April 13, 2014 at 11:15 am #8388
Anyone here live in the country and ride?
Anyone have plans to get a horse/learn to ride/use a horse or mule to pull wagons or carts?
Curious. A couple of handfuls of neighbors have gotten together here and we have been linking our trails together as we have time. This morning is one of them. We hope to soon have completed a system to do recon/scouting mostly out of direct site of the entire perimeter of or teeny, tiny village to out about 2 miles if needed.April 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm #8394
Great thread. I have been thinking about horses for a while because of the obvious utility. Go most anywhere, speed, pack, pull and can do just so much stuff.
This is my 2 cents. If I wanted a horse for pulling wagons and carts etc. I would buy one already trained unless:
#1- I had trained other horses to pull.
#2- I had a lot of time
#3- my horse was really easy to work with.
#4-I have a trained horse to team up with the untrained horse.
#5- I’m more stubborn then a mule and just gonna try itApril 13, 2014 at 12:28 pm #8395
Yes, horses and mules are very multi-purpose. It’s not that hard to train a horse to pull a wagon or cart on the farm itself if the horse is younger and not older and used to other work IMHO. Well if you are used to working with horses a lot. ( I doubt I could easily train my quarter horse to do this.) Roadways, strange places can get a bit fun. Luckily I have done it before. And luckily I don’t have funky topography here. The thing that is taking time is pulling old farm equipment – especially a plow that can hit a rock/boulder and create unexpected jolt/drag for the horse. I’m having to get used to it as well. Takes some muscles on some of the equipment when you are walking behind or to the side and not riding. The harness I am finding I am needing makes me want to learn leather work though! Expensive and not easy to find in good condition used.
A friend of mine has an 18 hand mule (see pic) that she has trained to pull a 2 person cart so thankfully I don’t have to buy a cart to train with. Gonna have to find or build a small wagon (for hauling wood out of the woods for firewood)
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.April 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm #8400
I will definitely use horses for transport in SHTF. They make less noise than a motorbike; can even swim through a river. Can carry a load or children. Can warn you if someone is coming. Can run very fast.
You will need proper saddle’s and maintain the tack very well to prevent saddle sores. ( In South African wars, most horses died from bad saddles and the English brought in their own Thoroughbred’s that went lame very quickly)
Horses need 45 liters of water per day. Horses need to eat every four hours. In South Africa you need at least 10 hectares natural grazing per horse – no extra concentrates.
Some breeds will be able to survive harsh conditions easier. Need to look at a breed that has got hard hooves, stay fat, calm temperament, not to big to be able to travel underneath trees/ eat less. If possible from local area and already build up immunity to local diseases; used to local temperatures. I would maybe keep at least two horses. One to ride and one as pack horses. They might call out less having company.
You can also get much closer to wild animals being on a horseback. Having experience with horses before SHTF would be a great advantage.April 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm #8409
Horses were used a lot when SHTF in rural areas here, for transport, for work on and etc.
They were pretty important in that time.April 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm #8414
A few horse story’s. Both of my parents grew up on farms in the midwest during the 30’s and had horses. Horse were common and my moms dad used them for farming and didn’t want to switch to tractors. So in the 70’s my father desides to buy a small farm and we have a few steers, horses and chickens. Then he buys an old buggy and restores it. Buys hames and harness my neighbor had laying aroundd from wayback when. So he starts working with this horse we have. Bad tempered gelding that would charge you, bite and kick. Oddly he was okay when you were on top of him. My father starts by having the horse drag around an old car tire and a bunch of noisy stuff. Everything is going fine. One Saturday he hooks the horse to the buggy on the edge of the hay field. Well dad was going to lead the horse by the halter and get him use to the buggy. They didn’t go but 10 feet and the horse bolts, my father is hanging on to the halter for dear life jumping up tying to pull the horse’s head down. Hoppalong Cassidy couldn’t have made it look more dangerous. After about 200 yards he gets the horse to stop. Latter we have a few new horses but no buggy rides
I lived in Maine for a while and my neighbor has 2 riding horses. One he has been using for plowing his garden. The bigger stronger younger one. Well we have access to a lot where we can cut wood and we decide to use this horse to pull it out. It’s bad place for a horse, irregular ground roots and all. First problem is handling this horse because he’s young and dumb and ornery, (a lot like me & my freind only we’re sweet) To be a good pulling horse they need to move slow not like this horse. We hook it up and drag a bunch of logs out. Every time it’s like the start of a race. Horse starts out with pop, got to jog along side of the log. Well the last log we pull out is 10′ long about 12″ across. My freind has the reins and I rigg the log. He and the horse pull out before I can get away from the log. I’m trying to move back and my foot hangs up in a a root. The log shifts over to my leg and I’m certain it will be broken right then. Fortunately my leg holds up but the log skidds the full lenght across my shin. Still have the divet in my leg today.
Back in the day a lot of accidents happen around horses and cattle, so mind your p’s & q’sApril 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm #8417
One of the first signs to the Allies that Germany was going to loose the war , and that their bombing campaign was working , was the fact that they were relying on horses to move things more and more . In the end , they had more equipment than fuel , ……………..so desperately needed aircraft , tanks , etc. sat dead on the ground .April 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm #8418
I’ve been wondering about horses too; they may be a long term strategy when the fuel runs out and the machines stop working.
One of the benefits of horses is that they can make more horses, which is a trick the tractors never learned. They are also self-refueling, if they have the raw ingredients. The downside is they are living creatures with their own temperaments and need of special care to keep them happy and prospering. Machines were always more appealing because you could just turn them on and they would work (usually). There’s a saying where I am: Poverty is owning a horse. That has always suggested to me that owning a horse is not an easy deal.
Perhaps a useful skill set would be the knowledge of how to construct buggies, carriages, etc, of which there are few to be found these days.
Bugs Bunny: "I speak softly, but I carry a big stick."
Yosemite Sam: "Oh yeah? Well I speak LOUD! and I carry a BIGGER stick! and I use it, too!" BAM!April 13, 2014 at 3:55 pm #8422
Anyone thinking about a buggy/wagon any horse drawn stuff should venture in to Amish territory. They are far spread now with enclaves in a lot of states. They have retained the knowledge and tools. A week or so back I saw a guy with a new buggy made from stainless or aluminum diamond plate!!! So much for black.April 13, 2014 at 4:11 pm #8434
Thats why modern industry , is trying to phase out the use of steel , its obsolete in many applications now . They are developing shapes and structures that give you the same strength , but in other materials . Steel is in disfavor for two main reasons , 1. Its too heavy , 2. its too hard to work with and manipulate . Nobody wants it anymore if they can help it .April 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm #8441
Elijah – the ‘poverty is owning a horse?’ is funny. I always heard that ‘poverty is owning a boat’. If you buy a good horse, preferably one of the few with a kernel of sense, and have good pasture and rotate them, I don’t find it a great cost. Now when I rode competitively? Yes it got very expensive – maintenance, always maintenance – and the entry fees, and the right clothing. The blacksmith, the vet. A trailer and a truck to pull it.
But now? Not so much. Both horses are turned out most of the time. Grass a little more than 1/2 the year, the rest of the year round bales which are cheap here now. In the dead of winter, in bad weather I bring them in to the barn and feed oats too. I don’t keep shoes on them all year – only in the spring/summer and early fall for the one I ride on trails a lot. Horses do take care and attention. You also have to keep them busy with a regular job to do IMHO or they can develop some bad habits. I’ve been lucky with my own horses….any problems I’ve had have been the crazy ones with weird issues I rode for other people. Like with dogs, a lot has to do with how you raise, train and handle them. ‘course some are just born rank!
People should consider taking some riding lessons now – it’s fun and you’ll feel more comfortable being around a horse if the need ever arises when SHTF. Be prepared however to discover an entire new set of muscles in your legs that you didn’t realize you had.
Ok lunch over back to workApril 13, 2014 at 8:26 pm #8466
tweva , I lived on a small ranch as a kid , I have rode one , and they are very useful in some situations ……but truth is , I just dont like them very much . Dont get me wrong , I love animals , and like them more than I do most people , just not horses .April 13, 2014 at 10:11 pm #8479
I am leaning towards Oxen as work animals. Never had actual experience, but have seen teams worked, bought a book, and some equipment ( heavy duty steel eye bolts for yoke attachment). The equipment for horses is high tech compared with oxen. Oxen are much slower.. which suits inexperience.
We have huge numbers of dairy cows in NZ so getting a couple of Holstein steers will be easy. Best to train them up from calves.. tho you can train older animals. Could even use dairy cows.. which are already quiet and used to humans. Let me assure you that a couple of big cows are hugely stronger than 2 men when it comes to pulling.
Riding a horse for travel is another issue.. very nice if you have one. I have old mountain bikes …a lot easier than walking.. and they can be load carriers too.. walking beside one with the load on it. Horses require a lot of skill and equipment.. and are a lot more trouble than an old bike hanging in the shed .. just in case.April 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm #8480
Thinking out of the box with cows I like it. Bikes are good as you note. They were a main cargo mover on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. I saw some crazy looking tape with hundreds of bikes carting big loads camouflaged with vegitation.April 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm #8481
With our mountains it would be hard to use a bike for much except on a road, assuming the roads were clear.
I think the oxen idea is great but I haven’t seen any being used and, of course, have no experience.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.