Horse remedy: what explains this expression?


Ally of man in war, in politics and in job, the horse was one of the first animals to be the subject of works veterinarians. From antiquity to the industrial revolution, a sick or injured equine always wore prejudice to its owner, hence the need to provide care. Considering the size and strength of the mammal, it is no wonder that treatments mighty were administered to him.

A horse remedy for humans?

We use the expression “a horse remedy” to designate a treatment. hard and severe but effective. The phrase implies that great means are deployed to fight an evil. A horse remedy therefore refers to powerful but necessary therapies to treat these animals. bulky and resistant. Applied toman, the formula implies that a drug ordinary is not enough to cure an illness or injury, hence the introduction of “horse treatment” or “horse medicine”.

Cure a horse fever

If a treatment radical is administered to an equine is that it is proportional to the health problem to be solved. A horse rises quickly and very hard in temperature and this outbreak usually reveals serious ailments, capable of generating serious consequences. So, to heal a horse fever – another common expression – a treatment is prescribed sufficiently energetic to put the animal back in the saddle! As they say, with great evils the great remedies …

How about an elephant remedy?

One can legitimately wonder why an expression describing a drastic treatment uses the horse and not another species, like theelephant where the Lion, which are animals also known for their strength. Because, domesticated for thousands of years, the equine has been part of the day-to-day of man. The vigor of the care he needs is at the height of his ardor, his courage and his resistance foolproof. From qualities that the quadruped demonstrated by participating in the many epics of man. History indeed testifies to the unique aptitudes of the horse which was in turn an animal:

  • Of war. Its first use in war dates back over 5,000 years. Later, the Romans clearly associated the horse with the warlike function, as opposed to the donkeys and mules which were used by fields. In Europe, different breeds were used for purposes military, depending on the nature of the conflict and the missions to be entrusted to it: the animal was then mounted or driven, used for reconnaissance, charges, raids, communication, supplies …;
  • Prestige. Considered an animal Politics, the horse represented in the Middle Ages the power of a government, conferring presence on its rider, man of war and member of a elite. With each war won, the victors paraded on their mounts in front of the people. The emblematic animal of the chivalry had to keep his rank and as such, benefited from the most attentive care;
  • Working. In the civil field, the equine has long been used for agricultural work, then industrial work, as well as for the transport of people and goods. The first industrial revolution did not do away with the horse that pulled both wagons in the mines and the omnibuses in the cities.

The horse, energy to spare

It is easy to understand that great means were used to heal such a powerful animal. But how bad was he? In the XVIIIe century, James Watt intended to sell steam engines from his company to industrialists and farmers to run their workshops and agricultural machinery. The Scottish engineer then imagined creating a unity understandable to its customers to compare the two sources of energy, machine and animal. He then used horses to pull a rope to lift heavy loads on a pulley. The force required to accomplish the task was then quantified in number of equines. From there was born the horsepower, a measure still used today to describe the power of motor vehicles.

Treat or shoe? Both my marshal!

With regard tousefulness horse for man since Antiquity, a inability in animals caused significant damage to their owner: drop in production, market value, loss of prestige, etc. prejudices motivated the deployment of treatments which, at the time, seemed appropriate to solve equine health problems. In the Middle Ages, it was farriers that fell the mission of looking after the horses of the stud farms, of the princes, of the army or of the quidam. These men became such important figures that veterinary medicine was called farrier. Unfortunately, a large number of practices implemented by these craftsmen-healers, such as bloodletting, turned out to be barbarians.

Towards a (worthy) horse remedy …

In the Age of Enlightenment, the Count of Buffon, naturalist, deplores that the health of the horse “has been left to the care and the practice of people without knowledge and without letters. “In 1750, Claude Bourgelat (French squire and veterinarian) publishes a work dealing with horse science under multiple aspects (physiology, pathology, hygiene, therapy …) His medicine is then in every way opposed to tradition empirical cultivated by farriers and with “recipes” such as drinks, powders, ointments, poultices and other fumigations. Wanting to offer a institution to a knowledge which seemed worthy of it – the art of healing the horse’s body – he founded the first two veterinary schools in the world: in Lyon in 1761, then in Maisons-Alfort in 1765. The squire thus participated in the birth of the equine medicine, replacing the magical rituals of yesteryear with real horse remedies!