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Air Scenting Horse History and Timeline 

1500's, 1600's, and 1700's

  • Native Americans and early explorers gained wide use of the horse.

  • History tells us that Native Americans used the horse's scenting abilities because they developed symbols for a keen sense of smell. "A circle around the horse's eye and nostrils for alert vision and a keen sense of smell". from www.aaanativearts.com


  • Documents tell us how hunting guides followed their horse's nose in order to find buffalo, from the book "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris.

  • Other examples on the use of the horse's detection abilities can be found in the book "The Mustangs" by J. Frank Dobie.

  • History tells us that in the days when horses were used for man's survival, their natural air scent locating ability played a much more important role than most people are aware of.

  • A mustang named Sacramento repeatedly saved explorer Col. John Fremont's life by scenting enemies along the trail, wrote frontier historian Glenn R. Vernam.


  • In the 1970's a Mounted Search and Rescue group from Oregon was reported to be relying on horse scenting while performing their duties.

  • A mounted police officer from New York, I believe, was featured in a newspaper story where he told how he used his horse's scenting abilities in his line of work.


  • At this point, even though some people across the U.S. know that the horse's scenting ability can be useful in SAR, this natural instinct remains, for the most part, virtually unknown and unexplored.

  • The first air scenting horse training manual was written (Copyright 2001), first website was setup and the first equine scent detection clinics were given by Terry Nowacki.

  • The first known public demonstrations were given using equine scent detection for location of clothing scent, cadaver scent and narcotic scent by Terry Nowacki.

  • As of 2008 there is now a good number of either Mounted SAR groups, Natural Horse Enthusiasts, or Mounted Law Enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada that use the horse's natural scent detection abilities.

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