We have already given our readers two theories for subduing wild and vicious horses. One system was founded upon Faucher's published experience in horse training, and assumes that the horse's kindness and affection could be conciliated to such a degree, through the gratification of the sense of taste and smell, as to make him more susceptible to the trainer's teachings; while the other advocated the opposite system of force, and asserted that you must in a positive manner show the animal you are his superior and master. It advocated the tying the animal's fore leg in an unnatural position, exhausting his strength and patience by torture, and virtually throwing him to the earth—a slight variation of a brutal course of treatment that has been tried from time immemorial without any beneficial effect. We now have another theory on the subject; and as its trial cannot, under any circumstances, do injury to the noble animal it is intended to render submissive, we would advise those of our readers who feel an interest in horse taming to put it to the test, being careful to observe our former advice in practicing a gentle and kind course of treatment in connection with it. This new system of taming is founded on the well-known process employed in subduing buffalo calves and wild horses taken by the lasso, and consists in simply gradually advancing toward the horse to be subdued, until you are able to place your hand on the animal's nose and over his eyes, and then to breathe strongly and gently, as judgment may dictate, into the nostrils. We have the authority of Catlin, in his " Letters and Notes on the American Indians," that this process is the one practised by the Indians in taming the wild horses of the prairies, and that it is invariably attended with success. It is mentioned by him that it is breathing, not blowing, into the nostrils that is to be performed, and that it ought to be continued some time to ensure success. Speaking of the astonishing power thus exercised over wild animals, Catlin says:— " I have often, in concurrence with a known custom of the country, held my hands over the eyes of a buffalo calf, and breathed a few strong breaths into his nostrils, after which I have, with my traveling companions, rode several miles into our encampment, with the little prisoner busily following the heels of my horse the whole way, as closely and affectionately as its instinct would attach it to its dam. This is one of the most extraordinary things I have witnessed since I came into this wild country; and although I had often heard of it, and felt unable exactly to believe it, I am now willing to bear testimony to the fact, from the numerous instances which I have witnessed, since I came into the country." Mr. Catlin further states that thewild horse of the prairie is made docile and tractable by the same simple, kind, and singular treatment. While upon this subject we may observe that the last accounts from Europe represent Mr. Rarey as realizing a splendid fortune there by imparting the secret of his peculiar art. He has publicly stated that the system of force exhibited at Astley's Circus, and alleged to be substantially the same as his own, and referred to in our last issue, is directly opposite the process he practises ; and he authorizes the Messrs. Tattersalls to pay to any person other than his own pupils, who will subdue wild and vicious horses as successfully as by his method, the sum of one thousand guineas. Mr. Rarey does not mind acknowledging in public that the key to the art of horse-taming is a process of alchemy, however close he may keep the other portion of hi secret.
This article was originally published with the title "The Horse Taming Secret Again.—Another Theory" in Scientific American 13, 37, 293 (May 1858)