Tradition says the secret to horse whispering was granted as a deathbed legacy from a horse charmer to his eldest son. The Romanies say that one who has received the gift of horse whispering cannot die peacefully until he or she has passed on the talent.
There are tales of horse whisperers meeting secretively in moonlight to practice their equestrian skills and to discuss hypnotic, herbal, and magical formulas.
Some believe horse charming is the application of herbs or aniseed to the horse's nose or bridle or the recitation of the Lord's Prayer in its right ear. Whatever it is, it is a secret the Romanies guard jealously.
One spell they do share is said to make the horse fearless of commotion and also of supernatural beings. The charmer first draws a circle on the left front hoof with a piece of coal and a cross on the right front hoof. Then the charmer spits on a piece of salted bread and feeds the bread to the horse.
by Gillian Kemp