Discussion in 'Vehicle & Transportation' started by TLC, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. TLC

    TLC Guest

    I think It important to get conversation about alternative transportations, Horses are good, however, its difficult to get others to understand, support (tolerate) use of their property so to keep riding off the road. It is very dangerious riding on the hwy. I have started dicussing with neighbors so to use my horses to pick up supplies, specially during the gas increase.
  2. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

    I live in a small town with ranches all nearby and never see anyone use a horse to get into town. What would you do with it to go into a store? The one horse ties I ever see are as decoration in front of all the old 1900's mansions.

  3. Hank

    Hank Guest

    You might need a horse lock to prevent horse thievery.
  4. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    A well trained horse can stand tied most any place that has a decent tie spot. If the store has trees near by, you could tie to the tree. Additionally if you are headed to the store, you would probably want to either take two horses (one to ride and one to pack home the stuff you just bought) or you would want a horse and nice wagon that will hold the stuff you just bought. the key here is a well trained horse. You wouldn't want one that spooks at every thing to be tied up at the store. I think the totally best idea is to have a horse and wagon, take a partner, have one of you stay out with the horse and watch the horse and wagon and one go buy the goods for the both of you. Then you load up the wagon and head home. Remember that a horse pulling a wagon on average won't travel much further than 10-15 miles per day. So if you live that far from a store then don't expect it to only take a few hours.
  5. ke4sky

    ke4sky ke4sky

    Gators, garden tractors, ATVs, riding lawn lawn mowers

    I've seen a guy near my place in West Virginia who doesn't own a car, who lost his driver's license on a DUI, now rides into the Walmart in town on a John Deere Gator ATV.

    I've also seen newspaper articles where there is a group that actually races riding lawn mowers over a 12-mile course. Wonder what kind of mileage they get?

    The Gators are a but pricey, as much as a used pickup for farm use, but they are kinda cute. Understand there is now an off-road military ruggedized all-wheel drive version they use for humping arty rounds.
    John Deere Gator Utility Vehicle Product Reviews
  6. trailboss

    trailboss Member

    Bit of information about wagons and horses/mules

    Hi, I am new here and as such you do not know me. But I do have experience with horses/mules and wagons and travel. I have been on three 250 mile wagon train rides, in my younger years did competitive trail riding for several yrs and resently have been on several 100 mile wagon train rides.

    The thought that you can only travel 10-15 miles a day is a valid one if you are traveling west with a fully loaded conastoga wagon, carrying no feed and will have to travel several thousand miles.

    However there is no reason a team in good condition (that is used frequently with muscles built up and lungs conditioned) could not pull a light wagon 30-40 miles in a day easily. Even now my mules and I can go into town to Dairy Queen (12 miles one way) and back in about 1/2 day. They aren't worn out either. And that is at a brisk walk not a trot or gallop. (Never gallop a team unless you are extremely experienced!)

    Think stage coach, they traveled more than 10-15 miles. I know they had waystations but they were not every 10-15 miles apart either. It depends on the breed of horse, the weight they are pulling, and their condition and the condition of the roads (hilly, flat, rough, smooth).

    TLC has a good point about being on the hwy. It is very dangerous. That is why I stick to back roads. However I have also found having a rider behind and in front with orange flags helps slow fast moving traffic down as they pass. The riders can get off the side of the road but can also wave the flags and alert drivers something is up a head and slow down. Slow moving vehicle signs on the wagon are also a must.

    My mules don't mind fast moving cars or trucks that pop their air breaks. But for some reason a kid on roller skates or a bicycle becomes a mule eating monster.

    As far as taking them to a store...unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt no one will mess with them do not tie them up and then go in the store. Some people are just plain stupid when it comes to animals. For the animals sake take someone to stay with them. It doesn't matter how well trained the animal is the people you have to worry about. :eek:

    They are easier to steal too. So greater consequences had to be placed to keep people from stealing them hence the hanging of a horse thief.

    However I would like to caution people that horses and mules are not machines and there is much to learn about their care, personalities, and how they react with people. This knowledge is not something that can be over looked or learned as you go without some serious consequences to you and the animals.

    Horses and mules are not the same and do not respond to the same type of handling. So if you are a horse person you still have to learn about mules.

    There is a reason they were used for hundreds of years as transportation. There are many pros as well as cons. They can be wonderful to work with if you know what you are doing. I would suggest you google wagon trains. E-mail some of the folks that go on them and pick their brains for ideas. There are also some very good books on the subject. Any book on competivite trail riding will give lots of good information about conditioning and using horses over miles even if you never compete.

    The feeding, care, and management of a working horse is different than a pleasure horse.

    On the Butterfield Wagon Train ride I used to go on people from several states would come each year to go the 250 miles in two weeks. Several lay over days included. On the 100 mile ride here in GA people have come as far away as New York to ride on it. There is also a big wagon train ride in AL every year. So the knowledge is out there. And people still enjoy their teams and horses for travel. I am sure there are over 100 people on each ride I have ever been on.

    I would encourage you to seriously consider this type of transportation. Learn, get a horse, but do not think any horse will pull a wagon. They have to be broke to do it. Again not everyone can break horses to pull. I have seen several huge wreaks and much torn up equipment because someone thought all you have to do it hitch them up. :rolleyes: Not the horses fault but the people.....

    FYI from one old mule skinner. :D
  7. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    The appropriate term is " well conditioned" and most horses are not conditioned well enough to travel that far.

    Additionally when you think Stage coach, there were usually 4-6 horses per coach making that run and then the horses were most often rotated at the next stop. And Mark Twain's own description of a Stage ride was a change of horses every ten miles.
    Riding The Overland Stage, 1861
    Even the pony express stations were between 10-15 miles apart.
    DesertUSA - The Legend of Wells Fargo, and The Pony Express
    Butterfield overland stage covered
    Mid-Missouri Civil War Round Table:Butterfield Overland Mail
    That equates to an average milage of 14.8 miles between stations.

  8. trailboss

    trailboss Member

    Dunappy, If I may ask, do you own horses and ride? Or is this information gathered from reading only? Not trying to argue just wondering? ;)

    From my understanding frequent stage coach changes were due to the fast pace (remember I said brisk walk), heavy loads (light wagon), and rough terrian (I believe we were talking about roads to town).

    But just because there was a station didn't mean there were always horses available. Raids (stolen horses), horses ill, lame, or just loose could prevented team changes.

    You are right most horses are not conditioned today. But within two months most any healthy horse can be conditioned to make 30-40 miles in a day. Horses walk on average 4-6 mph. At the slower 4 mph they would make 40 miles in 9 hours. (Given time to rest after 4 hours). At 6 mph they would be there in about 7.5 hrs. This is a walk!!!

    I traveled over 250 of those Butterfield Mail Route miles. The wagon train had one day every yr. that was 32 miles. It was an all day ride and we were tired at the end of the day but not one of those "soft" horses or teams didn't make it. And they were all ready to go the next day after a good fed and nights rest.

    Sorry my friend it is possible even with todays horses. Most of the riders on these trains were weekend riders only. That is all the conditioning their horses got. Scheduled rest stops, water when needed, and knowing how to care for their animals is what makes it possible.

    Mark Twain said their trip took eight days and three hours - and was seven hundred and ninety-eight miles! That is almost 100 miles per day. At that speed and distants with 27 hundred pounds of mail alone. That is not counting 4 men and their luggage and the weight of the stage coach. Hence the need for frequent changes of horses. This was not a walk, not a light load, and not a one day trip on smooth roads. You have to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

    Again pony express was all about speed no horse can run dead out for miles and miles. They had to change frequently to maintain "speed". And the terrain those horses had to travel was not smooth roads.

    The Butterfield Mail route was also all about speed. 2,975 mile route into 200 way stations and relay posts took 25 days to travel. That is over a 100 miles per day. Loaded stage coaches with speed as their goal takes frequent changes of horses.

    Kind of like a jet fighter plane with no pay load can fly a lot farther and longer than one loaded before it needs fuel.

    Since I have done it. And so have many others on the rides I have been on. I will say again. There is no reason a team pulling a light wagon can't go 30-40 miles in a day.

    But if you want to make it a 4 day trip be my guest. I'm sure your horses won't mind. :)
  9. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    I've owned horses for 30 plus years and been around horses for over 40 years. I have worked at race tracks across the country, competed in multiple horse related events including endurance riding. I've worked as a vet tech and worked with all kinds of horses from Competitve horses down to the family pet horse. I even have a degree in horses (Equine Science)

    I don't have a problem with the statement that a horse CAN travel 30-40 miles per day. The problem is that NOT all horses can do that EVEN well conditioned horses. You are stating that in 9 hours at a walk a horse can travel 40 miles. That is the EXCEPTION and not the rule.
    The overall average speed most horses walk (remember the term AVERAGE) is 4 miles per hour. Gaited horses such as Walkers and fox trotters and saddlebreds can average a faster speed of 4-7 mph.

    Approximate Speeds of Gaits:

    Gait Small Pony Large Pony Horse
    Walk 3 mph 3.5mph 3.7 to 4 mph
    Slow Trot 4 mph 4.5 mph 5 mph
    Medium Trot 5-6 mph 6-7.5 mph 6-8 mph
    Fast Trot 6-7 mph 7.5-10 mph 9-11 mph
    Canter 8-9 mph 10-14 mph 12-15 mph
    Hand Gallop 12 mph 14-22 mph 15-25 mph
    But you are also missing several other important factors in your calculations.

    1. Weather- Either Extreme ( cold or heat) will decrease the distance that is traveable per day. You walk a horse 30-40 miles a day in the middle of the heat and humidity of the deep south and you are likely to kill the horse.

    2. Musculature of the horse affects endurance of the horse. A heavily muscled horse has a more difficult time traveling the longer distances then a leaner muscled horse. Heavy muscles in a horse affect how well they can dissipate heat. Long lean muscled horses do better in endurance and dissipate their heat better.
    3. You cannot travel 30-40 miles per day indefinately with the horse unless you plan on breaking the horse down.

    4. Your 9 hour time is not including the "rest time" because 4x9=36 so you'd only get 36 miles and that isn't counting any of your rest time. yes a well conditioned endurance horse can do 30-40 miles in even less time, but not every horse is a well conditioned endurance horse. and that horse is traveling at least 6-8 mph on average the entire time.

    5. You are also miscommunicating the travel time. Yes the travel time might be 9-10 hours, but with resting time and 'relief breaks" for humans etc you are looking at a 12-14 hour total day of travel. Some times this is just not feasable, It may be perfectly fine for The upper plains states in the middle of the summer, but it certainly is not feasable for the south, and the south west in the summer and definately not feasable for most places in the middle of the winter.
  10. trailboss

    trailboss Member

    Ok I see where you are coming from.

    Since I live in the deep south and have for over 20 yrs now I will say again if you had to travel. I am not taking about just to save a few bucks on gas but had to travel 30-40 miles a little common sense could be applied and you would travel at night while it is cool. Rest in the heat of the day. Which is why in my first post I stated you needed to learn about horses and their care before you tried this type of transportation.

    I grew up in Mo and often rode my horse in the snow in the winter. My favorite thing was to pull the nephews around on a sled with my horse. Again you have to know what you are doing to not injure their lungs or strain muscles. In extremely deep snow I am sure 30-40 miles are not possible. But as my father was born in Canada and often talked of the team taking them to school in the winter I know that travel didn't stop because the weather got bad. (blizzards were the exception) Yes it slowed and you didn't travel if you didn't have to but the skill is possible to learn .

    Some how I didn't see TLC's original statement as meaning year round for every trip to town, and going every day. If that was what he was talking about I agree it not possible with one team. Most people in extreme weather would take the truck/car if it is available. However on a nice day it is still possible.

    All the old "wagon" type breeds were fairly heavily muscled. Only a few of them survive today. But I have used a Halflinger (heavy muscles) to a one horse wagon pulling two people and he did fine. I would not use them in extreme heat but then that is were knowing what you are doing before you do it helps. :rolleyes:

    I know folks here that raise Clydesdales. They seem to agree that 30 miles would be doable for their teams as long as it wasn't done in a race. I have seen Belgians and Percherons on rides before. So I know they will do the 32 miles.

    No body is suggesting 30-40 miles per day indefinitely. It is one day. One time to pick up supplies. How many times do you go to town to pick up supplies? Again I did state horses are not have to learn how to care for them.

    Ok it will take 10.5 hours with a slow horse. Are you happy? I think you didn't read my first post well. I said horses in good condition. I didn't say pull the old nag that has been out in the pasture for the last 15 yrs and hitch her up for a 30-40 mile trip every day for the rest of her life!

    I was using the 32 mile day of the Butterfield ride as a gage. It was always done in 10 hours with 2-30 min breaks one in the moring and afternoon and an hour lunch break.

    But again I have no problem with you only traveling 10-15 miles a day.

    But I have seen Shetland ponies to Belgians and every kind of grade between the two do that 32 miles in 10 hours. And they were all on the road again the next day for another 18 miles before they had a lay over day. And the shetlands had done it for 8 yrs and they were far from broken down. They pulled a small wagon and an old lady.

    It is just hard for me to believe it can't be done when I have been on rides where is it done. But hey what do I know....:D
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  11. Davis Willy

    Davis Willy Guest

    I am not familiar with using horses as a means of transportation. Would you have some sort if large basket attched somehow or would you pull a trailer type thing after the horse? Horses can go constantly for a really long time without getting too tired right? Because I am sure that most stores would be quite a few miles away from your hideout.
  12. cpu

    cpu Guest

    If you walked a horse to its maximum distance for the day and you had a dog companion with you, would the dog be able to keep up all day or would you have to carry the dog?
  13. raMONA

    raMONA Guest

    It probably depends on a number of things such as the weather, the kind of dog, the age of the dog, and most importantly how far the distance is.
  14. trailboss

    trailboss Member

    Here are some links of people that actually ride long distances... there is lots of information about using horses for traveling distance as well as the packs, panners, and other gear you would need.

    The Long Riders' Guild

    Packing in on Horses and Mules

    Even the Marines are learning how valuable a pack horse can be.
    Marines Plan on More Horsing Around

    A large breed of dog in good shape could travel with a horse. Think sled dogs of Alaska. But I wouldn't try it with a chihuahua. I have seen Jack Russel Ter. that have learned to ride on the rump of a horse even at a gallop. And they enjoyed going "the distance" on the horses.

    Here is some of the equipment like panners, pack saddles, ect.

    Choose From One Of Our Very Own Custom Trail Saddles
    Outfitters Supply, horse and mule trail riding and pack gear
    Affordable Western Saddles and Horse Tack

    If you are serious about learning there are packers out west that are willing to teach you.

    However packing is not the same as using a wagon. And a horse can pull a lot more weight for a longer distance than he can carry it. You have to be able to weigh the packs and not over load the horse.

    Packing the load correctly is harder to do than learning to drive a team. And you have more chances for a wreak with an improperly packed horse than you do with a wagon not loaded correctly although both can be dangerous.

    Terrain is the biggest reason for packing. I thought it was interesting that the Marines have reverted to pack horses for the moutains of Afghanistan.

    A wagon can be made from two rear axle of a small car. Keep the springs and attach your wagon box. The front is best made with a fifth wheel type arrangment that can cut under the box. Otherwise it is easy to flip a wagon over.

    You can even hook up the brakes and use them for the wagon. Which every wagon needs breaks if you are in any kind of hills. The horse will need help holding the weight of the wagon off them going down hills. A heavy wagon can push a horse off their feet on a steep enough hill.

    Harnessing a team though is an art form all its own. Know how to properly adjust, breeching, (the brakes) the collar, hames and tugs (what he pulls or more correctly pushes the wagon with) as well as all the straps that hold it together for a fit that allow maximum comfort and function.

    Lots to learn here if you want to use a horse for transportation. But it is do-able and can be very rewarding.

    I might add the temperment of a pack horse needs to be steady, intelligent, and "bomb proof". This is not the place for a young inexperienced horse. Those you ride...:D
  15. poolboy

    poolboy Guest

    Is it illegal to ride horses on the sidewalk in most cities?
  16. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    Depends on the individual state. I've never been stopped riding my horses anywhere in town in New Mexico and neither has anyone I've ever known. But other places may have more strict laws on that sort of thing. Here in NM they even have communities that have desiganted horse paths.

  17. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    Depends on your dog. Don't expect a chihuahua to keep up with a horse all day long. Don't expect a fat and lazy dog to keep up with a horse all day long. Don't expect an old dog to keep up with a horse all day long. But some dogs can and will go three to four times the distance the horse goes in a day. I have a friend who regularly rides out with her dogs. They go off running rabbits and come back and go back out etc. If we ride 10 miles, the dogs probably went 20 during that same time.

    However, my friend keeps some of her dogs locked up back at home because they just can't keep up.

  18. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    Not while pulling a pack string however that's only asking for serious trouble.

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2008
  19. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    There are all different kinds of "wagons" and carts that you can hook to a horse but it is recommended that you get training from a good instructor before you try and drive a horse.

    You can also ride and pack.

    But no a horse cannot consistently go for a really long time without getting tired. It depends on many different things. Weather, and conditioning of the horse are important factors, but there are multiple factors that also affect the horses including their feeding routines over time, the amount of water available during the trip, and the list just keeps going.

  20. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    I said
    Which can be backed up by science.
    Muscle fiber type composition and fiber size in successfully and unsuccessfully endurance-raced horses -- Rivero et al. 75 (4): 1758 -- Journal of Applied Physiology
    Just because a heavier mucled horse CAN and HAS traveled the distances doesn't mean that they are 'well suited" for that type of travel. That is the reason we have different breeds and types these days, because some horses are BETTER suited for one thing over another.

    I never said it wasn't "Doable" only that a heavier muscled horse would generally have more difficulty in traveling the same distances as a leaner muscled horse.