1691: Cure your horse with an “angry red onion” in his fundament

The Experienc’d Farrier was a late 17th century guide to breeding, raising, feeding and caring for horses. It was published anonymously by “E.R.” and was reprinted several times between 1681 and the early 1800s.

Much of The Experienc’d Farrier’s tips on good horsemanship are practical and sound – however its veterinary advice is more dubious. It lists numerous treatments for colic or “fretting of the guts by wind”, including giving your horse beer laced with “the powder of a dried stag’s pizzle [penis]”.

Another suggested measure is to “give him a pipe of tobacco at his fundament”. And if your horse is constipated:

“Strip up your shirt as high as your elbow [and] anoint your hand and arm with oil, butter or hog’s grease and put it into his fundament. Draw forth as much of his hard and baked dung as you can get. Take a good big angry red onion, peel it and jag it crossways with your knife. Roll it well in salt and flour and cover it all over with fresh butter and put it up into his body as far as you can thrust it… then walk or ride him about a quarter of an hour.”

Source: E. R., The Experienc’d Farrier, or Farring Compleated, 1691. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.