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Keeping Horses
27 June 2013, 08:38,
#1
Keeping Horses
Kudos to all Forum members who are thinking ahead and have started to engage with the horsey world. Welcome to my world.

I'm always interested to read the stories of other folk, but I do wonder if the newbies to horses know what they are getting into. You would think that pony + field = perfect solution, wouldn't you? Wrong!

Let me introduce you to our mini herd. We have three equines in the family. No 1 son, the Guv’nor and all round bossyboots is a little dapple grey Camarguais gelding. He’s a lovely boy, a greedy good doer, and would develop laminitis at the drop of a hat. For those who don't know, a good-doer is a horse that makes very good use of his food, as opposed to a bad-doer. Obvious really. He's been broken to saddle and to driving and is a steady, good type, but has a tendancy to try and kneecap unwary visitors.

No 2 is the light of my life (apart from OH of course), a Morgan mare with a pedigree that could light up a room. I won’t go into any further details because you would have to be an afficianado of the breed to understand. She's hyper-intelligent and over-thinks everything, so a nice quiet hack out can be a bit of an adventure.

No 3 is a French pony mutt who thinks he is Prince of the Realm despite the other two trying to disabuse him of that notion every waking moment. He was bought as a companion, and he is the one I am trying to install some discipline into at the moment. Strictly speaking, and just between us, the mutt should really be dog meat by now, but when we went to view him he was being assaulted by every other pony in the yard and I simply couldn’t leave him behind. More idiot me. Occasionally I drop hints that he could fill a freezer - it does not amuse OH.

With me so far? Any horsey people will understand the concept of a horse herd. Horses need company and develop all sorts of nervous and sometimes dangerous ticks without social stimulus. We run our three together – they have unlimited access to a nice field shelter and grazing. So far, so good? Wrong! No 1 has to have his grazing restricted, No 2 is a big girl and needs her food, and No 3 has sweet itch, has recently developed an allergy to dust and something in hay and is definitely overweight. So, what do I do?

As a long-time horse fanatic and owner I try to level the field a bit, but this means going with the lowest common denominator. Food is the obvious key to (most of) the problems, but an allergy to hay for heavens sake!

To accommodate the nipper’s problems we changed bedding from nice cheap straw to wildly expensive, dust-free bedding and rubber matting. O.K, that cut down on some of the coughing.

Now, the feed! Well, I’m wary about grazing because the grass in Norfolk tends to be quite rich. All that rain produces a lush crop which is so high in fructans that it sets all the alarm bells ringing. So, No 1 and No 3 have to be on very restricted grazing, but No 2 needs a bit of an extra boost to keep her spirits up, so she goes into a section by herself…..and promptly panics because she’s missing the boys. Silly mare! If only she knew! So, quick rearrangement of electric fencing to allow them all to graze beside each other but separate, if you see what I mean.

We have, up until recently, fed good hay as a supplement when the horses are on scrub. It provides decent levels of the correct vitamins and minerals…..BUT of course the nipper now has an allergy to hay, so that’s knocked that regime out of the window. We can’t feed them all together any more!

In a vain attempt to stabilise things…again….I spent hours trawling round the various garden/agricultural shops, notebook in hand, jotting down names of various types of feed and the feed values noted on the packets. I have got used to nervous assistants following me round their shops while I bend and peer at sacks, or get OH to hoist them up so I can read the contents. I have spent hours at night with said pad, a calculator and notes on the weights of the horses, trying to work out a high-fibre, sugar free, palatable feed to compensate for the lack of hay for the nipper; low-sugar and high fibre for No 1 son, and just something pleasant to eat for the mare. Trying to work out just what constitutes “light work”, and how do you factor in the ham element? I realise that there is no common denominator; every horse has its own requirements; and sometimes it is just sheer gut instinct and personal knowledge of your animals that gets you through. I could now write books and give lectures – I won’t, I’m too tired. I just hope that new horse owners get an easier time of it.

Now don’t get me started on chickens!!


P.S. Would I give them up? Not a chance!
I don’t want to hear my neighbour but I want to see the smoke of their chimney.
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27 June 2013, 08:58, (This post was last modified: 27 June 2013, 09:14 by NorthernRaider.)
#2
RE: Keeping Horses
I see a need to be able to harness them and ride them after TSHTF, and watch the guys using plough horses at Beamish, but outside that horses are definately not my thing. Unfortunately one of the few drawback we have living around here is the high population of horse ownership. So we get gypseys and traps racing illegally through the village most days. We get traffic chaos when the local Fionnas and Amadas decided to walk their creatures ddown the main road causing even more traffic haos cos the beasts are so skittish you dare not over take them. Then of course the piles of mess they leave on the pavement most days. Then the dreaded mother and daughter driving the Bedford horse box at 20 MPH adding to the misery especially when Mercedes and Jemmima invite their chums for a gymcana.

They are how ever dearly loved and cared for by their doting owners and I respect that, thse folks have great and close long lasting bonds with their animals and as I pointed out above AFTER TSHTf they will be a great asset to preppers. But I do wish they were confined to farms.

We have nicknamed the two Palaminos next to the old folks home PEDIGREE and CHUM it drives the owners beserk when we call them over to give em a treat of carrots Smile

ROTFLMBO just got a PM from someone I wont name so Mary doesnt kill em saying the post about horses should be in the FOOD section Smile

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27 June 2013, 11:43,
#3
RE: Keeping Horses
Its an interesting subject, I used to ride many, many,.. even more years ago than that ago.

Just a very short distance down the road we have a couple who safe horses from the meat man, I am not sure of the numbers now, but having only moved in about six months ago they probably have about seven or eight full sized and three Shetlands

Talking of Shetlands,... how much easier are they to keep, is it similar problems to the big guys, I used to part look after Shetlands while friends went on holidays, but only doing things under strict instructions
A major part of survival is invisibility.
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27 June 2013, 11:53,
#4
RE: Keeping Horses
After TSHTF I reckon the smaller hardier types like Ponies, Shetlands, Mules etc are likely to be a priceless asset, there is even a tactical assault systems cammouflaged version for our American cousins (Zebras)

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27 June 2013, 12:50,
#5
RE: Keeping Horses
I wasted all the opportunities of my childhood. I'm going back to about 1985 to ride my cousins horses more and learn how to look after my grandparents donkeys. Used to go to killaworgi stables (or some cornish worded horse riding place every once in a while too). Might as well go hunting with my dad too. He'd be about 35 then. Pretty sure we'd get on ok.

Feel like kicking myself over a desire to live in the. City whereas now I think I'd have been better off returning to the countryside.
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27 June 2013, 12:55,
#6
RE: Keeping Horses
horses, especially riding horses, are too highly strung....i'll stick with donkeys...or a mule if I could get one post shtf. would like to learn how to tack them up though!
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27 June 2013, 16:34,
#7
RE: Keeping Horses
(27 June 2013, 12:55)bigpaul Wrote: would like to learn how to tack them up though!

Ductape.
PLEASE NOTE: The post above contains no truths. It's all bullshit scavenged from the darkest corners of a lunatic mind. Dribble dribble dribble. Woof woof woof.
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27 June 2013, 16:51,
#8
RE: Keeping Horses
(27 June 2013, 16:34)BeardyMan Wrote:
(27 June 2013, 12:55)bigpaul Wrote: would like to learn how to tack them up though!

Ductape.

I said tack them up, not get them all tacky!!Big Grin
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27 June 2013, 20:31,
#9
RE: Keeping Horses
how easy is it to learn to ride a horse.is it a standard system so that i can ride any horse (like driving a car).being a lorry driver i see horses every where and had thought of learning to ride so i could get home if tshtf.how much weight can a horse carry. i am 6ft 2 in and 19 stone so i would need a big un...or shall i just nick a push bikeBig Grin
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27 June 2013, 20:34,
#10
RE: Keeping Horses
Stewart, anyone can learn to ride a horse. You sound like a big chap so you would need a big horse. First time aboard a big'un can be alarming - it's a long way from the ground - but there are plenty of riding schools around. Start slow and see how you go.

As for just grabbing a horse and riding home.... (pause for hilarity)..well, good luck with that. It would probably be helpful to have something to steer it with.
I don’t want to hear my neighbour but I want to see the smoke of their chimney.
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