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I was just thinking about all the "gimicks" we can use while training our horses and wondered how did the cowboys and indians train their horses?
Horses for wars and pulling wagons ect. I don't know why I thought of this but I wondered if any one knew this answer?
 

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I'm sure there will be some people with better (more detailed) answer, but from what I've read indians were in fact quite harsh in their breaking/riding. Horse was meant to work, not something to fuss around working it in round pen, shaking plastic bags and alike.
 
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A lot of indians started their mounts in water. They had their initial fit where they couldn't get dumped and by the time they got them out of the water they were so tired they didn't have any fight left in them.
 

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I'm sure there will be some people with better (more detailed) answer, but from what I've read indians were in fact quite harsh in their breaking/riding. Horse was meant to work, not something to fuss around working it in round pen, shaking plastic bags and alike.
I have heard this too, which is why it always makes me chuckle when I see a comment referring to the natives and their gentle, spiritual, natural horsemanship techniques.

I too would like to know more about the way they trained.
 

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So far all I can find is how horses were part of the indians herd and that they used natural methods for training but can't really find any thing that says how they did it.
 

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I heard it was basically a rodeo, stay on until the horse has no more fight in em. Not really what Hollywood always painted it xD
 

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People have an unrealistic "mystical" idea of the kind indian horse trainer. However, artists like Russel, George Catlin (traveled with Lewis and Clark), and others who lived with the indians and painted their life as they saw it would tell you differently. The training methods were cruel and extreme.

 

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My step uncle lives on a res. and it was not pretty the old ways. The bond that is painted in moves is not true. How many of us would kill our horse cause he is lame or we are hungry.
 

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I would put down my horse if it was injured to the point it couldn't live a full life. I would also kill my horse to feed myself...or family and I don't even eat meat. I consider myself to have an incredibly strong bond with each of my horses. But the instinct to protect my children and keep them fed is even stronger. I am glad I don't live in times where has to come to that.

They didn't have vets back then to humanely end suffering. So I don't believe they didn't have a bond at some point with their horses. When desert tribes put down a camel to feed them they say a prayer and the animals sacrifice is recognized and shown gratitude.
 

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I'm sure it varied from tribe to tribe and from region to region. But firsthand account I have read went along these lines:

Catch a horse by whatever means possible. If it's a leg and the leg breaks, there's dinner. Whatever. Tie the other end of the rope to a tree, and wait. Let the horse fight and wear itself out. After a few days tied up with no food and water, it should be suitably ready for breaking. One guy jumps up on the horse, a club in each hand, beats it to make it move off, and steers by means of clobbering either side of the head with said sticks. Sometimes they'd take a mare and foal for long rides. When they got hungry, they'd butcher the foal and carry its carcass along for substenance.

The cowboys would just tie it down, saddle it up, and buck it out. You can still see this with the Argentinian gauchos:



Video: Gauchos in Argentina - Video
 

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My step uncle lives on a res. and it was not pretty the old ways. The bond that is painted in moves is not true. How many of us would kill our horse cause he is lame or we are hungry.
I would. Fortunately I can drive to the store and get some food and stop off at the vet for something to make the horse sound again.
 

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I lived for many years around Ute and Navajo Indians in western Colorado. There are a lot of Comanches near us here. The ones I was around tied a horse to a big post with a 20 foot rope and did not offer feed or water until the horse would eat and drink from their hand. [These horses were all caught wild. Most had never been fed - ever.] They literally would starve a horse into submission. I have seen them when they were starved into looking like a rack of bones and then one day you would see the kids riding the horse and herding sheep with it. I have driven past them and seen them wear a saddle for a week or two without it ever being taken off. Some had white scars under their bellies from the girths. I do not think I have seen more brutal 'training' anywhere in my lifetime.

We used to see quite a few horses going through sales with the Bar N brand - the brand of the Navajo tribe. They were always very thin and wormy and looked terrible. I had some of them brought to me by people that had bought them cheap. They were horrible to train. They did not know anything and they were total outlaws if you let them get fat before you trained them. I learned real fast that you started training them while they were poor because they tried to kill you and it took 3 or 4 times longer when they were fattened up first. We used to laugh when one came in. We had a saying for them: "Here comes another one that can not stand prosperity." They would finally train OK and trust a rider, but it took a long time and you could train two nice horses while you fooled with one dink that came from the reservation.
 

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My Dad used to tell me about how his father and family raised horses for the Cavalry. Apparently you got a little more for a “broke” horse than an unbroken one, but the definition of broke was pretty broad. They would bring in a remuda and pull out a horse. Similar to some of the Native training discussed above, they would snub it to a post in the corral and leave it with no food or water. Only way to get a drink was be led to water. Soon you had a “halter broke” horse. Then you would work the horse with rope and whip. You’d pick a name for the horse, and lasso it. Use the bull whip to make it stop when it felt the rope, and call its name. If it sucked back, or pulled, use the bull whip to make it come forward (pressure LOTS, release). Train until horse running in remuda would stop at name and walk over. Sell horse as well broke because you could call its name and it would walk over. If I remember right they got between $1 and $3 a horse, and part of the fun was watching the recruits get on and “buck out” the horse.

In his defense, my Dad was never rough on a horse when I was growing up, but I would get a real talking to if I was being too rough. He could snap a cigarette out of your mouth with a bull whip too.
 

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Chillaa. That is funny. I guess I should have said it like this from what I have seen and heard horses were no different than most of us look at cows pigs chickens or any other livestock.
I am sure my family of past would role in their graves to know what I spend on my horses every year. Ha Ha Ha.
 

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I'm sure it varied from tribe to tribe and from region to region. But firsthand account I have read went along these lines:

Catch a horse by whatever means possible. If it's a leg and the leg breaks, there's dinner. Whatever. Tie the other end of the rope to a tree, and wait. Let the horse fight and wear itself out. After a few days tied up with no food and water, it should be suitably ready for breaking. One guy jumps up on the horse, a club in each hand, beats it to make it move off, and steers by means of clobbering either side of the head with said sticks. Sometimes they'd take a mare and foal for long rides. When they got hungry, they'd butcher the foal and carry its carcass along for substenance.

The cowboys would just tie it down, saddle it up, and buck it out. You can still see this with the Argentinian gauchos:



Video: Gauchos in Argentina - Video
Thought I'd bump this back up because I found some much better videos of gauchos "breaking" horses. I can't imagine that this is very effective, and I can't imagine that these guys are still fertile after taking this pounding:



It was fatal for this guy, which you'd think would be a clue that this isn't such a great idea:


Not really sure what's going on here, but I think it might be one of those robots they use as ************* in the Middle East, that automatically whip their mounts:

 

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We went to DC for Veterans day and one of the museums we went to was the Native American History Museum. They have an entire section on horses. I was amazed when we went through the exhibits. They not only used bridles (which were absolutely beautiful with the glass beads) but they used bits that were just scary! I mean, they were harsher then any bit I've ever seen and they even had chains. These bridles and bits were hundreds of years old....
 
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