Old Secret of Taming Horses

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Undated clipping in files of the Alamo Library, Daughters of the Texas Revolution:

A correspondent of the New York Express submits the following method of horse taming:

For the oil of cumin the horse has an instinctive passion, and when the horse scents the odor he is instinctively drawn towards it. The oil of rhodium possesses peculiar properties. All animals seem to cherish a fondness for it, and it exercises a kind of subduing influence over them.

To tame , procure some horse castor and grate it fine, also get some oil of rhodium and oil of cumin and keep the three separate in air-tight bottles. Rub a little oil of cumin on your hands and approach the horse in the field on the windward side so that he can smell the cumin. The horse will let you come up to him without trouble.

Immediately rub your hand gently on the horse’s nose, getting a little of the oil on it. You can lead him anywhere.

Give him a little castor on a piece of loaf sugar or apple. Put eight drops of rhodium into a lady’s silver thimble: take the thimble between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand, with your forefinger stopping the mouth of the thimble to prevent the oil from running out while you are opening the horse’s mouth. As soon as you have opened it, tip the thimble on his tongue and he is your servant.

—The Pioneer News Observer


This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 1971 issue of Pioneer Magazine
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