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Old 08-28-2008, 05:19 AM
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shooting on horse back

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Has any one any experiance shooting of a horse ? If so , how did you break the horse into it ? What did you use ?

I tryed a few yrs back , my horse wasnt very impressed . As soon as he saw me lifting the gun he would kinda jig around , almost imposible to aim with any acurasy . Just had a young horse brocken in , and was thinking I might try shooting of him . Any sudjestions ? Was told to try horse ear plugs and to no shoot over his head .
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:49 AM
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suggestions? don't shoot off your horse or anywhere close to its head.
i don't care to be directly behind and in hoof range either.:
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:53 AM
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Location: Houston, AL /North Slope, AK
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Don't, I have a friend who will spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair because he did!
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:25 AM
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Probably an idea better left to the Westerns. Muzzle blast got to be pretty harsh on the horse.
Bob from Idaho
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:58 AM
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Location: South Dakota
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Since I do some game scouting on horseback, I've been somewhat curious how to break a horse to the sound of gunfire. I know some people in cowboy action shooting and I asked the same question. The ones I talked to said, start out with cap guns or .22 blanks and work up in decibles as the horse becomes accustomed to the noise. As usual with anything new, start on the ground then as you progress try mounted. To start with full power loads will ruin the horse and he will probably wreck you in the process. Watch the muzzle blast since their hearing is even more sensitive than our's.
Still Learnin' as I go!

NRA Endowment Member

Last edited by MontyF; 08-28-2008 at 08:04 AM. Reason: added statement
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:38 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Houston, AL /North Slope, AK
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I have broken several horses to the sound of gun fire. I used 22's and 308 blanks. BUT some horse are never compleatly 'broke'. I have had most broke to where the sound would make them jerk, but would settle right down. I had a mare, the horse I rode on most hunting trips, who was fine with it if I was in the saddle. She would crow hop some but settle down. But if was off of her she would get real stupid!!
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:05 PM
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I'd imagine the process of breaking a gunshy horse would be about the same as breaking a gunshy dog. Do it at feeding time. Start with a .22. Start out shooting the gun at a distance, eventually working up to shooting it as you give the feed, and then as he's eating. Once he accepts the .22 move up to something louder. It can take forever, and as already mentioned, not all animals will adapt.
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Palmer, Alaska
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Snubbing post. Ain't got one? You won't do the job with out one! When I was a kid I had this old cow pony everybody called him Blue. I hated that dirty ***. Every time you shot off of him, it was a rodeo. You could not shoot next to him, he went just plain nuts. I couldn't just rein tie the *** to anything and shoot near him, if I did it was broken reins time. You could not hold the reins when you shot or you would miss because he would jerk you all over the land scape.

One day I was headed for the house from the bronc corral and spotted a coyote slinging in on the chickens. Old miserable Blue was standing close to me when I pulled my old Colt and let fly. I knew what was going to happen with Blue that miserable ***, but guess what? I had a bad primer, old Blue was half in the air before he realized no report, he came down and just looked sheepish. Thank goodness the folks had headed to town, because Blue had just got elected. I put him on the snubbing post in the bronc corral neck tied to the post and went to work on him with a couple of boxes of my hottest .357 mag loads. I started him with the rope on his neck and a loop around his nose if he decided to blow up he would do a set back and get pinched and shut off his air. Horses don't live long without air and have to move off tension to get their breathing back. Or you cut the rope if they go down and can't get back up. this like most behavior modifications with horses takes some time, and me and him had all day, I had the time and shells and he had the skin to pay into the game. Four or five hours later, I had all the chips and he was busted flush. The next day the old man was asking me what happened to Blue? We had about 40 horses at that time, but old Blue just sorta stood out from the rest with his new look you might call it. I just explained to the old man what had happened to Blue. He chuckled and smiled, shook his head and asked if I had fun? Well Blue became a pussy cat after that day.

There is a point in this story that does not need to be missed. Bad behavior from horses is do to what they can get away with. Do not allow it to happen, get on them right away, don't let it grow like we did with old Blue.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:26 PM
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like mentioned earlier. leave it to the westerns. just because it's possible doesn't mean it's smart.
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:04 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Here in Australia we use stock whips alot , which are prity loud and scarry for the horse and has the added hasard of flaping around them and sometimes the horse might ocasinally get hit with the whip , and i can say from experiance , It hurts . Doesnt take a lot to break a horse into the whip .

Horses are big dangerous animals , I'm guessing that horses would be responsible for killing more people than any other animal , probaly more than all other animals combined . That said I think that if you go about it the right way you should be able to shoot of a horse safley .

With my old horse I started off by puting him in the cattle yards near were I sight in my rifles so he kinda got a little used to it . Then started leading him about , fireing a 22 ocasinonly . Then shooting the 22 of his back . Gradually building up through 38 and finally lighter 44mag loads . He never bucked or did anything to dangerous , but wouldnt stand still . I recon he would have adventually if i kept it up . but he was a old horse , nearly ready to retire , Only really tryed as a bit of experiment . I got myself a good young horse now , but with all young horses he is a bit harder to handle . But im thinking that he may well last me 20yrs , I'm 41 so thats into my 60's . Might be worth puting the efort into him now . I have found the more things you can teach them the better they are . Shooting and horses are part of my job , would be good to combine them .

Does any one know if police horses are broken into gunfire? and if so any tips on how they do it? What about the army ? The british house hold calvery still train with horses , and not just for cerimonial dutys . They were doing mounted petrol in Bosnia . Any way thought it might be an interesting thread and was wondering if any one had any good tips such as 3sixbits snubing post . I guess its just the basics , gradually getting them used to gun fire through repition .
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:20 PM
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We had horses when I was a kid; crazy, blind in one eye, would spook when a bug flew by, kind of horses. I sure did like them. If I wasn't an old fat man I'd have a horse or a mule now.

I will opine that I think there is a great deal of difference in shooting a firearm from horseback when he is "riding into battle" so to speak, and expecting it, versus everything is quiet and peacefull and then a gun goes off in the vicinity of his ears.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:22 PM
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My Mom "claimed" to being able to shoot a rabbit from the saddle. 22 rifle. I don't dought her word. LOUD NOISE is not good for anyones ears. Human,dog, or horse!

Protect your ears!

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Old 08-28-2008, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jefferson Parish (via N.O.)
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HAve only been hunting twice from horseback. Professore had two big Tenn. Walkers that wee broken to the sound of gunfire. Great rides...but about as dumb as a horse can get. Suspected that at least one of the pair was at least partly deaf...could have been hard headedness and I wasn't going to do a hearing test.

While they might have been broken to his normal rifles, when he touched off a flinter (brown bess) from the back of his mount when i was 1/2 way off mine, I certainly had a very memorable ride/drag.

point being, i'm not real sure any horse is broken to the sound of gun fire...belive some are just pretending to be, waiting for the chance to really do some damage.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:36 PM
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Shot a buzz worm from a horse once. Was a pretty good rodeo for a minute. I managed to get my pistol (Ruger single six) back in it's holster before I had to grab leather. After that I decided to leave it to the pros.

That being said, my mule has no real noticeable fear of guns. She has to watch when I'm at the bench working on a load or sighting in. She'll stay about 15-20 feet back for a few shots then get disscusted with my shooting and wander off. I don't think I'll push my luck and shoot off of her.

Keep your powder dry and when you go afield take the kids and please..........wear your seat belts.
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:32 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
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Posts: 158
I was on a large police dept mounted unit for 10 years and we did a lot of training with firing guns off our horses. We also did a lot of training with our horses using firecrackers, burning flares, etc. Even with all that training, most of the horses did not ever get used to gunfire off their backs and while they would not buck or try to run off, most of them would start sidestepping as soon as you raised your arm. One way around this is to shoot while going over jumps as the horse is in mid air and can not juke or jive at the gun shot and by the time he lands it is already done with. I know the cowboy shooting sports does it in the horseback category and maybe someone from that crowd has some more input. For most people, I would not recommend this unless you are an experienced rider and you are absolutely sure of your mount.
John 3:16 for me
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:52 PM
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Amen to that!
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Old 08-30-2008, 05:30 PM
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Absolutely you can get real hurt real quick! Many years ago I had a mount I hunted from but learning from the old guys, hearing protection for the horse and watching the muzzle blast are absolute musts! Sheepskin mufflers put into the ears and held there with a strap rig that goes around the ears and under the head, this in itself takes some doing and cooperation from the horse but just like breaking them to blinders, most will accept the ear protection quickly - biggest care is to not put pressure on or cover their ears completely as it makes them disoriented and you don't want to be on their back if they're feeling futzy already.

Some horses are much harder to break than others and no matter what, you must always be at the ready of going from a calm standing to wide open throttle rodeo mode instantly. The hearing protection really works though, the quarter horses we had took to it and shooting without much trouble at all and the only drawback is learning to work them with hand and foot commands instead of voice. I'll second what Ozyredneck said about breaking them to the whip, cow working horses that are used to hand & foot commands and are broken to the whip and ropes are adapted to hunting & shooting much easier.

Muzzle blast direction and location also very important to pay attention to. MB hurts and I don't care if it's a horse or a human, it hurts! If you're not willing to hold the muzzle next to your head and shoot, don't think that the horse likes it any more than you do. Keep all the shots far to the side or rear.

Probably the most important thing I learned is to never discipline a horse when you're on the ground, always teach & correct while you're on its back or the horse will turn mean and they don't forget either, it may be months or years later but when they've had enough or they see an opportunity for payback, you're gonna get it. Best way to break a horse for anything including saddle is to get them out in belly-deep mud where they can't jump or kick - not only is it much safer for both the horse and rider but it also speeds the break time considerably.

Since I lamed up, there are many things I can't even think about doing anymore but the only thing I really miss is riding. Our neighbors have a young buck that's got enough spirit for three horses and it's depressing when he hops the fence and comes over to visit and knowing there's no way I can get on him. 20 years ago I'd have given 2 grand for a horse like that without hesitation. My old girl was fantastic but this one has fire in his eyes and gravel in his gut to make any man proud.
"Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything." ~ Harry S. Truman

Liberty is only assured as long government fears the people!
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:58 PM
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I used horse ear plugs that were made for troters/pacers . Aparently some trainers use ear plugs on troters in racers , near the end of the race when they want a burst of spead they pull this long cord atched to the ear plugs and aparently some horses get a burst of speed when they can sudenly hear the crowd chearing .

Like that guy said that was in the mounted police some horses never take to gunfire . My old fella wouldnt buck or anything but would kinda jig about makeing shooting with any kinda acuracy imposible .

I have heard of guys carring pistols when mustering wild "scruber"cattle for protection agaist wild bulls . Had a guy I was mustering with once knocked off his horse by a bull . No perminent damage to him or the horse , but the bull was shapeing up for another go at both of them when horse and rider were both on the ground . I was able to distract the bull alah rodeo clown stile till he got on his feet . I have had other bulls chase me and evan hit me while mustering on horse back but never any serious insedents .

Up until the WW2 many fellas in the northern teritory made a good liveing shooting Bufelo from horse back . They would ride along side the bufelo and place the rifles muzel on the spin in the midle of the back . Usally after they shot a few the bufelo would knock up and charge the horse , then they would let the bufelo come right up behind them , lean back and shoot them in the head .
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:24 AM
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Shooting from horseback

First, remember the horses ears are more sensitive than yours. Do remember the 180 degree rule. Do not shoot forward of a line (imaginary) drawn across the saddle horn and perpendicular to the horse. In other words think of the 4 directions; East, West,South and North. The horses head is always North. Southeast and Southwest are the only parts of this circle ( 360 degrees) where your rifle should be when you shoot. Also, be prepareed for a rodeo.
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