Friday 19 April 2013

Men of Yore: John Rarey

This is the second in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form.  Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards.  We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

It is also partly intended to show images, be they paintings, statues or photographs of the countenaces of men of yore.  Because, quite frankly, many men wear the countenances of women these days: smiling, smirking, cooing, rolling their eyes, looking smug etc.  It's a sign of the times, and by showing some images of men from the past, I hope to show some modern men why looking surly, frowning and giving hard-ball stares at people is something to do, something to practice.

John Rarey, 1860 (aged 33)

John Solomon Rarey (1827–1866) was one of the nineteenth century horse whisperers, an important figure in the rehabilitation of abused and vicious horses during the 1850s. Originally from Groveport, Ohio, Rarey trained his first horse at the age of twelve. (His method of rehabilitating horses is discussed in the article entitled Rarey technique.)
An excerpt from The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans:
Word of his gift spread and in 1858 he was summoned to Windsor Castle in England to calm a horse of Queen Victoria. The Queen and her entourage watched astonished as Rarey put his hands on the animal and laid it down on the ground before them. Then he lay down beside it and rested his head on its hooves. The queen chuckled with delight and gave Rarey a hundred dollars. He was a modest, quiet man, but now he was famous and the press wanted more. The call went out to find the most ferocious horse in all England.
The horse they found was Cruiser, a horse kept for breeding but said to be the fiercest horse ever seen.
Nicholas Evans writes:
Against all advice, Rarey let himself into the stable where no one else dared venture and shut the door. He emerged three hours later leading Cruiser, without his muzzle and gentle as a lamb. The owners were so impressed they gave him the horse. Rarey brought him back to Ohio, where Cruiser died on July 6, 1875, outliving his new master by a full nine years. Rarey left instructions for the care of Cruiser in his will. Upon Rarey's death, Cruiser's temper returned.


Traditionally horses were 'broken in', like you see on 'bucking broncos' rodeo shows and such like.  I have also seen the method practised on a documentary on Mongolian nomadic pastoralists.  Breaking an animals Will is not only indecent to the animal, but it is also an inefficient way of getting the most out of the animal (getting it to work harder).  As Adam Smith said back in the 1700's, free men and free workers work harder and therefore are more profitable than slaves.  

This principle applies to all living things (protozoa, plants, animals etc) and not just humans.  For example, in modern hi-tech dairies, it has been found that cows are more productive (produce more high quality milk) when they are treated decently and milked as a herd and not individually, because cows being herd creatures suffer stress when they are separated from other cows.

Check out some of the other entries from the 'Men of Yore' series:
Stephen the III of Moldavia
George Petrovich (Black George)
Vlad II, Prince of Wallachia
King Alfred, the Great
John MacDouall Stuart
Robert Owen
Richard Trevithick
Wyatt Earp
William 'Wild Bill' Cody
Andrew Carnegie
Duke of Viseu (Henry the Navigator)
Meriwether Lewis
Arthur Schopenhauer
Theodore Roosevelt
Rudolph Diesel
John Snow
Ludwig van Beethoven
Henry Ford
George Custer


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