Horses and Coach Proves Faster Than Modern Methods!!

In the 1700’s the delivery of mail took weeks or months, if at all. A man or delivery child on a pony or with a cart and horse was expected to take and deliver the mail along roads and paths that were often no better than sheep paths. Enter a Bath theatre owner named John Palmer who decided to do something about the slow service. On the 2nd of August in 1784, the residents of Bristol cheered as the inaugural mail coach thundered down the narrow main street on its way to London. Needless to say the service was a huge success and before long set routes and timetables were put into place. Mail coaches abounded with names like Red Rover, Sporting Times, Tally Ho and their destinations like London, Guilford and Oxford were brightly painted on the doors. Continue Reading »


Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty

When Queen Victoria came to the throne in England in 1837, industrialization was taking hold and more and more young men and women left their farms to make a living working in factories and manufacturing companies. Cotton factories allowed Britain to produce more than half the world’s supply of cotton and coal mining around Newcastle was expanding to meet demand. Railways were booming and goods were moved to shipping ports which also gave ship building a boost. However while advances in manufacturing, medicine and education saw many leaving life on the farms in the country, life for the masses was certainly not easy. Life for animals was no better and a horse was viewed as a beast of burden to be worked till natural death, disease or exhaustion claimed it. Continue Reading »

Farriers and blacksmiths were often horse whisperers as they needed to manage frightened and unruly horses.

Secret Societies, Oaths and Handshakes: Latter day horse whisperers can claim credit for the formation of many secret societies that sprang up in Great Britain during the 18th century, each with its own secret handshake, oath and password.  Scottish whisperers were regarded with great awe and the expression ‘orra loon’ meaning odd or misplaced was applied to members of this group.  It makes one wonder if the adjective ‘loonie’ that is applied to an odd person comes from this? Continue Reading »

Tinkers, travelers, gypsies…call them what you will, they were the original horse whisperers. Thanks to Harlequin Farms for this great photo.


Origins and Explanations:

The term horse whisperer is nothing new despite the interest gained in these individuals over the last 20 years or so. Today’s horse whisperers with their round pens and new training methods are a far cry from the original horse whisperers. The originals, usually from gypsy or Romany stock were common in the 17 and 1800s in the British Isles and in other countries and they bring to mind visions of ancient and mystical charms and skills dating back to an a medieval guild craft. Continue Reading »