Monday, May 18, 2015

Jesse Beery, Horsetrainer

Written by Nancy J. Farrier

Thousands of people have become proficient horse trainers because of Jesse Beery and his entrepreneur outlook and gift with animals. Jesse was born in Ohio in 1861. Jesse worked hard on his father’s farm. He came from a family of eight, but his mother died when he was 7-years-old. At a very young age, Jesse showed a propensity for training horses. That gift, in addition to his ability to share his knowledge and discoveries with others, made him world famous.

Jesse began to travel around the country demonstrating his training techniques. People everywhere were amazed at his mastery with horses. He displayed his abilities at fairs, expositions and private gatherings. For 16 years he traveled and taught his method.

In 1905 Jesse returned to his home town. He had the idea to begin a school for horse training. He’d developed different equipment, including new types of bits, to use with his method. His ideas were
practical and easy to implement.

Breaking kicking habit
With the idea of sharing his technique with the most people possible, Jesse
wrote a curriculum that would be mail order and thorough. His mail order course included eight manuals beginning with the basics of breaking a colt and going on to breaking bad habits, such as kicking or being difficult to shoe. The final book showed how to teach your horse tricks such as having the horse fire a gun or carry a handkerchief, to sit down stand erect, or imitate bad habits.

One of the tricks used to keep a horse from kicking involved buying
Breaking fear of noise using paper
several tin pans, drilling holes in the bottoms to run rope through them, and attaching them together in a long line. The lines of pans were then tied to the crupper, a piece of equipment used to keep saddles in place. The pans would hang down beside the horse’s tail. Helpers would make noise or stand behind the horse. When he kicked the noise of the pans would startle him and the horse would learn not to kick.

Leading horse through paper
Some bad habits were broken with the use of different bits or pulleys that kept the horse from misbehaving. To break a horse of the bad habit of shying, Jesse sometimes used lines and pulleys on the legs to hold the horse in place. With a man behind holding the reins, two men in front would crackle paper and throw it in the horse’s direction. When the horse attempted to shy, he would be hindered by the pulleys. Then one assistant would take papers and rub them over the horse while the other assistant threw more papers in the air. After a few times the horse would be driven over the pile of papers and would not shy at them, or at the noise.

Professor Beery’s course of study began with the admonition, “ This course is to be studied, not
Teaching a horse to carry a basket
read.” The student was expected to read the methods and then go back and study them until they knew how to work with the horse. Beery expected the students to learn the disposition of the animal and adapt the training method so that each individual horse would benefit.

Jesse Beery died in 1945, but his methods still garner respect. He reached thousands of people, teaching them to help animals and train horses that would have been difficult otherwise. He was a pioneer in his field, an inventor, and mastered the field of horse training.

Have you ever heard of Jesse Beery, or the Professor Beery Mail Course of Horse Training? When I was a preteen, I came across an ad for the course. I sent off for information and wanted my parents to let me spend the money to take this course. I didn’t get to purchase the materials, which were costly. I've often thought of the training method and wondered how Jesse Beery trained horses.

Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and one grandson. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:


  1. Fascinating history! I am not familiar with Jesse Beery at all, but I'm very glad to learn about this for the sake of my stories that take place in the 1930s. Very fascinating. Thanks for writing it up!

    It's amazing how there are so many trends in the horse world. As a horsewoman and someone who's trained a couple of horses, I've heard a lot of training tips from the more traditional cowboys who believe in riding the horse out until it stops bucking. But I've been around a lot of the new natural horsemanship trainers as well. I find it fascinating how things go in trends. Natural horsemanship is the definite trend right now, with Clinton Anderson, Chris Cox and Pat Parelli leading the crowd. I do find Clinton Anderson and Chris Cox pretty easy to understand and their stuff makes sense, (I've used it and it worked) but I think people get so caught up in the "new" way to train horses that they forget that someone has probably tried this before, or someone else had a method that worked that we've simply forgotten.

    Thanks for writing this up! Great to know and I'm very excited to incorporate this into my own stories with horses. :)

    1. Emily, thank you for your comments. You can find the Professor Beery course online to purchase for a reasonable amount. I wish I could have shared more because his books are fascinating to read. How fun that you will use this in your stories. Thanks again.

  2. I'm going to share this fascinating post with some friends who work with horses every day. Thanks very much for a fascinating post about a "horse whisperer" of yesteryear.

    1. Thank you, Stephanie. I did love reading about Jesse Beery. Fascinating person.

  3. Interesting post on a horse trainer. I know very little about this topic so was entertained by the post. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. sm. forgot to add where she is from. It's CA. Thanks