Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Horse?

Brother-in-law said that someone he worked with was giving away their horse.  Did I want it?  I had to think hard about this one. 

A horse would be a good animal to have on the farm if it was trained and if I had an abundant supply of food. I don't. The pasture isn't irrigated so I would run out of food for it. Perhaps I wouldn't if I didn't have any other animals, but the sheep (and future goats) are much more valuable to me. Sure I could use the horse to get from place A to B if I don't have a vehicle, but if it would starve to death then it wouldn't last very long as my mode of transportation.

I could also use the horse to help plow. It used to be said that a farm without a milk cow and a horse wasn't much of a farm. I think a farm with sheep, chickens, and goats are more useful, and they eat less food which means I can keep more animals. I'd rather have 10 small animals than one horse. 

I bet, if things went sour, I could convince my neighbors to finish fencing their 20 acres.  They are using about 5, so that could mean 15 acres of pasture.  That could support a horse without having to suppliment the food. 
Many years ago, when my kids were young we had two horses.  One of my kids liked them and rode them. She also somewhat took care of them.  But I didn't think they were taken care of well enough and certainly not ridden often enough.  You can't have a horse and expect it to behave properly if you don't give it more than an hour or so every week.  That pasture was irrigated.  Just because it can eat from your pasture so you don't have to feed it doesn't mean you are taking care of it.  Anyway, I gave those horses to a friend.  About two weeks later one of the horses threw her kid and the kid broke his arm. 

So now I'm thinking about another.  I always said that I'd like another horse when I retired.  But retiring from one job and taking another isn't the same thing as retiring.  I don't have time, especially with this new job.  I leave before dawn and arrive home after dark.  That doesn't give me time for the horse during the four days I'm working.  The other three days I'd have time.  What about if the kids helped out during the four days I couldn't?  Forget that.  They can't even seem to make their beds or eat breakfast in the morning.  When they get home they have time to play but can't seem to find the time to collect the eggs.  So a horse?  No.  I turned it down.


  1. Sometimes sensible decisions are hard decisions, but in a survival situation, you have to go with your head, not your heart. You're totally right. But not now doesn't mean not ever, something could change and the time would be right to have a horse. Just not now.

  2. After getting to know some draft horses through a friend, I have thought it would be nice to have one and do farm chores with one. But it is not a cheap proposition, nor without issues.

    Still, wouldn't it be fun to plow a small lot with a horse?

  3. We have three horses. Two were rescues. My eldest daughter loves horses and takes care of ours, for the most part. Now during the winter they only get ridden on the weekends, but we have short winters here in Texas. She will be going to farrier school this year. She already trims their hooves but we want her professionally trained. Our plan is they will be useful for transportation, and farm wook. Many already ride their horses into town and their is a barn at the school for the kids horses. Pretty cool. I understand your choice though :)

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