Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Horses

Horses

I'm starting this because I am a horse illiterate. I have some questions. (Yes, I read the research articles, but you have no idea how citified I really am.)

I realize horses need 20 - 25 lb (9 - 12 Kg) of horse food every day. Real world, in a caravan travelling a large distance , how is this provided for? Do you need to take a few wagons of hay? How many horse days of food is in a bale of hay? How much hay can a wagon haul? Are inns likely to sell you a fresh load of hay? Is it feasable to carry sacks of grain and feed that to the horses as a suppliment and let them stand around and eat grass while the caravan is stopped?

Water. How much water do they need every day? If you are on the road, do you water horses like big dogs? ie, put out a bowl of water for them to drink?

In an emergency, is it feasable to use riding horses to pull a wagon?

 

 

Re: Horses

Horses are a lot tougher than you think. Yes they need to eat, but It is easier for the traveler to just remember that horses have only one stomach and so need to eat small meals about three times a day. basically, when you stop to eat, feed your horse.

Most horse folk calculate feed this way, a non-busy horse eats between 1% to 2% of their body weight per day. A lactating mare, or a growing foal eats about 3%. (I know, you didn't need to know about lactating mares or growing foals) And in a traveling group, there is a grain wagon, stacked with 50lb bags of feed. Now, horses aren't only fed the fgrain feed. Hay isn't traveled with, it is bulky and impractical, but hay is just cut stalks of alfalfa and/or grasses, so letting the horse graze covers that. A traveling horse will be happy if you let it graze in the morning, throwing it a hand of feed. Do that again at lunch and then give them the bulk of their grain at night, after camp is made.

As for water, a horse on the road all day needs about 70 liters of water. But they can suck that down in resting spurts, surprisingly fast. And you either lead them to a river, pool, lake or share your water with them. If you are travelking along a trade route, there might be wayhouses that are little lean to's that have rain troughs that collect weather water. These often also had tether poles and crude shelters. And if your horse isn't wasteful, a bale of hay will feed it for two days if it gets no other food. If it is getting grain, or a lot of grazing, it will last longer or the horse will waste it.

Horses also should NOT be allowed to stay hot and sweaty after a long run. They have to be walked down and then rubbed down or they can get nasty sick. And just like with people, if you give them too much to eat and drink after a long hot run, they will not be well, but unlike people, who will puke when this happens, horses get one helluva belly ache and then they can even have a CVA. So walk downs, small rations, rub downs after a bad day.

And yes, if your horse is what is referred to as trained to "neck rein"
then it can be attached to a wagon. The same rules apply to reining a wagon as reining a riding horse. It won't really like it, if it isn't trained on a wagon, but it will get a clue, especially if there is one horse there who does know what it's doing.

Another thing to remember Mike....Horses are stupid. STUPID< STUPID< STUPID! I know....There all those romantic tales of horses doing all those amazing things....but horses are not Lassie dogs..... They are skiddish, lazy, and ill tempered sometimes, just like people are.

And I tend to like them pretty well.

E.W.

 

 

Re: Horses

First of all, depending on where you are travelling, you would probably not be carrying any hay. Unless you were in the desert, you would expect your horses to graze when they were not being ridden and so you would only be carrying grain for them. Depending on the animal, you could probably get away with about 2 quarts to a gallon of grain per day . Different horses need/tolerate different amounts of food.

Same with water. I have never actually carried enough water for a horse that was working all day, but a normal horse, pastured will drink maybe 5 - 10 gallons a day. This varies widely with the horse. As with hay, most travelling groups would have relied on water that they could find along the way - which was why quite often you would see watering holes or settlements at regular intervals along trade routes. I 'believe' the Silk Road had towns every 40 miles or so (don't quote me on that distance) so that caravans could feed and refresh their horses.

Horses will drink water out of anything they can get. A big bowl is fine, but ususally you would have buckets.

As for pulling a wagon, horses are often first broken to harness before they are broken to saddle and so even riding horses have some familiarity with being driven. I do not know if Tolks ever elaborated on the training methods used in ME but it is one that is employed in modern earth, so it is feasible to use a riding horse to pull a wagon.

Ariel

 

 

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I know this will sound dumb. What form are the oats horses eat in? Is it like oatmeal? (rolled oats) Is it plain unprocessed dried grain? If people wanted to eat it, is that possible?

 

 

Re: Horses

I'm nearly as much a city slicker as you are, Mike, but I don't think horse grain is necessarily processed. A person could certainly eat it if s/he had to, though cooking it it in some way would make it both more palatable and more digestible. Humans can eat pretty much anything non-poisonous that they can wrestle down their throats, if they're hungry enough.

Cel

 

 

Re: Horses

I'm nearly as much a city slicker as you are, Mike, but I don't think horse grain is necessarily processed. A person could certainly eat it if s/he had to, though cooking it it in some way would make it both more palatable and more digestible. Humans can eat pretty much anything non-poisonous that they can wrestle down their throats, if they're hungry enough.

Cel


Re: Grain supplements:

These days you can get it in pellets and so forth, like dog chow, for increased digestibility - if you have an Agways or other feed-and-grain store in your area you can check them out - but "sweet feed" can be just whole grains with molasses and or mineral supplements. In the old days molasses wouldn't have been the sugar additive of choice, but maybe beets. The idea is to get as much carbs and so forth into a small amount of food. Mash is cooked for additional digestibility, and yes, it is edible for humans, kind of like heavy-duty granola, but I'm not sure how easily we'd get nutritional value from it.

Horses will also eat almost anything they can get down their throats -- a friend of mine on his first trail ride was delightedly appalled as his mount grabbed a young maple seedling and slowly inhaled it like a vacuum cleaner, leaves, branches and all!

(Snack-grabbing while on the job doesn't usually represent real hunger - it's partly the munchies, and partly a little dominance game -- testing the rider's limits to see how much can be gotten away with.)

If you think of horses, like dogs, as toddlers, most of their behavior makes a great deal of sense -- they have a short attention span for some things, and an endless attention span for the things you would rather have them forget about. Their priorities are variously "Food!" --"Fun!" -- "Scary!" and the big one -- "Is Mom/Dad mad at me?"

Since "Fun" often equals "How much mischief I can get away with?" this brings inevitable conflict with priority #1 (for a well-socialized horse) but "Yay, Mom/Dad is happy with me!" can often override all the other priorities. Which is a big responsibility, since a good horse will trust you to make the right decisions for them. Screw up too badly, though, and it can take a while to get that back, if ever.

Some bad behavior can be tracked back to food supplements again -- I once saw a horse who was so fat he *rippled* when you smacked him, and was so hyper he couldn't stand still. He had been fed high-energy grain supplements for a year and given minimal excercise by a clueless idiot of a previous owner. Naturally, being obese and on a permanent sugar high did nothing for his temperment. He was on a careful program to get him back into shape.

 

 

Re: Horses

He had been fed high-energy grain supplements for a year and given minimal excercise by a clueless idiot of a previous owner.

LOL! Yep, been there! We used to forgo bringing any grain when we showed our horses because the forced inactivity of being in a show stall coupled with grain and the excitement of the show itself would have made them completely unruly when we took them into their classes!

Grain in ME would probably be oats - and I doubt they would bother to roll them. Most of today's ready made feeds are processed and I don't think you would find that in a primative culture.

Ariel

 

 

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Questions from another city slicker -

If unfamiliar people came up to picketed horses at night would the horses move around a bit or make noise because of the change from usual behaviour/scent? I'm assuming the people are creeping up with no good intentions, not just to pet the nice horses.

If you have a group of people riding for hours, is it comfortable for them to ride closely enough and slowly enough for the riders to have conversations? Or would that be reasonable only when slowing down to give the horses a breather?

I have read the wonderful material posted about feed, but I'm still unsure. Is it reasonable to travel for 5 or 6 days without grain, just having them graze?

Thanks in advance.

Lyllyn

 

 

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Here's another question:

Is there any validity to what I read somewhere else that dressage movements, like those done by the Lippizan horses, are refinements of manouvers taught to war horses for use in battle?

If this is so, would it be reasonable to think that the Rohirrim would train their horses in that way? What age would the horse be when they begin the training? I seem to recall that the more difficult "airs above the ground" are not taught until the horse is older, much in the same way younger horses aren't used in steeplechases because their bodies need to be more mature to handle the physical stress.

Can anyone help me with this one? Please?

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Horses

If unfamiliar people came up to picketed horses at night would the horses move around a bit or make noise because of the change from usual behaviour/scent? I'm assuming the people are creeping up with no good intentions, not just to pet the nice horses.

They'd certainly react: raise heads, snort and blow softly to catch the scent, 'stand proper' (horses at rest often cock a hip to rest one of the hind legs, and when they are alerted they stand proper), possibly turning toward those who approached.

If you have a group of people riding for hours, is it comfortable for them to ride closely enough and slowly enough for the riders to have conversations? Or would that be reasonable only when slowing down to give the horses a breather?

I keep having to tell this to people - if you ride at more speed than a moderate trot, you will have to shout to make yourself heard. Not only make the hooves noise (also in grass) but the wind that streams past takes the sound of your voice with it.
Two horses that are comfortable with eachother can be ridden knee to knee, though it is wise to keep a bit of distance (knees banging - ouch!). You wouldn't really want to do that in a canter though - you need at least an armlength between the stirrups, or you get hurt.


I have read the wonderful material posted about feed, but I'm still unsure. Is it reasonable to travel for 5 or 6 days without grain, just having them graze?


If you rode at a walk with occasional stretches of trot and a canter here and there, yes it is. Even then, you'd need a hefty lunch break for the horses to graze, and you couldn't ride a real 'daymarch' distance.
If you'd need more speed or hours, each rider could carry a quart litre grain for each day of the ride - even in amounts that small, it would make a difference.

 

 

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Thank you Arwen Lune, that is most helpful!

Lyllyn

 

 

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To the kind answerers of horse questions:

I'm looking for some behaviour problem a horse could have, so that he would not be saleable; but that 'the elvish way with all good beasts' could fix. I'm trying to avoid the widely used device of a 'rogue' horse, since I didn't think it was that common in RL. I would be happy to be corrected on that point if it is common, since I could then use it in good conscience. Any other suitable horse problems? Physical problems would be fine too, but I expect they are not so fixable with the soft words of elves.

Lyllyn

 

 

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It could be a traumatised animal (think fire, building falling in around it, or another reason that doesn't even need to be known) or it could really have behavioural problems - the problem with the last is that most behaviour problems in horses are brought on by unnatural environment (too much stall-time, no company, too stressful work) and I don't think there'd be much of those situations in Middle Earth.

The one thing I can think of would be a horse traumatised by war - perhaps it lost all trust in humans because its master - whom it trusted - led it into a horrible battle.
Depending on how strong you would make this, the horse would either be untouchable (though that may be too much of a 'rogue horse' you don't want) or just constantly very wary and mistrustful. It would be hard to approach, hard to guide and steer, and very dangerous for its rider in tense situations, because it would not rely on its rider to see to its best interests.

Hope this helps. I've used the 'traumatised by fire' kind of problem once; the thing is to realise that it would also be physically scarred... The warhorse would probably also be.

 

 

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Thanks, Arwen Lune. Good point about the horse being physically scarred, I wouldn't have thought of that. I'll think up some suitably traumatising event.

Lyllyn

 

 

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It could be a traumatised animal (think fire, building falling in around it, or another reason that doesn't even need to be known)

Arwen, would it be reasonable for a horse who had a tree fall on her as a filly to balk at going into the forest?

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Horses

Errr... difficult question. It mostly depends on what memories the horse has that surrounded the original trauma. For instance, if it has a strong memory of standing under the tree when it fell, then yes, it might balk at repeating that.

However, a single tree is very different from a forest, and I'm not sure what the reaction would be.

An emotionally healthy horse has a few basic 'beliefs' that centre on the following...
* my 'home' is safe (whether it's a field or stable)
* I can rely on the herd
* I can trust my rider (to look out for me/handle in my best interest)

I'm trying to make sense of this by connecting it to a horse I know - he was tied in a stable when a tractor drove against one of the (wooden) walls from outside, half bursting through it. The horse wasn't wounded, but he did panic. Two years later, he still does not want to go into stables or anywhere under a roof, because he has made the connection that that just isn't a safe place to be. They also have trouble with tying him, though that is slowly getting better. In other words, the first and third beliefs were damaged - 'home' turned out not to be so safe after all, and trusting the rider (in allowing himself to be tied) turned out to be a dangerous thing.

I'm not sure what to make of the tree and the forest; not something I've ever heard of happening, though that - of course - means very little. I hope that what I wrote above will at least help somewhat

 

 

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Greetings all ~

It's been ages since I peeked in here, so I hope you don't mind if I join in.

Lyllyn wrote: - would it be reasonable for a horse who had a tree fall on her as a filly to balk at going into the forest?

The first thing that comes to my mind there is that I tend to think it would be hard for a tree to fall on a horse - or filly - unless it were triggered by something catastrophically sudden, like a lightning strike. Trees don't just drop out of the sky, they crackle and pop and make all sorts of noise on the way down, and horses do NOT stick around when a Scary Noise is bearing down on them. Their first defense mechanism is to run, and THEN look to see what that was, and even little fillies and colts are pretty quick on their feet.

So unless the filly was very small and a big ol' branch just dropped all at once, it would be a bit hard for me to envision. If a branch or something DID somehow fall on her, and hurt her or frightened her badly enough, then I would expect her to be afraid of that particular PLACE - but probably not all trees.

If you want a horse for a story who is afraid of woods, maybe you could have it that something happened such as she was once attacked by some predator in a deep dark woods. She only narrowly escaped, so now she associates deep, shady woods with Scary Creatures. That might work, particularly if her owner/rider seldom asks her to go into the woods. But again, it might not be all woods or trees, but just gloomy places that look like the spot where she was once attacked/hurt. Just some food for thought, anyhow, which of course can be ignored.
Cheers ~

Erin

 

 

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I'm not an expert, but I used to help out at Riding for the Disabled in Singaore, and they always gave me Ernest. Ernest was an example of a spoiled brat horse - I don't know where they got their horses from, but most of them were pretty slow and lazy, to the point where you had to really encourage them to get them to do anything above a walk.

Ernest was not slow and lazy . The kid sits on the horse and you have one or two helpers depending on how much help the kids needs, either side. Then you have a leader (me) to control the horse. The tricks he used to play:

1) Eating. Trying to wander off trail, or stop when he was in the middle of a long line of horses, just to nibble at a tuft of grass/some random plant. He did it to annoy me. I know he did. This horse was a brat If you told him off, he'd kind of rolls his eyes 'Yes, mom', and then he'd behave.

2) Head-butting/biting. To see you jump. Also we used to line the horses up and the leaders stood in front facing the horses. He used to try and butt me backwards to get out of line. He _hated_ backing up, as well. He'd nip at anyone, especially if they appeared nervous - not to hurt, just to try and boss them around. He'd have a go at other horses, as well. He didn't usually kick, actually - certainly everyone made sure not to put themselves in a position where he could have a go.

That was pretty mild stuff, really, but that's my experience with horses.

 

 

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Arwen Lune, ErinRua, and Jen Littlebottom, thanks!

I appreciate all the information. I was trying to make it easier, simply having the horse balk at forests rather than be traumatised in general, but I can see that won't work. I'll pick a bad habit or mistrust of a rider that an elf can soothe the horse out of.

Lyllyn

 

 

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I appreciate all the information. I was trying to make it easier, simply having the horse balk at forests rather than be traumatised in general, but I can see that won't work. I'll pick a bad habit or mistrust of a rider that an elf can soothe the horse out of.


Hello Lyllyn ~

That usually seems to be the case, with a problem horse. Either something traumatic happened, whether accident or abuse or human carelessness, or their humans let them get into some bad habit without correcting it. Most horse problems are caused by people, in my observation. So it would be entirely believable to have a horse that developed bad habits from poor human handling, or mistrust from abuse or overwork, which an elf could work him out of.

For example, (just pulling ideas out of thin air,) a horse could be very head-shy, hard to touch his face and head, and difficult if not dangerous to bridle. If he had been frequently struck about the head by a previous owner/handler, and or had the bit jammed painfully in his teeth too many times, that would present a real problem in handling him. Or again, if abused he could be terrified of sudden movement by people, maybe panics if someone waves their arm or flaps a cloak around them or while on their back. He might be very hard to catch, wants to run away, bolt past whoever is trying to catch hiim. Stuff like that.

The thing to remember is a horse's first instinct under pressure is to flee, run away. So whether he's afraid of stuff or spooky, his reactions will be varying degrees of trying to escape, whether running or jumping or bowling someone over. Even kicking people is utilised mostly when the ability to run is restricted by being tied up or confined.

Anywho, more food for thought, and Arwen or Jen or anyone, please correct me if I get my facts cockeyed!
Cheers ~

Erin

 

 

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My horse, Tequila, was a traumatized horse. Quila was an Anglo-Arab, and was a tall, head-strong, aggressive horse who enjoyed bolting.

His first owner was a man who was afraid of the horse, but didn't want to admit it. He put a very harsh bit on Quila, leaving the bars in the horse's mouth scarred and the roof of his mouth damaged. Then, when Quila's mouth was too bloodied to accept a bit, the guy used a hackamore - made out of wire. Quila had a ring of scar around his muzzle the rest of his life.

Being a hell of a smart horse, Quila did not like to be caught, and eventually spent all his time locked in a small stall so the guy could get a hold of him. He developed a tendency to kick walls apart trying to get free. When the guy tried to ride him, he would bolt and do his best to take the bastard off on trees, the sides of buildings, fenceposts, barbed wire, etc. As I said, he was a smart horse.

Beth, his guardian angel, answered an ad in the paper for him one day. The guy was going to send him for slaughter, except he wanted to see if he could get better money for Quila first. Quila bit Beth, kicked her, bucked her off twice and smashed her against the barn door when she first saw him. She took him home as soon as she could arrange a trailer.

A year and a half later, Quila would allow a small woman rider and would accept a snaffle bit. How she built his trust up again, I have no idea, but she did. Beth had to move across country and she let me buy him because he liked me. He didn't much like the other buyers who came to see him. I loved him. He was a terrible bolter, but had the smoothest gaits of any horse I've ever ridden. I never put him to a jump higher than 4 feet, but I know he could have cleared six without trying, he was very athletic. My older brother tried to ride him. Once. Said it was the scariest thing that ever happend to him, and wouldn't try again. Tequila was like Shadowfax - if he didn't want you as a rider, you were a goner, but if he liked you, you'd be perfectly safe.

He was 8 or so when I got him, and he lived to be 21. After he turned 18, I didn't ride him anymore, but just let him rule the pasture. He loved his apples and his head scratches, chased neighborhood dogs who barked at him, and generally was a happy, lazy nag.

So, there's the dossier of an abused horse who became partly manageable.

Ang

 

 

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Aww, Ang!

I am SO glad you took that lad home and helped him learn that life is not all a battle to avoid hurt. ARGHH! Idiots like his first owner need to be buggy-whipped within an inch of their lives. And he DOES sound like a very intelligent horse, which makes it even more tragic, IMHO. Sad to think what a bright, athletic horse could have learned in the right hands, with the right start. But sounds like he did awfully good with you. A thousand laurels to Beth who taught him trust.

Closest I've come to something like that was a horse on a ranch that had had his tongue nearly cut off by someone ruthless @#$& with a snaffle bit. I got him later, put a mild curb bit in his mouth - and he went from runaway Humvee to pure Cadillac. Different pressure in his mouth, no more pain, and he loved the copper roller on my bit, really settled down to be a nice little cow horse. The boss on the ranch even noticed the change.

Anywho, I'm glad you gave Tequila a good life - and after all that nightmare with that first idiot, I'm not at all surprised he could not tolerate any men. I've known a couple horses that were very gender-specific in likes or dislikes, too. And as I said before, it's human error, human screwups. Poor 'Quila ... what a blueprint for disaster. Bless you for being a good "mom" for him!
Cheers ~

Erin

 

 

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What would be considered a ‘daymarch’ distance for a horse and rider?

 

 

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He was a great horse. He was 16+ hands, and was a really strange golden color with dark points that glowed copper in the right light. He had a small star, but his face was covered with scar marks and his lower lip always hung very loose and to the side. We joked that it was from drinking too much. There was something wrong with his eyes, too, that the vet couldn't figure out. I hope his original owner rots in hell. Forever.

For the first year I rode him with a rubber bar instead of a regular bit, then he graduated up to a snaffle. Eventually, I did have to put a Pelham (sp? gah, I've been away from horses so long) on him because of the bolting - we ended up in traffic one day and nearly got hit. On the other side of the woods from where we lived was a guy who raised standardbreds and he had a track graded out in a huge hay field. We got to be friends, and he allowed me to bring Quila and my Saluki, Backgammon, through the woods and onto his track when he wasn't using it. The three of us would tear around like crazy - all that thoroughbred blood in Quila just wanted to run.

His carriage was incredible. His neck would arch, that tail would come up, and it was like riding on air. I wish I'd been in a better location so I could have done serious dressage training on him. Not competition quality, but he was a thinking horse, and liked to do interesting things. I could get on him without a saddle or bridle (in a secure paddock, of course, or we'd be running *very* fast!) and do everything with just shifting my weight or using my legs. I didn't even have to hold his mane, it was so smooth.

He loved my Dad (all our animals do), and would follow Dad around the pasture and beg for treats. Eventually he let my brothers near him. The one time Laurian tried to ride him, he ended up with a bloody arm and a lump on his head where Quila slammed him into the side of the barn, and jumped off the horse to get away because Quila was trying to bite him. The horse chased him and Laurian just made it under the electric fence before he got stomped. It was horrible to watch - I have no doubt that horse would have stomped him flat. I had to catch him and get him unsaddled. The horse in the Laurë stories, Dragonheart, is explicitly modeled on Quila, except I had to tone him down and make him nicer. ;-) My animal characters tend to be from four-footed people I have known.

Thanks for listening. It's hard to get people to be patient with crazy animal stories.

Ang

 

 

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Depends entirely on how you're travelling and on what grounds. If with (heavy) carts, you walk only - about 5km per hour, perhaps 7 or 8 hours a day.
With riders only, you can push it to say, 10 km per hour, perhaps 8 hours? That's a firm march though, and you wouldn't make that speed on uneven ground or twisty trails.

Couriers and other people with haste can do much more in a day (just look at Endurance sport records) but are still limited by the need for a meal (both them and their horses, and horses need rest surrounding their food and drink, or they'll get ill) and proper rest.

 

 

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*laugh* thank you Erin, you've just reminded me why the idea seemed so strange to me

To be honest I have little first-hand experience with traumatised horses, though my previous horse was emotionally neglected when I got him. A strange a different kettle of fish altogether.

(He'd been seperated from the other horses because he was too dominant, and I think they only ever tossed his feed on the ground for him. He didn't have a name, and I doubt they did as much as touch him, let alone help him out of his winter hair.)

He was actually quite steady, and pleasant on the ground (he really liked being groomed) but he just seemed to be unable to bond with me. It took more than two years to establish the 'gut feeling' most people have with their horses. Once we had that, we were incredibly strong together. I miss him... But he would not connect to anyone but me (and my father, just slightly). We must have tried at least 8 caretakers (for the 2 days a week we could not work with him) with this horse, and none of them could work things out... I still feel bad about not being able to keep him.

Because my father had a few trust issues from a heavy accident with another horse, when we were ready to own a horse again, we looked out for the most stable, emotionally healthy horse we could find. I don't think Rowan has ever had the slightest trauma in his life so far; he was born into, raised with, and trained with, the kindest care I have ever witnessed.

It took me three weeks to establish the bond with him that I reached with Lomion after 2 and a half years. Sometimes I wish they had come into my life at a different order: if Lomion had come to me now, I would have been able to work with him much better than I could when I was 14. I'd also have been able to make use of his Endurance sport potential...

 

 

Re: Horses

Depends entirely on how you're travelling and on what grounds. If with (heavy) carts, you walk only - about 5km per hour, perhaps 7 or 8 hours a day.
With riders only, you can push it to say, 10 km per hour, perhaps 8 hours? That's a firm march though, and you wouldn't make that speed on uneven ground or twisty trails.

Couriers and other people with haste can do much more in a day (just look at Endurance sport records) but are still limited by the need for a meal (both them and their horses, and horses need rest surrounding their food and drink, or they'll get ill) and proper rest.


Everything Arwen said, ditto.

Ithildin, to make a guess on what sort of distance you're asking, we'd need a bit more detail about the scenario your envisioning.

For example, is your character just leisurely toodling along on a social visit / pleasure trip, or is it a matter of life and death? If the ride is urgent, does the person need to conserve the horse for several days' use, or is it one mad, desperate dash and then the horse can rest? If it is a leisure trip, again, is it a one-day ride or will they be on the road for days with the same horse? Are they on maintained roads or going cross-country? Is it nice grassy country or in the mountains? Is the weather fair or foul?

All those factors play a large part in what a 'daymarch' on horseback would be. Out on the plains a cowboy can easily trot 30 to 50 miles in a day, though the horse rests the next day. But in the mountains a 10 mile ride could be tops. So there's lots to consider when asking horse-mileages, since there are so many variables that come into play. Do ask again with a few details of what you have in mind, as I'm sure someone can help you out.
Cheers ~

Erin



 

 

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His carriage was incredible. His neck would arch, that tail would come up, and it was like riding on air. I wish I'd been in a better location so I could have done serious dressage training on him. Not competition quality, but he was a thinking horse, and liked to do interesting things. I could get on him without a saddle or bridle (in a secure paddock, of course, or we'd be running *very* fast!) and do everything with just shifting my weight or using my legs. I didn't even have to hold his mane, it was so smooth.

I've never had a horse, but always wished I could, and I love watching horse shows whenever I get the chance. So reading your description of Tequila in motion brought a huge smile to my face. He must have been something to see!

I'm with Erin in saying bless you for being so good to him. If we take any animal into our lives we have a sacred obligation to love them and care for them, and anyone who mistreats an animal should be drawn and quartered IMO.

You mention dressage too. I had asked awhile back about whether I had understood correctly that dressage evolved from manouvers taught to warhorses or not. I seem to recall reading some differing opinions on the subject.

~Nessime

PS - I'd listen to any horse story you guys want to tell. Maybe before I die I can actually learn how to ride (really ride, not just sit on a horse, thank you!). Meanwhile I'll happily soak up whatever you want to share.

 

 

Re: Horses

Couldn't resist commenting...

I actually have had a random tree falling experience...out trail riding with a group, and a tree suddenly crashed down across the path in the middle of us...naturally, the horses all bolted, we all ditched, and I got a nice horseshoe scar on my stomach to show for it...

In terms of nasty habits that an elf can cure, anything involving horse-rider trust is good. All horses have annoying habits of some sort or another. A few that come to mind, some have likely been mentioned already...

-sneaky horses that are good at getting loose
-insisting on being in front/behind
-skittish horses that spook at leaves falling, noises, etc.
-very aggressive (stallions/war horses/etc)
-tempermental; balk at everything; ignore their rider
-lazy horses that would rather lag behind and munch
-horses that resist being caught

One other thought - the speed at which you can travel will depend to a great extent on the quality and conditioning of the horse.

And for another random thought - ME would be an appropriate place for gaited horses. Until you've got good roads they're the most comfortable means of travelling.

,
elemmire

 

 

Re: Horses

Thanks, Elemmire, and everyone who responded. After reading all your posts, the best bet seems a horse who won't let anyone put a bit on him.

Other questions, which will vary with the horse -
What part did your horses like scratched, petted, or stroked?
What was their most annoying habit?
What was their most endearing?

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Horses

Hullo Lyllyn ~

Definitely a horse that refuses to be bridled is both a challenge and a problem, and a worthy one for an elf to work with. Almost always a problem like that stems from abuse or misuse by previous owners. (Though once I met a horse who had sensitive ears after problems with some sort of mites, and another had a scar from a burn behind his ear.) Depending on the severity of the problem, he may refuse to allow his head to be touched at all, snorting and pulling away violently, or he may simply have certain parts of his face he doesn't want touched, such as the mouth or ears. But anywho, that would be a good elf project!

On to horse questions. My answers might seem a bit generic, but that's because I've never owned my own horse, I've simply worked with an awful lot of them over the years. So I'm drawing on a whole lot of individual memories to frame replies.

Hmm, petting ... Well, I've known lots of horses who love to have their foreheads stroked. Someone told me that reminds them of their mother soothing them. Dunno if that's so, but I've known many horses who would almost go to sleep if you pet their foreheads. Also rubbing behind the ears where it gets itchy and sweaty - though may not work with a head-shy horse. Scratching the side of the neck, especially with a nice scrubby curry comb when they are shedding winter hair. And I once knew a mule who LOVED to have the base of her tail scratched! She would just leeeeean back into you if you scratched the base of her tail! Oh, and I met a mare who loved to have her belly scratched with a plastic garden rake! THAT is just plain weird - but she loved it!

Annoying habits ... Most of the annoying habits I've met are because humans did not teach them good manners. Annoying habits include walking away when I'm trying to get on. Pushing me or rubbing me with their head when I'm trying to do something (like open a gate.) Constantly trying to graze and eat while I'm riding them, and yanking on the bit to get me to loosen the reins so they can eat more. Trying to pull the reins away and wander off when I have to dismount to do something. And sometimes a particularly bored and/or bright horse might get a habit of picking up EVERYthing in their mouth and playing with it, which can be annoying when it's your coat or your lunch or your rain slicker that they just threw on the ground and stepped all over.

Endearing habits ... Boy. There can be so many of those. I like it when I come to catch them and their ears come up and they walk to meet me. I like it when they are content to stand quietly beside me and let me lean on them and pet them and stuff. I like it when they make that funny "huh-huh-huh" noise in their throat when I bring grain. I like it when I'm doing something that totally does not involve them, but they wander over just to be near me and watch.

Hmm, and that's all I can think of at the moment.
Cheers ~

Erin
P.S.
Elemmire, all I can say is ACK! to your tree accident!

 

 

Re: Horses

Arwen Lune:
Depends entirely on how you're travelling and on what grounds.

Erin:
Ithildin, to make a guess on what sort of distance you're asking, we'd need a bit more detail about the scenario your envisioning.




Thank you Arwen and Erin, for taking the time to answer me
As to making my question more specific – well, the scenario I had in mind would involve a little of most everything.

At this point I’m envisioning a journey across a plain, over high mountains and also through forested land, but there would be established paths to follow.
There would be a single, proficient rider most of the way though I will probably have a small group crossing the mountains. This would be Elves and elven horses, so endurance is better than average.
Timeframe: summer with long days for traveling.
The weather wouldn’t be good the entire way, but as they are Elves, they probably wouldn’t let it deter them greatly.
Most of the journey would be dangerous, so urgency would be high, though not a desperate dash.
Distance – about 450 miles in all, about 150 of that would be mountains.
The rider could carry a limited amount of grain, and most areas would support grazing during rest stops.

Any help would be appreciated! I find these resource threads very interesting and helpful. And the horse stories are fascinating!

Thank you again!
Ithildin

 

 

Re: Horses


Eeeks!

Have not been ignoring you, have just been running my tookus off this week. I'll get back here soon as I can find time to sit and think, and see what suggestions I can thunk up.
Cheers ~

Erin

 

 

Re: Horses

(I'll answer this for both Lomion, who is no longer mine, and Rowan, my young gelding)

What part did your horses like scratched, petted, or stroked?
Lomion liked it mostly on the base of his manes and under his jaw. He'd stretch his neck and really lean into my hand.
Rowan really likes scratching all along his neck, and around his ears. He's probably like scratching at the base of his tail too, but I hate it when horses turn their hind to you because they want scratches.
I've noticed that many horses like to be rubbed (gently) just above the eye, in the little hollow.

What was their most annoying habit?
Lomion was proud-cut - not gelded until he was 5 or 6. He could not, I mean could not settle in a group. He had to be in front, and then he wouldn't settle for fear of being overtaken. It was hugely annoying - I once rode a 7-hour day with him and he jigged the whole day. For contrast, the same horse was incredibly good and confident on his own, and a definite 'top dog' in any group. He just didn't need the other horses for security.

Rowan doesn't have any really dramatic bad habits, save for the ones stemming from being young and not having a lot of patience. He nibbles and gnaws on everything he can reach (he eats wooden poles) and he is a bit of a drama-queen about water, Doesn't like to get his dainty feet wet. Mostly he's level-headed and a lot more compliant than Lomion.

What was their most endearing?
When we were on day-rides, Lomion would stand behind my bench at lunch, his head over the back of it to my right, and just stand there very calmly, looking off into the distance and occasionally inquiring if I might be willing to part with some of those apple peels. (it was really like that, he was very gentle and polite about it)
Also, one day a young foal broke through into his field, and he very carefully shielded it from all 'his' horses. Wasn't easy to get the foal out again though...

Rowan is a cutey, he lies down very early in the evening, so sometimes when I'm out there late he'll look sleepy-surprised, with an expression of "Gosh, what are you doing out here?". Sometimes he doesn't get up when I enter the stable, and it's very special to sit with him then.
I also love to see him play in the field, he runs with such joy and ease of movement, throwing those legs forward, you can just see he's loving to run just for the way it makes the wind rush around his ears.

 

 

Re: Horses

Would anyone be able to give me some ideas of the sorts of things (preferably in rough order) you would do for/to your horse when you bring it in to the stable at the end of a day's riding? I have some ideas from a childhood of horse obsession but those horses were only ever paper ones and that was rather a long time ago.

Thanks,

Avon

 

 

Re: Horses

Hmmm... using my usual research tool () of the LHOTP books I've come up with water, feed, rub down, curry comb - but currycomb sounds a bit modern, IMO. Do you think you'd clean your tack then? I guess if you were avoiding your father you might well. In which case - scrape the grease off, soap, water, polish?

Avon

 

 

Re: Horses

In addition to the stuff you already listed (rub down, brush etc.) don't forget to pick the rocks and stuff out of their feet after you ride or they could end up with a nice sore ;)

 

 

Re: Horses

Oh good! Thank you - I want a nice long list of activities for the character to do ;-)

Avon

 

 

Re: Horses

YIKES!

Boy did real life gobble me up .... Oy. Sorry for not responding to earlier requests as I said I would. Bad Erin, no cookie ...

Anywho, as per taking care of a horse after a day's ride, it's actually pretty simple. In basic order, you unsaddle and put the saddle and bridle away. (Saddle blanket is best laid on top, damp side up so it dries.) Then you brush the horse down well - and honestly, a horse much prefers to be allowed to have a really good, thrashing ROLL in the sand. That just seems to get a good, deep all over itchy-scratch that no curry comb or brush can immitate. So if at all possible, let the poor thing go relax out in the corral/paddock behind the barn for a while. Then when he's dry and cool, brush him down real good, check his hooves for stones, glance over his legs for any injury or swelling, and check his back for any signs of soreness or abrasion.

After that he can have a nice drink of water and you can throw him some hay. If someone is really interested in just killing time in the barn, you can comb out his mane and tail, too. All that can eat up at least thirty minutes time.

As for cleaning a saddle ... that is a whole 'nother project. You'd need warm water in some sort of container, saddle soap/glycerin, rags and a sunny spot to work in. (Easiest if the saddle can be thrown over a hitch rail or rack so it's about chest-high while you stand and scrub.) Cleaning a saddle is a major job, lots of little crevises to clean and any leather that comes in contact with the animal (stirrup leathers, girth) must also be thoroughly scrubbed. Not too wet but enough good lather that the glycerin soap can work into the leather and form a protective imulsion, so to speak. And doing that can waste anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending how thorough you are and if you clean the bridle, too!

Anywho, hope this helps.
Cheers ~

Erin

 

 

Re: Horses

Thanks, Erin, that does indeed help.

Avon

 

 

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