The Modern Art of Taming Wild Horses/Chapter 15


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 in at once in this way, turn him about and walk him around 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 do not 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 centre 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 centre checking him every time he turns to the right or left. In a stall of this kind you can break any horse to stand hitched by a light strap, anywhere, without his ever knowing anything about pulling. But if you have broken your horse to lead, and have learned him the use of the halter (which you should always do before you hitch him to anything), 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 halter.