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This is kind of a m1911 question since the m1911 was originally adopted for use by horse cavalry. Every time I ever fired a gun-even a .22-on or near a horse, it went berzerk and tried to go 14 directions at once. How did they get horses used to that? I read somewhere that war horses likely had their eardrums blown out by repeated exposure. Any body happen to know?
 

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Well, I don't exactly know but I would imagine it would be the same as raising and training bird dog's. Starting young and starting with light noises and working up to gun fire. If they are older horses I would assume that they would learn from the others that were brought up with it. Didn't bother them so they eventually went along with it too. Or as you said their ear drums could have been busted out from it.

Good question.

CG.
 

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Many field trial horses and police horses still must be acclimated to gunfire . I have a big Tennessee Walker who took it all in stride . When I say that , I neglect to mention that I try to choose a calm horse in the first place . Then at first , I lay back 50 yards or so from the action (action being a .22 blank) . Gradually I get closer , and after the horse learns to ground tie he can be left 10 yards or so from the handler and dogs , reins on the ground , and a shotgun can be fired several times and he'll stand . This is all refined by working dogs and shooting around the horse , often a summer out west . Custom-guy had it exactly right !

Hope this is informative...Tom
 

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Gerald Kuntze said:
This is kind of a m1911 question since the m1911 was originally adopted for use by horse cavalry. Every time I ever fired a gun-even a .22-on or near a horse, it went berzerk and tried to go 14 directions at once. How did they get horses used to that? I read somewhere that war horses likely had their eardrums blown out by repeated exposure. Any body happen to know?
They used the same tried and true methods as used by Napleon and others.

Feeding time means gunfire time. Fire blanks and feed the horses. After a while they run to the gun fire figuring it is chow time. That is why cav horses did not run from infantry fire.

We pull a cannon and discharge up to one pound of BP from a three inch bore. The horses stand unconcerned a few feet away.

We were in a parade one year, next to a train track hidden by brush and trees. Suddenly, a train came roaring past blowing the whistle and horn. The rodeo stock went nuts tossing girls and riders about. Our team sat quietly looking for some grass to eat.

It takes about a week of feeding.
 

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Elmer Keith

was a cowhand in Idaho in the early years of the 20th C. In Sixguns by Keith, the Dean of Sixguns said they used to lay their horses down and sit on their necks while shooting to acclimate them. He did also say that you should never fire too near the horse's head/ears because it could damage their hearing.
Not saying I would do that with a horse myself, but this is what Elmer said he did . . .

V
 

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My brief, unpleasant experiences with horses would lead me to believe that the cowboys carried guns to shoot the horses, not the Indians! :p
 

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darn, another myth exploded....i just thought they used deaf horses to save all the hassle of training the darn things.:scratch:

i actually have a serious fondness for the big critters....except for the one that pitched me off the side of a friggin mountain in Colorado just because a bee bit his butt.:mummy: now that was a day to remember....or not.:grumble:

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

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We have a Percheron that is now in training to joust... Maybe next we can get him to deal with guns......
 

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Another question that comes about is how many horses did the average cav. rider shoot out from under himself during his enlistment?
 

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Nasty Horses

Had two horses who didn't like me popping off my six-shooter (.22 LR) or
just didn't wanna work - stopped short -tried to bite me - drag me under a low tree limb - into bobwire and many other nasty tricks. I view the horse as a loyal pard with GREAT suspicion; your experiences may vary.


Jack
 

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sawyer:

i remember reading about a confederate officer who had something like 14 horses shot out from under him during various engagements of the civil war which is a record a believe. incredible luck for him and very bad luck for most of the horses he picked.:mummy:

i guess i wonder who was really doing all that horse shooting?:scratch:

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

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Horses pay a good deal of attention to how other horses behave under various circumstances. Being herd animals, they tend to panic if the other horses around them are alarmed (kind of like liberals). Thus, the mounted cowboy action shooters frequently habituate a new mount by bracketing the new horse with 2 horses that are already habituated to gunfire. The outboard riders fire (blanks) and the new horse quickly learns that this noise is nothing to get upset about (OR the new horse's rider quickly learns that some horses are independent thinkers).

Rosco
 

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Being a former mounted police officer I have a little experience with it. First we would always try to get calm horses to start with. Even with that it was no guarantee. I had the only horse that we could shoot close too. No problem as long as he was grazing. Never had a problem with this horse with any noise except at President Clinton's 2nd inagural. I couldn't get him to calm down at all.
The horses I have seen handle gun fire the best, had to be Civil war reenactors.Their horses seemed very calm I think they were deaf.
The training school I went to for 12 weeks did not teach or practice firing from the horses' back. They stated that the horses started to relate the sound of the gun coming out of the holster with gun fire and start to bolt.
A horse has a brain that is about the size of a walnut. Not smart animals at all.
 

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Civil War Re-enactors use the method I outlined above.

Our horses can hear oats dropping into a nose bag at 200 yds. They are not deaf.
 

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I know they are not deaf. Just to see them have no reaction to the gunfire after you have been around others makes you think they are.
 
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