Why are horses used as working animals instead of oxen? - Page 2
 
 

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Why are horses used as working animals instead of oxen?

This is a discussion on Why are horses used as working animals instead of oxen? within the Driving forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Moose with harness
  • Canadian moose used as draft animal

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    11-08-2011, 10:50 PM
  #11
Foal
Cattle were used for the pioneers because they were cheaper to purchase, moved a bigger load, easier to keep fed on grass or local browse than horses. They still are all those things, people in every continent use cattle as draft animals.

Horses can be flighty, harder to use, pull smaller loads. They are faster movers, but tend to be more expensive to purchase and own than cattle are.

There are probably almost as many cattle being used for work in poor countries as horses, buy you just don't notice them. Some places, like Africa, horses just don't survive the diseases because they are not vaccinated. Heck even the people don't always get vaccinated there!

I think when a choice is available, people chose horses because of the speed advantage in getting crops to market.

Oxen are very popular in the North East, lots of folks raise and use them these days.
     
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    02-02-2012, 08:08 PM
  #12
Weanling
Have you ever tried to train a cow?

Horses are a lot easier to train then cows.
     
    02-03-2012, 10:41 PM
  #13
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by yadlim    
Horses are a lot easier to train then cows.
I think it depends on who is working with the animals. Cows (females) are not oxen (aged steers), have quite different temperments and acceptance levels in situations. Cows are not usually driven, labor takes away from their milk production, the main "purpose" for being kept. Being tied to a load, oxen usually are less likely to run far or very fast, which is unlike driven horses.

Having had both horses and cattle (though we didn't drive the cattle), they can both be trained, just takes different techiniques and your choice of how hard to work with each species.

Our 4-H cattle were very easy to handle, since they got handled DAILY. Led all over, brushed, hooves cleaned and trimmed just standing. They got tied to stand or practiced loading in the stock trailer. Cattle loaded as nice as our horses do! All come when called, are very cooperative. Training takes time and dedication, but is not really hard. Working with them keeps them coopertive, thinking YOU are the Alpha of the herd, needs to be consistant handling and done daily.

Our horses are NICE horses, very easy to handle and accepting of new things, good workers ridden or driven. We work at keeping them fun to use, so our standards of expectation are quite high. Again, not hard to train, just takes that daily handling.

So I would never discount how capable cattle could be for the pioneers of the past. They were the most common draft animal for moving westward with the family covered wagons. Freighters went to the equines (mules and horses) for speed, made more money getting loads delivered faster. Cattle STILL are the most common draft animal in most undeveloped nations, for many good reasons.
     
    02-03-2012, 11:00 PM
  #14
Super Moderator
When I read about moose pulling wagons, I thought...NO WAY!! So, I went to educate myself. Who would have thought?










Yes, you do learn something EVERY day!
     
    02-04-2012, 02:18 AM
  #15
Yearling
.... I'm going to buy a giraffe and make it do my bidding. GOOD BYE, GAS PRICES!
     
    02-04-2012, 09:32 AM
  #16
Showing
I have a pic of a modern fellow harnessing up a huge bull moose and one can see and almost feel the special relationship between them. I don't know how to post pics but one will find it by googling Alaskan moose in harness.
     
    02-06-2012, 07:46 AM
  #17
Banned
Horses are able to do a lot more on a greater variety of surfaces and at faster pace.

If that's what you want and you can afford a horse then a horse is better.

However there's a heck of a lot of cattle breeds used as beasts of burden and for transportation where horses are too expensive and difficult to manage
     
    02-06-2012, 08:16 AM
  #18
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintsPwn    
.... I'm going to buy a giraffe and make it do my bidding. GOOD BYE, GAS PRICES!

I have one for sale.... What Duffy may lack in some height areas, she makes up with ears and neck.
PaintsPwn and DraftyAiresMum like this.
     
    02-06-2012, 01:07 PM
  #19
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintsPwn    
.... I'm going to buy a giraffe and make it do my bidding. GOOD BYE, GAS PRICES!
And hello, astronomical hay bills!! You thought feeding a horse was expensive.
     
    02-06-2012, 01:12 PM
  #20
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
I have a pic of a modern fellow harnessing up a huge bull moose and one can see and almost feel the special relationship between them. I don't know how to post pics but one will find it by googling Alaskan moose in harness.
I believe this is the pic you're referring to?
xlionesss and yadlim like this.
     

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