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Discussion Starter · #28 ·

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You know, I read your comments about the horses being so small. Do you think that's genetics or just that they don't get optimal nutrition as they grow?

Maybe if you got a weanling from 12 hand parents, if it was well fed during the growing years, it might turn into a taller horse?

I actually have no idea, but I mention it because I raised my first foal some years back and he outgrew both his parents by at least 1 hand and 300 pounds. So I sometimes wonder if that was optimal nutrition (I fed him an actual foal feed) and maybe his parents just grew up on pasture without any supplemental feed or if he's just an anomaly of his genetics.

Maybe it's possible that the horses would grow bigger with optimal feeding and are just stunted? I have no idea what horses are fed there so I could be totally wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Wow, what an incredible place to retire. It's gorgeous! Congratulations on your ranch! :mrgreen:
Thanks! In answer to your question on horse size, I think it's both genetics and nutrition. The general attitude on large livestock here is that it should eat grass and reproduce. At the Ag stores here there is a wide variety of wonder feeds for chickens and hogs, animals with a high expected ROI. Sometimes there are feeds for cattle, but no feeds specifically for horses. And few to no people who would spend money on feeding a horse. I have found that many tropical grasses are difficult to digest. Ruminants can do well on them, if they get enough, but horses are another matter.

Natural selection will favor the horse that can survive on coarse fodder. That tends to be smaller bodied animals. I've started one hillside in koronivia grass that I got from the Department of Agriculture research farm. More nutritious than the grasses already on the place. But that will take years to reach full potential. Fortunately for me, I'm a small framed, scrawny hillbilly. I'm shooting for 14 hands, but can get by with slightly smaller. The same can't be said if I want to take my full size American or European friends riding.

But, I knew that going in. It's an adventure I signed up for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I had debated whether or not to build a gate at our entrance. Our livestock is behind an interior fence and gate. I wasn't sure of the message it might send to the neighbors.

Today, I noticed hoof prints leading out of our place. All our stock was accounted for, but I closed the gate. Later, this guy shows up looking for a handout.

Neighbors calf. Looking for a hand out. by Paul McKee, on Flickr
 
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