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Hagerty Employee

The harebrained idea to help horses get used to horseless carriages

It was the turn of the century and the dawn of the automotive age. Given that major cultural shifts rarely come to pass without a hiccup, the advent of the motor car and its internal combustion engine was not without its problems. For instance, how do you make the switch from horse power to horsepower a little easier on the real horses?


Enter Uriah Smith, a Seventh Day Adventist preacher and inventor from Battle Creek, Michigan. Smith’s main objection with cars was that they scared the hell out of the four-legged transportation of the day, resulting in accidents and death. He figured the best way to calm a horse when a car drove past was to make that car look a little less foreign.


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The Original pre-Ford Mustang

New Driver

My how times have changed.  Cars of the past were all unique in their styling but today they all appear to be designed resembling squished jellybeans or the southern end of a northbound horse.

Pit Crew

No more smelly mess and stepping in it.

Advanced Driver

I guess the origin of the pony car goes back further than we thought.

Intermediate Driver

At least he was thinking out of the box. We could use some of that today.

Intermediate Driver

The original Pony Car


The narrator's comment of "horses, horses, horses" was a reference to a popular 1937 song which used that line in the lyrics.

Intermediate Driver

Amish buggies and horses on the roads here all the time and with nary a problem, these horses grow up with vehicles and pay them no attention, are well trained.  Back in the old days it was a real problem, those cars were noisy and smoked a lot, just a little too far out of the norm for horses of the day, used to peace and quiet.

Pit Crew

So...the modern interpretation would be to have mannequins behind the wheel of autonomous cars so people can get used to them?

Pit Crew

No, they would use inflatable dates, they get better miles per gallon of air!

Advanced Driver

"Hello I'm JohnnyCab, where can I take you tonight?"

Pit Crew

How to reduce horsepower using a horse.  

Advanced Driver

Useless. Horses see the world through odor much more than sight. 

Advanced Driver

So… Don Corleone’s people should have picked Jack Woltz’s car?!? 

Intermediate Driver

Great story, thank you.

Intermediate Driver

One of the funniest, if unintentional, sentences ever written.

Check the end of paragraph 3

"kind of like pulling a moose head off the wall of a hunting cabin and slapping it on the front of a Jeep"


What about a horse approaching from the rear?  Maybe, Uriah should have thought of putting the appropriate appendage there.  Better, yet...he might have pasted his own photograph at the rear--perfect substitute for a horse's a__ __!

Intermediate Driver

I liked the way the real horse in that video turned and stared.  It was probably thinking "WTF?!"  😄