Monday, May 4, 2009

A Great Horse Trainer In Auckland

(from advertisement, last page, Auckland Star, 11 November 1897)

By our advertising columns it will be seen that Professor Norton B. Smith, described as the greatest horse trainer since the days of Rarey, is announced to open his exhibition at the Agricultural Hall on Saturday. The Professor comes here with a world’s verdict, and the English, African, Tasmanian and Australian press are loud in his praise.

For the info of our readers we may say that Professor Smith offers to handle, educate and subdue the wildest, most vicious or nervous horse, young colt, or man-eating stallion that can be propuced by his new scientific and humane system, which is founded as an antidote to the old system of cruelty and torture to which our horses were and are now subjected by so called horse trainers.

The professor wins the confidence of the animal, and this obtained, he proceeds to educate his pupil. He sternly discountenances beating of any kind or the use of the gag or twitch. He is the inventor of a new training bridle and patent bit with other special apparatus which he uses in conjunction with his system.

When we say that all this is done free of charge it is obvious that the Equine Academy will be well stocked with pupils. Anyone having a horse that possesses vice of any kind can not do better than communicate with Mr Nat Behreus, the professor’s co-partner and manager, at the Agricultural Hall, who will arrange for its handling.

In a horse country like ours men of Professor Smith’s type should be welcome.

(from Auckland Star, 17 November 1897, page 4)


Last evening Professor SMITH had an exceedingly strong programme to deal with. The horses were the type to bring out the true talent of this Master of Equine Education. “When Greek meets Greek’ is the old saying, and when a Warrigal, old in the ways of vice, meets his deserts by having to face the tribunal of equine wrongdoers, in the shape of Prof. Smith, old in the ways of handling these criminals of the Horse Race, the struggle is a keen one. At first comes surprise, then defiance, all the tricks learnt by years of bad handling are brought to bear – kick, plunge, rear, buck, strike and bite – these are the usual means tried by the pupil. But Science steps in, and this with skill, brings about the survival of the fittest. After a short but decisive struggle Science wins, and then occur some of the most Sensational Acts of this Sensational Exhibition. All know the aversion of the horse to fire, and yet this wonderful Horse Educator makes his pupils stand unconcernedly by whilst fire-crackers are exploded beneath them, steam whistles scream above, steam surrounds them, and all this to the accompaniment of brass bands, drums, bells, and all those items that horses do most hate.

TO SEE is the only way to credit the marvels wrought. So we say unreservedly go, see, and come away astonished and instructed.

(from Auckland Star, 17 November 1897, page 4)


Professor Norton B Smith gave another exhibition of horse training and taming at the Agricultural Hall last night and provided one of the most interesting and amusing entertainments to which Aucklanders have been treated. Some valuable animals were entrusted to the Professor by their owners, showing their confidence in his system, and the results achieved showed that the confidence so reported had not been misplaced.

The Professor and his assistants showed truly marvellous control over the most vicious of the animals, and after brief preliminary work exposed each of them to the beating of drums and banging of tin cans, enveloped them in steam, blew a steam whistle over their heads, and drove them round the ring with an expertness and celerity that was astonishing, and that well deserved the frequent applause of the audience. There were exciting incidents, as might be expected. One was when a smart looking young horse immediately after being introduced bounded over the front of the buggy, landed in the vehicle and thence leaped over the back of the vehicle. He was smartly returned to the ring, and after about ten minutes careful handling, instead of being positively dangerous to go near, appeared to become under the complete control of the Professor. The last two nights of these exhibitions are announced to-night and on Friday. There will be no exhibition to-morrow (Thursday) night.


  1. Sounds like it would have been a marvel to watch!

  2. Reminds me of Monty Roberts a guy I used to learn from whenever he came over from the US. And of course I've read about Rarey. I'm catching up here Ice. Great post. More to read yet. Great post and I agree with Jayne it would have been very interesting to see. Got a time machine?