foe with elastic bounds, and the strong European, unable to deal the cleaving blow, falls under the activity of an inferior adversary!
Since the war, light men with broad chests have been enlisted for Indian service. The next step, originally suggested by Nolan, that every cavalry soldier should train his own horse, will be made easy by the introduction of the Rarey system. Country horse-breakers are too ignorant, too prejudiced, and too much interested in keeping up a mystery that gives them three months employment, instead of three weeks, to adopt it. The reform will probably commence in the army and in racing stables.
* * * * *
In the following pages, I have given the text of the American edition of Mr. Rarey's pamphlet, and added the information I have derived from hearing his lectures, seeing his operations on "Cruiser," and other difficult horses, and from the experience of my friends and self in taming horses. Thus, in Chap. VI. to Mr. Rarey's five pages I have added sixteen, and nine woodcut illustrations. In Chap. VII. the directions for the drum, umbrella, and riding habit are in print for the first time, as well as the directions for mounting with slack girths. Chaps. VIII. to XIV. have been added, in order to make this little work a complete manual for those who wish to benefit in riding as well as training horses from the experience of others.
In my opinion, the Rarey system is invaluable for training colts, breaking horses into harness, and curing kickers and jibbers. I do not profess to be a horse-tamer, my pursuits are too sedentary during the greater part of the year, but I have succeeded with even colts. I tried my hand on two of them wild from the Devonshire moors, in August last, and succeeded perfectly in an hour. I made them as affectionate as pet ponies, ready to follow me everywhere, as well as to submit to be mounted and ridden.
As to curing vicious horses, all that can be safely said is, that it puts it into the power of a courageous, calm-tempered horseman to conquer any horse. "Cruiser" was quiet in the hands of Mr. Rarey and Mr. Rice, but when insulted in the circus of Leicester Square by a violent jerk, he rushed at his tormentor with such ferocity that he cleared the ring of all the spangled troupe, yet, in the midst of his rage, he halted and ran up on being called by Rarey.
From this we learn that such a horse won't be bullied and must not be feared. But such vicious horses are rare exceptions. It is curious, that Mr. Rarey should have made his reputation by the least useful exercise of his art.
[27-*] The Cape horse has recently come into notice, in consequence of the publication of "Papers relating to the Purchase of Horses at the Cape for the Army of India." It seems that not less than 3300 have been purchased for that purpose; that Cape horses purchased by Colonel Havelock arrived from India in the Crimea in better condition than any other horses in the regiment; and that in the Caffre War Cape horses condemned by the martinets of a Remount Committee, carried the 7th Dragoons, averaging, in marching order, over nineteen stone, and no privation or fatigue could make General Cathcart's horses succumb. These horses are bred between the Arabs introduced by the Dutch and the English thoroughbred. I confess I see with, surprise that Colonel Apperley, the remount agent, recommends crosses with Norfolk trotting and Cleveland stallions. No such cross has ever answered in this country. Had he recommended thoroughbred weight-carrying stallions in preference to Arabs, I could have understood his condemnation of the latter. I should have hesitated to set my opinion against Colonel Apperley, had I not found that he differs entirely from the late General Sir Walter Gilbert, the greatest horseman, take him for all in all, as a cavalry officer, as a flat and steeple-chase rider, and rider to hounds of his day.—See Napier's Indian Misgovernment, p. 286 et seq.
The three fundamental principles of the Rarey Theory.—Heads of the Rarey Lectures.—Editor's paraphrase.—That any horse may be taught docility.—That a horse should be so handled and tied as to feel inferior to man.—That a horse should be allowed to see, smell, and feel all fearful objects.—Key note of the Rarey system.
FIRST.—That he is so constituted by nature that he will not offer resistance to any demand made of him which he fully comprehends, if made in a way consistent with the laws of his nature.
SECOND.—That he has no consciousness of his strength beyond his experience, and can be handled according to our will without force.
THIRD.—That we can, in compliance with the laws of his nature, by which he examines all things new to him, take any object, however frightful, around, over, or on him, that does not inflict pain—without causing him to fear.
To take these assertions in order, I will first give you some of the reasons why I think he is naturally obedient, and will not offer resistance to anything fully comprehended. The horse, though possessed of some faculties superior to man's, being deficient in reasoning powers, has no knowledge of right or wrong, of free will and independent government, and knows not of any imposition practised upon him, however unreasonable these impositions may be. Consequently, he cannot come to any decision as to what he should or should not do, because he has not the reasoning faculties of man to argue the justice of the thing demanded of him. If he had, taking into consideration his superior strength, he would be useless to man as a servant. Give him mind in proportion to his strength, and he will demand of us the green fields for his inheritance, where he will roam at leisure, denying the right of servitude at all. God has wisely formed his nature so that it can be operated upon by the knowledge of man according to the dictates of his will; and he might well be termed an unconscious, submissive servant. This truth we can see verified in every day's experience by the abuses practised upon him. Any one who chooses to be so cruel can mount the noble steed and run him till he drops with fatigue, or, as is often the case with the more spirited, falls dead beneath his rider. If he had the power to reason, would he not rear and pitch his rider, rather than suffer him to run him to death? Or would he condescend to carry at all the vain impostor, who, with but equal intellect, was trying to impose on his equal rights and equally independent spirit? But, happily for us, he has no consciousness of imposition, no thought of disobedience except by impulse caused by the violation of the law of his nature. Consequently, when disobedient, it is the fault of man.
Then, we can but come to the conclusion that, if a horse is not taken in a way at variance with the laws of his nature, he will do anything that he fully comprehends, without making any offer of resistance.
Second—The fact of the horse being unconscious of the amount of his strength can be proven to the satisfaction of any one. For instance, such remarks as these are common, and perhaps familiar to your recollection. One person says to another, "If that wild horse there was conscious of the amount of his strength, his owner would have no business with him in that vehicle: such light reins and harness, too—if he knew, he could snap them asunder in a minute, and be as free as the air we breathe;" and, "That horse yonder, that is pawing and fretting to follow the company that is fast leaving him—if he knew his strength, he would not remain long fastened to that hitching post so much against his will, by a strap that would no more resist his powerful weight and strength than a cotton thread would bind a strong man." Yet these facts, made common by every-day occurrence, are not thought of as anything wonderful. Like the ignorant man who looks at the different phases of the moon, you look at these things as he looks at her different changes, without troubling your mind with the question, "Why are these things so?" What would be the condition of the world if all our minds lay dormant? If men did not think, reason, and act, our undisturbed, slumbering intellects would not excel the imbecility of the brute; we should live in chaos, hardly aware of our existence. And yet, with all our activity of mind, we daily pass by unobserved that which would be wonderful if philosophized and reasoned upon; and with the same inconsistency wonder at that which a little consideration, reason, and philosophy, would make but a simple affair.
Third—He will allow any object, however frightful in appearance, to come around, over, or on him, that does not inflict pain.
We know, from a natural course of reasoning, that there has never been an effect without a cause; and we infer from this that there can be no action, either in animate or inanimate matter, without there first being some cause to produce it. And from this self-evident fact we know that there is some cause for every impulse or movement of either mind or matter, and that this law governs every action or movement of the animal kingdom. Then, according to this theory, there must be some cause before fear can exist; and if fear exists from the effect of imagination, and not from the infliction of real pain, it can be removed by complying with those laws of nature by which the horse examines an object, and determines upon its innocence or harm.
A log or stump by the road-side may be, in the imagination of the horse, some great beast about to pounce upon him; but after you take him up to it, and let him stand by it a little while, and touch it with his nose, and go through his process of examination, he will not care anything more about it. And the same principle and process will have the same effect with any other object, however frightful in appearance, in which there is no harm. Take a boy that has been frightened by a false face, or any other object that he could not comprehend at once; but let him take that face or object in his hands and examine it, and he will not care anything more about it. This is a demonstration of the same principle.
With this introduction to the principles of my theory, I shall next attempt to teach you how to put it into practice; and whatever instructions may follow, you can rely on as having been proven practically by my own experiments. And knowing, from experience, just what obstacles I have met with in handling bad horses, I shall try to anticipate them for you, and assist you in surmounting them, by commencing with the first steps to be taken with the colt, and accompanying you through the whole task of breaking.
These three principles have been enlarged upon and explained in a fuller and more familiar manner by Mr. Rarey in his Lectures, of which the following are the heads.
"Principles on which horses should be treated and educated—not by fear or force—By an intelligent application of skill with firmness and patience—How to approach a colt—How to halter—How teach to lead in twenty minutes—How to subdue and cause to lie down in fifteen minutes—How to tame and cure fear and nervousness—How to saddle and bridle—How to accustom to be mounted and ridden—How to accustom to a drum—to an umbrella—to a lady's habit, or any other object, in a few minutes—How to harness a horse for the first time—How to drive a horse unbroken to harness, and make go steady, single or double, in a couple of hours—How to make any horse stand still until called—How to make a horse follow his owner."
* * * * *
In plain language, Mr. Rarey means, that—
1st. That any horse may be taught to do anything that a horse can do if taught in a proper manner.
2nd. That a horse is not conscious of his own strength until he has resisted and conquered a man, and that by taking advantage of man's reasoning powers a horse can be handled in such a manner that he shall not find out his strength.
3rd. That by enabling a horse to examine every object with which we desire to make him familiar, with the organs naturally used for that purpose, viz. seeing, smelling, and feeling, you may take any object around, over, and on him that does not actually hurt him.
Thus, for example, the objects which affright horses are the feel of saddles, riding-habits, harness, and wheeled carriages; the sight of umbrellas and flags; loaded waggons, troops, or a crowd; the sound of wheels, of drums, of musketry. There are thousands of horses that by degrees learn to bear all these things; others, under our old imperfect system, never improve, and continue nervous or vicious to the end of their lives. Every year good sound horses are drafted from the cavalry, or from hunters' barbs and carriage-horses, into omnibuses and Hansom cabs, because they cannot be made to bear the sound of drums and firearms, or will not submit to be shod, and be safe and steady in crowded cities, or at covert side. Nothing is more common than to hear that such a horse would be invaluable if he would go in harness, or carry a lady, or that a racehorse of great swiftness is almost valueless because his temper is so bad, or his nervousness in a crowd so great that he cannot be depended on to start or to run his best.
All these varieties of nervous and vicious animals are deteriorated in value, because they have not been educated to confide in and implicitly obey man.
The whole object of the Rarey system is, to give the horse full confidence in his rider, to make him obedient to his voice and gestures, and to impress the animal with the belief that he could not successfully resist him.
Lord Pembroke, in his treatise on Horsemanship, says, "His hand is the best whose indications are so clear that his horse cannot mistake them, and whose gentleness and fearlessness alike induce obedience to them." "The noblest animal," says Colonel Greenwood, "will obey such a rider; and it is ever the noblest, most intelligent horses, that rebel the most. In riding a colt or a restive horse we should never forget that he has the right to resist, and that as far as he can judge we have not the right to insist. The great thing in horsemanship is to get the horse to be your party, not to obey only, but to obey willingly. For this reason the lessons cannot be begun too early, or be too progressive."
The key-note to the Rarey system is to be found in the opening sentence of his early lectures in England: "Man has reason in addition to his senses. A horse judges everything by SEEING, SMELLING, and FEELING." It must be the business of every one who undertakes to train colts that they shall see, smell, and feel everything that they are to wear or to bear.
How to drive a colt from pasture.—How to drive into a stable.—The kind of halter.—Experiment with a robe or cloak.—Horse-taming drugs.—The Editor's remarks.—Importance of patience.—Best kind of head-stall.—Danger of approaching some colts.—Hints from a Colonel of the Life Guards.
HOW TO DRIVE A COLT FROM PASTURE.
Go to the pasture and walk around the whole herd quietly, and at such a distance as not to cause them to scare and run. Then approach them very slowly, and if they stick up their heads and seem to be frightened, stand still until they become quiet, so as not to make them run before you are close enough to drive them in the direction you want them to go. And when you begin to drive, do not flourish your arms or halloo, but gently follow them off, leaving the direction open that you wish them to take. Thus taking advantage of their ignorance, you will be able to get them into the pound as easily as the hunter drives the quails into his net. For, if they have always run in the pasture uncared for (as many horses do in prairie countries and on large plantations), there is no reason why they should not be as wild as the sportsman's birds, and require the same gentle treatment, if you want to get them without trouble; for the horse, in his natural state, is as wild as a stag, or any of the undomesticated animals, though more easily tamed.
HOW TO STABLE A COLT WITHOUT TROUBLE.
The next step will be, to get the horse into a stable or shed. This should be done as quietly as possible, so as not to excite any suspicion in the horse of any danger befalling him. The best way to do this, is to lead a broken horse into the stable first and hitch (tie) him, then quietly walk around the colt and let him go in of his own accord. It is almost impossible to get men who have never practised on this principle to go slowly and considerately enough about it. They do not know that in handling a wild horse, above all other things, is that good old adage true, that "haste makes waste;" that is, waste of time—for the gain of trouble and perplexity.
One wrong move may frighten your horse, and make him think it necessary to escape at all hazards for the safety of his life—and thus make two hours' work of a ten minutes' job; and this would be all your own fault, and entirely unnecessary—for he will not run unless you run after him, and that would not be good policy unless you knew that you could outrun him, for you will have to let him stop of his own accord after all. But he will not try to break away unless you attempt to force him into measures. If he does not see the way at once, and is a little fretful about going in, do not undertake to drive him, but give him a little less room outside, by gently closing in around him. Do not raise your arms, but let them hang at your side, for you might as well raise a club: the horse has never studied anatomy, and does not know but that they will unhinge themselves and fly at him. If he attempts to turn back, walk before him, but do not run; and if he gets past you, encircle him again in the same quiet manner, and he will soon find that you are not going to hurt him; and then you can walk so close around him that he will go into the stable for more room, and to get farther from you. As soon as he is in, remove the quiet horse and shut the door. This will be his first notion of confinement—not knowing how he got into such a place, nor how to get out of it. That he may take it as quietly at possible, see that the shed is entirely free from dogs, chickens, or anything that would annoy him. Then give him a few ears of corn, and let him remain alone fifteen or twenty minutes, until he has examined his apartment, and has become reconciled to his confinement.
TIME TO REFLECT.
And now, while your horse is eating those few ears of corn, is the proper time to see that your halter is ready and all right, and to reflect on the best mode of operations; for in horse-breaking it is highly important that you should be governed by some system. And you should know, before you attempt to do anything, just what you are going to do, and how you are going to do it. And, if you are experienced in the art of taming wild horses, you ought to be able to tell, within a few minutes, the length of time it would take you to halter the colt, and teach him to lead.
THE KIND OF HALTER.
Always use a leather halter, and be sure to have it made so that it will not draw tight around his nose if he pulls on it. It should be of the right size to fit his head easily and nicely; so that the nose-band will not be too tight or too low. Never put a rope halter on an unbroken colt, under any circumstances whatever. Rope halters have caused more horses to hurt or kill themselves than would pay for twice the cost of all the leather halters that have ever been needed for the purpose of haltering colts. It is almost impossible to break a colt that is very wild with a rope halter, without having him pull, rear, and throw himself, and thus endanger his life; and I will tell you why. It is just as natural for a horse to try to get his head out of anything that hurts it, or feels unpleasant, at it would be for you to try to get your hand out of a fire. The cords of the rope are hard and cutting; this makes him raise his head and draw on it, and as soon as he pulls, the slip noose (the way rope-halters are always made) tightens, and pinches his nose, and then he will struggle for life, until, perchance, he throws himself; and who would have his horse throw himself, and run the risk of breaking his neck, rather than pay the price of a leather halter? But this is not the worst. A horse that has once pulled on his halter can never be as well broken as one that has never pulled at all.
But before we attempt to do anything more with the colt, I will give you some of the characteristics of his nature, that you may better understand his motions. Every one that has ever paid any attention to the horse, has noticed his natural inclination to smell everything which to him looks new and frightful. This is their strange mode of examining everything. And when they are frightened at anything, though they look at it sharply, they seem to have no confidence in their eyesight alone, but must touch it with their nose before they are entirely satisfied; and, as soon as they have done that, all seems right.
EXPERIMENT WITH THE ROBE.
If you want to satisfy yourself of this characteristic of the horse, and to learn something of importance concerning the peculiarities of his nature, &c., turn him into the barn-yard, or a large stable will do, and then gather up something that you know will frighten him—a red blanket, buffalo robe, or something of that kind. Hold it up so that he can see it, he will stick up his head and snort. Then throw it down somewhere in the centre of the lot or barn, and walk off to one side. Watch his motions, and study his nature. If he is frightened at the object, he will not rest until he has touched it with his nose. You will see him begin to walk around the robe and snort, all the time getting a little closer, as if drawn up by some magic spell, until he finally gets within reach of it. He will then very cautiously stretch out his neck as far as he can reach, merely touching it with his nose, as though he thought it was ready to fly at him. But after he has repeated these touches a few times, for the first time (though he has been looking at it all the while) he seems to have an idea what it is. But now he has found, by the sense of feeling, that it is nothing that will do him any harm, and he is ready to play with it. And if you watch him closely, you will see him take hold of it with his teeth, and raise it up and pull at it. And in a few minutes you can see that he has not that same wild look about his eye, but stands like a horse biting at some familiar stump.
Yet the horse is never so well satisfied when he is about anything that has frightened him, as when he is standing with his nose to it. And, in nine cases out of ten, you will see some of that same wild look about him again, as he turns to walk from it. And you will, probably, see him looking back very suspiciously as he walks away, as though he thought it might come after him yet. And in all probability, he will have to go back and make another examination before he is satisfied. But he will familiarize himself with it, and, if he should run in that field a few days, the robe that frightened him so much at first will be no more to him than a familiar stump.
We might very naturally suppose from the fact of the horse's applying his nose to everything new to him, that he always does so for the purpose of smelling these objects. But I believe that it is as much or more for the purpose of feeling, and that he makes use of his nose, or muzzle (as it is sometimes called), as we would of our hands; because it is the only organ by which he can touch or feel anything with much susceptibility.
I believe that he invariably makes use of the four senses, SEEING, HEARING, SMELLING, and FEELING, in all of his examinations, of which the sense of feeling is, perhaps, the most important. And I think that in the experiment with the robe, his gradual approach and final touch with his nose was as much for the purpose of feeling as anything else, his sense of smell being so keen that it would not be necessary for him to touch his nose against anything in order to get the proper scent; for it is said that a horse can smell a man at a distance of a mile. And if the scent of the robe was all that was necessary he could get that several rods off. But we know from experience, that if a horse sees and smells a robe a short distance from him he is very much frightened (unless he is used to it) until he touches or feels it with his nose; which is a positive proof that feeling is the controlling sense in this case.
HORSE-TAMING DRUGS (?).
It is a prevailing opinion among horsemen generally that the sense of smell is the governing sense of the horse. And Baucher, as well as others, has with that view got up receipts of strong smelling oils, &c., to tame the horse, sometimes using the chestnut of his leg, which they dry, grind into powder, and blow into his nostrils, sometimes using the oils of rhodium, origanum, &c., that are noted for their strong smell; and sometimes they scent the hand with the sweat from under the arm, or blow their breath into his nostrils, &c., &c. All of which, as far as the scent goes, have no effect whatever in gentling the horse, or conveying any idea to his mind; though the acts that accompany these efforts—handling him, touching him about the nose and head, and patting him, as they direct you should, after administering the articles, may have a very great effect, which they mistake for the effect of the ingredients used. And Baucher, in his work, entitled "The Arabian Art of Taming Horses," page 17, tells us how to accustom a horse to a robe, by administering certain articles to his nose; and goes on to say that these articles must first be applied to the horse's nose, before you attempt to break him, in order to operate successfully.
Now, reader, can you, or any one else, give one single reason how scent can convey any idea to the horse's mind of what we want him to do? If not, then of course strong scents of any kind can be of no use in taming the unbroken horse. For, everything that we get him to do of his own accord, without force, must be accomplished by conveying our ideas to his mind. I say to my horse, "Go-'long!" and he goes; "Ho!" and he stops, because these two words, of which he has learned the meaning by the tap of the whip and the pull of the rein that first accompanied them, convey the two ideas to his mind of go and stop.
It is impossible to teach the horse a single thing by the means of scent alone; and as for affection, that can be better created by other means.
How long do you suppose a horse would have to stand and smell a bottle of oil, before he would learn to bend his knee and make a bow at your bidding, "Go yonder and bring my hat," or "Come here and lie down?" The absurdity of trying to break or tame the horse by the means of receipts for articles to smell at, or of medicine to swallow, is self-evident.
The only science that has ever existed in the world, relative to the breaking of horses, that has been of any value, is that method which, taking them in their native state, improves their intelligence.
The directions for driving colts from the pasture are of less importance in this country where fields are enclosed, and the most valuable colts wear headstalls, and are handled, or ought to be, from their earliest infancy; but in Wales, and on wastes like Exmoor[47-*] or Dartmoor, the advice may be found useful.
Under all circumstances it is important that the whole training of a colt (and training of the boy who is to manage horses) should be conducted from first to last on consistent principles; for, in the mere process of driving a colt from the field to the fold-yard, ideas of terror may be instilled into the timid animal, for instance, by idle drumming on a hat, which it will take weeks or months to eradicate.
The next step is to get the colt into a stable, barn, or other building sufficiently large for the early operations, and secluded from those sights and sounds so common in a farm-yard, which would be likely to distract his attention. In training a colt the squeaking of a litter of pigs has lost me the work of three hours. An outfield, empty barn, or bullock-shed, is better than any place near the homestead.
It is a good plan to keep an intelligent old horse expressly for the purpose of helping to train and lead the young colts. I have known horses that seemed to take a positive pleasure in helping to subdue a wild colt when first put in double harness.
The great point is not to force or frighten a colt into the stable, but to edge him into it quietly, and cause him to glide in of his own accord. In this simple operation, the horse-trainer will test himself the indispensable quality of a horse trainer—patience. A word I shall have to repeat until my readers are almost heartily sick of the "damnable iteration." There is a world of equestrian wisdom in two sentences of the chapter just quoted, "he will not run unless you run after him," and "the horse has not studied anatomy."
The observations about rope halters are very sound, and in addition I may add, that the mouths of hundreds of horses are spoiled by the practice of passing a looped rope round the lower jaw of a fiery horse, which the rider often makes the stay for keeping himself in his seat.
The best kind of head-stall for training colts is that delineated at the head of this chapter,[48-*] called the Bush Bridle, to which any kind of bit may be attached, and by unbuckling the bit it is converted into a capital halter, with a rope for leading a colt or picketing a horse at night.
The long rope is exactly what Mr. Rarey recommends for teaching a colt to lead. Every one of any experience will agree that "a horse that has once pulled on his halter can never be so well broken as one that has never pulled at all."
The directions for stroking and patting the body and limbs of a colt are curious, as proving that an operation which we have been in the habit of performing as a matter of course without attaching any particular virtue to it, has really a sort of mesmeric effect in soothing and conciliating a nervous animal. The directions in Chapter V. for approaching a colt deserve to be studied very minutely, remembering always the maxim printed at p. 57—Fear and anger, a good horseman should never feel.
It took Mr. Rarey himself two hours to halter a savage half-broken colt in Liverpool, but then he had the disadvantage of being surrounded by an impatient whispering circle of spectators. At Lord Poltimore's seat in Devonshire, in February last (1858), Lord Rivers was two hours alone with a very sulky biting colt, but finally succeeded in haltering and saddling him. Yet his lordship had only seen one lesson illustrated on a very difficult horse at the Duke of Wellington's school. But this operation is much more easily described than executed, because some colts will smell at your hand one moment, and turn round as quick as lightning, and plant their heels in your ribs if you are not very active, and don't stand very close to them. On the directions for using the whip, p. 55, with colts of a stubborn disposition, I can say nothing, never having seen it so employed; but it is evident, that it must be employed with very great discretion.
The directions for haltering are very complete, but to execute them with a colt or horse that paws violently, even in play, with his fore-feet, requires no common agility. But I may mention that I saw Mr. Rarey alone put a bridle on a horse seventeen bands high that was notoriously difficult to bridle even with two men assisting in the operation.
In reference to the hints for treating a colt in a little work from which I have already quoted, a colonel in the Life Guards says, "The great thing in horsemanship is to get your horse to be of your party; not only to obey, but to obey willingly. For this reason, a young horse cannot be begun with too early, and his lessons cannot be too gradually progressive. He should wear a head-stall from the beginning, be accustomed to be held and made fast by the head, to give up all four feet, to bear the girthing of a roller, to be led, &c." But if all this useful preliminary education, in which climbing through gaps after an old hunter, and taking little jumps, be omitted, then the Rarey system comes in to shorten your domesticating labours.
"A wild horse, until tamed, is just as wild and fearful as a wild stag taken for the first time in the toils.
"When a horse hangs back and leads unwillingly, the common error is to get in front of him and pull him. This may answer when the man is stronger than the horse, but not otherwise.
"In leading you should never be further forward than your horse's shoulder: with your right-hand hold his head in front of you by the bridle close to his mouth or the head-stall, and with your left hand touch him with a whip as far back as you can; if you have not a whip you can use a stirrup-leather."