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horses

Discussion in 'Horses, Donkeys and Mules' started by pinkfox, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. Apr 6, 2011
    pinkfox

    pinkfox Super Self-Sufficient

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    i know many folks here have horses, and its one aspect i dont have alot of adult experience in...
    when i was little my grandfather worked with the shirehorses that pulled the brewery carts and id spend alot of time in the horse yard, (ive never met a horse quite like a shire horse, they were big mushes)
    as i got older i whent on alot of trail rides but my parents never liked the idea of me being around horses (im a sag and was a naturally curious but clumsy child lol) so beyond the odd rental trail ride when on vacation i didnt get to ride, then i got heavier and heavier and well we knew where that led to...

    anywho, im 8lbs away from my next major weight loss goal and decided long ago that id rewared myself for reaching it by getting horseriding/horse care lessons.

    now ive worked with mule, and zebra so im not totally clueless about working with large equines (though i never have any desires to ever wok with zebra again, the 3 we had at the zoo were insane and increidbly mean!)

    and i LOVE horses...i love trail rides...and with the cost of gas...i love the idea of eventually learning how to work a small buggy...yup i WILL be one of those people ting my horse up out front of walmart LOL.

    i refuse to purchase my own horse untill i have alot more experience under my bed but have kind of got my heart set on a norwegian fjord (or fjord or gypsy vanner mix) i LOVE draft horses *suprise*
    so thats the plan...one day...

    but how much space do you need for a horse like a fjord, there not mosnterously huge like the standard draft breeds, but they are still a very large animal.
    would 1/2 acre with suplimental feed be enough?
    i know horses are very social, should i look at getting 2, i just worry with 2 that i wouldnt get enough time to ride both enough to keep them in good condition...and i know controling a team from a cart is harder than controling 1. mabe getting a mini horse or pony and a little sulki as a companion to my riding/work horse would be a good idea? or can horses be happy "alone" as long as they get lots of attention?

    i mean this is LONG DISTANT future dreaming, i want a couple of years of lessons under my belt first...but i belive its never too early to start reserching.
     
  2. Apr 6, 2011
    miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Frugal Homesteader

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    Well, I have two horses, a small breed cow, two sheep (pluse chickens ducks rabbits etc) all on three acres. We do have to supplement hay all year. The more land you have the less hay you will have to feed year round. But if you exercise your horse, and don't mind paying the hay bill, a 1/2 acre would do it. A fjord will still eat lot. If you only plan on riding one, you can get another companion animal--it doesn't have to be another horse--some ppl choose goats as companion animals. Less feed and you might be interested in breeding and milking a goat.But they generally need a cmopanion. Haflingers are beautiful large ponies that are great cart horses. (imo much nicer to look at thatn a fjord, and sstill a draft)

    But there is alot more to owning a horse than having land--fences, barn or run- in shed, a place to store your hay, etc.
     
  3. Apr 6, 2011
    Sunny

    Sunny Lovin' The Homestead

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    I too love horses. But havent ridden for about 18 years. Where I live, in town. They passed a new law saying you can own any miniature farm animal. You dont have to have mini poultry though. One day I want to get a couple mini horses or donkeys, maybe mini mules. Or how about a pair of mini oxen. So they can pull a cart. Because gas is getting way to high. But I cant find any info around here on any laws about using horses as transportation.

    ETA. When I was in high school I used large dogs as draft animals to pull a cart. But the cart wasnt big enough for me to sit in. Just to go get groceries.
     
  4. Apr 6, 2011
    pinkfox

    pinkfox Super Self-Sufficient

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    lol, sunny. im planning on something similar, i want a boerboel or a cane corso when i do get my own place, and planning to teach it to pull a small cart so they can help around the "farm" lol.

    im planning on getting goats anyway....didnt know i could house them together...oooo now thats a great idea.
    i will also look into halflingers...
    never heard of them...

    growning up i always wanted a gypsy vanner (there a penny a dozen in the uk lol) but here there about as much as im planning on spending on a house LOL
    talk about asthetically pleasing though
     
  5. Apr 6, 2011
    miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Frugal Homesteader

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  6. Apr 6, 2011
    Sunny

    Sunny Lovin' The Homestead

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  7. Apr 6, 2011
    patandchickens

    patandchickens Crazy Cat Lady

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    That is an EXCELLENT step towards your goal of eventually having a horse and you have no idea how great it is to hear someone say that, as opposed to "so I will go straight out and buy a horse, now would someone please tell me everything I need to know" :)

    That is excellent preparation for horses, because if you've learned the Real Bad Things Not To Do With Mules And Zebras, it translates just the same to horses. Horses will put up with a lot more. Er, in general. People often get in trouble trying to treat mules and donkeys in ways they get away with with *horses*... so the reverse is probably a great foundation :)

    Realize that there are A LOT of non-brand-name drafts and draft crosses that are at least as good horses as the fancy trendy registered color-and/or-hair breeds, for RADICALLY less price.

    Personally I am very, very partial to Percherons and crosses thereof, but really, whatever you're looking for (except the fjord coloration/mane -- but you don't ride color!) can pretty easily be found in "generic mutt" draft type horses much more economically. Just something to think about.

    BTW you would want to get some reasonable hands-on experience riding and handling draft horses before buying one. They are, um, kind of their own thing. (Obviously I am speaking in averages, of course, but this is a fairly consistant average IME). Some people really like their temperaments and personality and how they ride (me, me); others really get along quite poorly with them, for a variety of reasons. They are often (not always) pretty wide in the back and may be uncomfortable for some people to sit; a great many of them are sort of "inexorable" (you have not lived til you have been "run away with" at a slow jog on a draft horse that decides it would be a good idea to go down a steep hillside totally covered in sharp brambles); and they can be rather hard on fences and stall doors. Etc. Personally I love them but you need to learn what they are LIKE, not just go on looks and reputation ;)

    Fjords are fairly small, some are ponies. They and Haflingers are the smallest of the draft breeds. Then you go right on up to 19+ hh monsters, of various other drafthorse breeds but esp. Shires. OTOH a hugely-big-bodied 16 hh Belgian is nothing to sneeze at either, dimensionally. (Not all are; but some)

    Enough for what?

    All you need to keep the horse alive and reasonably healthy is a stall (I would suggest AT LEAST 12x12, and the really large draft breeds do better in 12x16, although that runs you through more bedding and more stall-cleaning time) plus a significant amount of TRULY-daily exercise somewhere.

    Or, a decent sized pen (at least 20x40 is reasonable, bigger is better) with all-weather footing so it doesn't become a mudpit, plus reasonable exercise most days.

    Or, either of the above plus any size grassy paddock for controlled amounts of grazing sometimes during the summer, as a 'luxury'.

    Or, 2-3 acres of reasonably good pasture for the horse to live out on 24/7 with a shed for shelter, plus obviously hay during any non-grass-growing seasons.

    Or, 100+ acres of scrub rangeland for the horse to live out on.

    There are SO many ways of doing it.

    Personally I strongly favor the next-to-last approach (fulltime pasture turnout with shelter) but it isn't always possible and horses can certainly be kept happy and healthy in differnt ways.

    Yes.

    [

    If they have a reasonable size paddock, like at least 1/4 acre (some would argue less), they needn't have intentional exercise for just health reasons; so you could perfectly well have a 'pasture ornament' as a companion if you wanted. Also, if the second horse were intended as an occasional guest horse, not for long trail rides or serious work but just to pop someone on occasionally for a 'pony ride', it would not need any particular level of fitness.

    Enh, sort of, to some degree, but are you really considering driving as your main exercise? If so, you need to give serious thought as to WHERE this will occur, as it requires a lot more specific features than just to go for a ride. Also requires a fair bit of driving lessons for the person. Also some fairly expensive equipment, as compared to riding.

    That is one possibility. Do realize, tho, that ponies and minis are generally fairly prone to laminitis (founder - well, founder is a subset of laminitis) brought on by grazing too much or too rich grass, "too much or too rich" sometimes meaning "any at all". So IMHO if you get a mini or pony, you would need to be prepared to deal with episodes of laminitis (can occur in horses, but less commonly) AND prepared to have the critter live in a drylot if necessary. If your own horse would be living in a drylot ANYhow this would be a good match, as long as they got along well. OTOH if you were planning on pasturing your horse to any degree, it might be a problem if its companion couldn't join in.

    Some can. Most will survive. But most are a lot happier with an equine companion. We are not the same as a horse.

    Good luck, have fun :),

    Pat
     
  8. Apr 6, 2011
    pinkfox

    pinkfox Super Self-Sufficient

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    thank you pat, very informative post...
    i do agree a human (or a dog, or a goat or a cow) is NOT a horse and could never replace the companionship of another horse...so i deifnatly think if this ever comes about id probably get 2 horses (it would be nice to have another horse for the occasional family comes to visit :) )

    driving certianly wouldnt be the main excersize, just something id like to get into once ive gotten good at the other stuff (and a bonus if i can hook up the horse to pull a small wagon with some hay if i can get hay bales quite local...)

    mostly though it would just be a "quiet" horse for pleasure riding.

    i loved the mules i worked with, they were mammoth jack x unknown if i remember right (i know i dont think beyond my grandfathers shires way back when ive never seen ANYTHING as large as those beasts...
    they were definatly "different" very sweet and gentle BUT stubborn and didnt take bull from anyone, they were respectfull once you earnt it...but they certainly didnt just do it cause you asked them to unless you worked that relationship first. we used them alot for hauling round bales fencing and logs in places the work truck couldnt get to.

    the zebra however...i swear, zebra are evil LOL. beautiful animals, but the gelded male would literlaly try and eat your face, he knew how to pull open the doors to the barn (we wintered them in the giraffe barn so it had a HUGE sliding door and he knew how to slide that damend thing open...was impossible to lock it from the inside and only had a small ahndle, so one person had to hold the door shut (with the zebra outside) whiel the other person worked like a demon to much out...
    all the while zeeke was out there pulling tugging kicking snorting and trying to shove his head around the door...
    i never even realized their heads and mouthes were THAT strong...
    never again lol.

    i told the curator, i didnt feel comfortable working the zebra...
    she thought it was mildly funny because i happily worked with lion, and hyena, both well known for mauling keepers...yet i was not comfortable with a "stripey horse" i told her, it wasnt a horse it was a mule crossed with a stripey demon...stubborn AND evil!
     
  9. Apr 6, 2011
    patandchickens

    patandchickens Crazy Cat Lady

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    Sounds like you have definitely gotten off on the right foot in your mule experiences, I expect you'll avoid a number of problems with *horses* because of having that under your belt :)

    I have no clue whether it is true, but it is often said by horsemen that the zebra is one of the most dangerous animals in captivity and kills more zoo workers than the big cats do :p

    Horses have been bred for thousands of years to be much, much simpler. Not that you can't screw 'em up or piss 'em off, of course, but on the whole, they are a lot more flexible in their expectations of human behavior than donkeys or mules. (I've never worked with zebras)

    Pat
     
  10. Apr 7, 2011
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    Something you might want to look into is leasing a horse. That's what I did b4 I ever got my first horse. I wanted a horse for as long as I could remember, but I knew nothing about caring for one. Plus, I hadn't really done a lot of riding, never had the opportunity.

    If you can find a place to lease where they let you learn, it can be a great way to see if you really want a horse or not. And, if you find out that it's not for you after all, then you're not stuck w/a horse that you don't want, and now have to rehome.

    I second Haflingers. The one thing that you need to watch for w/them is they can be prone to founder. And, there are 2 basic varieties, one's more drafty than the other. They're about the same size of a Fjord, but generally cheaper. I've only ever seen 1 vanner, and I know he was quite expensive.

    A draft cross is also not a bad way to go. I've heard that quarter horse x haflingers make nice horses, but have no experience w/them. But, it generally makes the horse a bit bigger than a haffy, but stockier than a quarter horse.

    If you do decide to look for a horse, DON'T LOOK IN THEIR EYES!!!!!!!! That's one of the best ways to end up w/a horse you don't really want. And, take someone w/you that is knowledgeable about horses, even if you have to pay someone. Also, a vet check is not a bad idea, even for a free or cheap horse. The horse may have some problem that you don't know about. If you mention a vet check, and they are reluctant to get one, run away as fast and as far away as you can!

    As to the amount of land you need, as long as you are feeding hay, and there's no zoning laws you need to worry about, 1/2 acre would be fine. I have an Arab, a Chincoteague pony, a Hackney x Welsh pony and a Haflinger (not mine) on less than 1 acre. I've just taken over this field, and am in the process of cleaning it. This is something that I recommend. It helps cut down on the weeds, mud, bugs and parasites.
     

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