Horses in the Old West - Page 2

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Horses in the Old West

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        07-09-2014, 06:49 PM
    Super Moderator
    It's not usually part of the history lessons, but the availabiliyt of food for the horses has always been a real factor in any military campaign involving cavalry.

    Can you imagine the logistics for really large military movements , such as the American Civil war or any of the 18th or 19th century wars of Europe where thousands of horses were needed.?

    If you didn't have food for the hroses, you didn't have an army.

    That was one reason that Chief Joseph's band of Nez Perce indians were able to outrun the US army for such a great distance during the summer; their horses were used to living off the land and there was plenty of forage. The Army animals were used to being corn fed, and when they moved quickly, they outran their food suppliers and they struggled to maintain energy on local forage, whereas the Indian ponies flourished. But, when winter came, the indian ponies were on such lean times (they were usually not ridden much inthe winter) while the big Army mounts had corn wagons to keep them in calories.
    This isn't the only reason Chief Joseph was forced to surrender, but it played a factor.
    boots likes this.
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        07-09-2014, 07:46 PM
    Subbing to reply later
        07-09-2014, 10:51 PM
    Okay, now that I'm on an actual computer that won't die every 2 minutes...

    Even back in the "olden" days, they had the machines to cultivate, harvest, and transport hay. Not in nearly as much bulk as we can do now, but it was done. Of course, in some areas it was more complicated because the terrain wasn't good enough to provide ample grass to bale hay. There were a great many horses in those days that lived off of scrub brush and yucca plants and whatever oats or corn or barley their owner could buy at the local mercantile store.

    All these pictures were taken in the area surrounding my home town (where I still live).

    And, as Allison and Bsms pointed out, the horses in those days weren't the fat slick shiny things we're used to seeing now. The old horses were much more rangey. Not as much muscle mass, big bones and feet, not real tall, but a heart the size of Texas and guts 20 miles long LOL.

    What the average range mustang looks like is more similar in appearance to the cow horses back in those days.

    Sure, there were some nicer looking horses, but many of them were scrubby looking little things.
        07-10-2014, 01:01 AM
    Just wanted to thank everyone who answered and posted super cool pictures. It's too easy for some of us to forget our not too distant past. I appreciate the history lesson.
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    smrobs, COWCHICK77 and boots like this.
        07-10-2014, 08:59 PM
    Green Broke
    Cool thread!

    I happen to have photocopies of photos that were taken on the ranch we work on, some of them showing haying. Here in northern NV and Utah Mormon hay derricks were commonly used. Here on this ranch I believe they still used teams to hay well into the 1970's along with tractors. And used teams in the winter to pull hay slips for feeding cows in the 1990's.

    This is the same hay derrick today that has been left in a stack yard. We still use stack yards to keep hay in the field but cows and horses out. We do not use barns to store hay.

    Beaver slides were also used.
    (this is a Google image)
    I was told that the "hot teams" were used to run the Beaver slides since it was constant, fast and hard work running the rake up the slide to stack the hay. Once they were gentle and broke enough they were moved onto the wagons or other hay equipment.

    At one time this ranch had over 500 draft horses for haying and moving the wagon camps for the cowboy and haying crews. The haying crew also stayed out on the wagons in camps. In some places you can still see the old wagon trails and camps that might of had some small corrals or at least hitch rails for harnessing teams to hay the nearby meadows.

    All the horses here were turned out to graze and wrangled every morning to catch what was needed for work that day. We still use the same practice for our saddle horses.

    In the picture below saddle horses are being brought in, the saddle barn on the right is the same barn we use to this day.

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