Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Market Place › Buy/Sell Livestock › Thinking about looking for a new team…
Tagged: team for sale
- January 12, 2015 at 9:02 am #84521
I am thinking about transitions…. I am currently working 13 year old horses. They are in good order, but I would like to be working younger horses in the next year or two.
I will be looking for 2-4, maybe even 6, year old renegades. 17 handsish….1700-2000#…..The horse you bought that you can’t do anything with, or haven’t had the time… The one that won’t lift a foot, or won’t stand, or tries to run away every time you hitch them.. That one, or two….. I’ll give them a good working life, and may even be able to pay something for them.
Please feel free to message me, or email, as I am not trying to make people air their dirty laundry, I just know those horses are out there , and everyone wants the other ones, the bomb-proofers. I want horses that I can re pattern, and which are affordable.
Thank you, CarlJanuary 12, 2015 at 11:13 pm #84529
There are several reasons for these thoughts. First is, the older I get the more I want younger horses. Second, if I can get the young horses I want, then I want to be able to move my current team while they are still young enough to bring real value to the new owners. I am in the beginning stages of formulating this change, and I have a lot of work fog this team to do while I build the new one…..January 12, 2015 at 11:49 pm #84530
“the older I get the more I want younger horses.”
That statement is just begging for some exposition. 🙂
Hope you find them.
Mine are now 15 & coming 10. I am wondering if I will have more when they are gone…
MarkJanuary 13, 2015 at 9:43 am #84531
I think I can see where Carl is going with this. If you plan to keep working horses what is the most economical way to get replacements at the time you want them? While breeding is an option for folks with mares, I would not always say it is the most economical. If your operation is big enough to include a working stud, plus a few mares (so one might be foaling while you are working others) it could be a arraignment. I think of breeding my own young stock as more of a once in a life time chance to make something just as I wanted it. My young mules are not the cheapest way to get a new team of mules.
I think the idea of looking for horses that have created problems for their current owners is an interesting one. There is really nothing “wrong” with many of these horses, other than they are looking for / need a different kind of leader. Carl, I am guessing, figures he might get a great horse or team, based on his ability to figure out the animals.
Once my mules are a little older and all working I would like to see the number of drafts on the farm going up every spring and down in the fall. I would try to keep my base 4 or 5 and add a green team each spring and sell them in the fall. Hopefully improving them along the way. It would be an interesting experiment.January 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm #84532
That is it to some degree Donn. I know from experience that at some point I will be looking for more power and stamina from my team than they will have. At that point in time I will want to transition. In the past I have buried my horses after I pretty much used them up here.
There are some amazing attributes of a well seasoned team, but balanced against the retirement costs of an aged team that has past their resale value, I am more interested in moving these animals while they are in that sweet spot. Especially since there are so many people looking for horses like that.
Most people do not want to work green horses. Many horses go unworked, or develop behavioral problems that end up limiting their effectiveness. When looking for a replacement team I am astounded by the cost, and I know enough about horses to know that I will need to build even the best tea, from the ground up. Basically good horse flesh is more valuable to me than the supposed ground work.
My objectives are not to get horses that are trained to conditioned response, so I usually need to break that down, and start over with creating a more momentary communication…… So rather than trying to negotiate the ads for perfectly broke horses, I am looking for horses that clearly and admittedly have no conditioning…..and therefore are more affordable, or free.
Mark, as far as getting older and wanting younger horses, the more I know about horses, the more I enjoy the youthful vigor, the available power, the spunk. I use horses like an extension of my body…..fleshing my will through the reins(Berry)….. And while I enjoy being able to look back over my shoulder at the log, or watching the soil roll up against the potatoe plants with barely a conscious thought toward the horse when using my older horses, I also am elivened by the power I can direct, the vitality I hold in the slightest grip when working young ones.
January 13, 2015 at 5:29 pm #84534
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Carl Russell.
Carl, I have a sixteen y/o mare that will be perfect for you! Just kidding; having just come in from fooling with two youngsters I know what you mean.January 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm #84535
back in ’06, I bought a team of two/three year olds in mt. hope at the fall auction and trucked them home thru a buffalo blizzard, wow!
anyway, they were going to be my “last” team. they are tenish now and right at the top of their game, getting stronger by the moment. I, on the other hand get older, slower and weaker by the same clock. this troubles me at times seeing them sorta wasted on an old guy, but they behave well and do whatever is expected of them.
they didn’t always, but I broke them slowly one on one with this old mare who would or could not run. and she beat them up when they misbehaved. she was a blessing, still alive and out breaking other colts for other teamsters.
just some odd thoughts passing through my mind on the subject.January 14, 2015 at 1:58 pm #84559
I appreciate Carl’s perspective and frankly acquired both my horses in almost the same way. I joke that I got exactly what I paid for which was almost nothing. But honestly it comes down to expectations and what you do with what you have. My first draft was 10 when I got him and not in very good shape, under weight and infested with mites. I could not even lift his feet for more that a second or two. Once the medical issues were straightened out, the two of us eventually got on the same page I could not ask for a better working partner.
My second draft is a sawdust head and a work in progress but he listens, stands and pulls. He was also free. After almost a year with him we are doing much better and I suspect may even end up where I am with his teammate. What else could you ask for?
I had limited draft experience when I got started and have a lot to learn still, but I made the best of what was available and affordable and would look to do exactly the same in the future.
I have nothing against someone who wants a broke, bombproof team, I just couldn’t afford one. Knowing what little I do now I would still take the project horse and accept the challenges that comes with that.
EdJanuary 14, 2015 at 5:16 pm #84564
“My objectives are not to get horses that are trained to conditioned response, so I usually need to break that down, and start over with creating a more momentary communication…… ” CR
As usual this got me thinking. Sometimes I like to translate Carl’s words into my own, just to see how well I understand them, and also because I often glean something I will repeat. So here is what I was thinking as I was stumbling around outside today.
What does Carl want to “teach” these horses once he brings them home? Gee and haw, whoa and go, are all well and good but it is not that. It is who is Carl Russell? From the minute They arrive this is what the horses are trying to figure out, and Carl will help them. It doesn’t matter if they are working in harness, on a rope or loose in the barn. You can start with “perhaps you have never met anyone like me”. Then it will go into ” I am calm, determined, hard working, fair, consistent as I can be, patient to a point.”
When a horse “learns” these things they will respond to them with trust. They will accept his leadership. Compared to this gee and haw are really small potatoes; and this is what I think Carl plans to “teach” when he brings home a green team.
Ramblings of a one handed man! Stitches out yesterday – so look out I am coming back!January 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm #84566
Interesting thoughts here. This line of thought has come up for me as well lately, working a team of horses in their mid-teens. They are excellent horses but I do not think I will get more than 5 or so more years from them in terms of commercial work. Not sure if I am going to look for another pair of 10 year olds or there abouts or whether it would be good to go younger. I don’t have time right now for a project, with too much work to really change the pace. However, I may be at a point in the near future where I will need to do just that. I am working now with two other teamsters with 5 year old teams. It is interesting to see the differences between the teams on the ground. My pair is a better tool for production but when those younger horses get some time and experience they are sure to put more wood on the landing. Not sure where I will be headed, but fun to think about the future!
-BradJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm #84568
Im in the same boat as Carl, My dad had a horse trader friend who would give us leads on cheap horses and we would go pick em up. It never really mattered if the horse was broke or not they all get treated the same way under our care. I sold my last haflinger to a friend and now Im keeping my eyes peeled for some cheap project “full size” drafts. Its even harder on the farm to try and place a $ value on a horse because if it is going to make me money it has to be cheap from the start.
Good luck Carl and if the offers start rolling in heavy you can send some of those project horses over here to NY.
JaredJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:52 pm #84569
About time we got a hot stove topic! 🙂
MarkJanuary 15, 2015 at 6:31 am #84571
Come on Mark, you have more to contribute than that…. 😛January 15, 2015 at 7:24 am #84572
Donn you pretty much nailed it.
Ed’s post really made me think back a bit, which was not really where I wa coming from, however I have never brought home a “broke” horse.
The first horse I bought had been a project for some guy that loved to watch horse pulls. Someone convinced him to buy a big horse, but he was always too busy doing something else. The horse looked good, and was easy to handle, but knew nothing. He was not a renegade, but I had to teach him everything…. As I learned it. He turned out to be a fantastic work horse.
My second horse had been worked, but by somewhat misguided back-to-the-landers. She had been resistant, and they sent her to the neighbors who hooked her into a sap sled, and when she got hung up in the brook, took the two-handers to her. She was angry, and not cooperative, very distrustful. She was probably the horse with which I learned the first of the biggest lessons. I knew I could do it, but was ill informed and impatient, but persistent. It took me a few years, but I really did learn how to show a horse that I was trustworthy, and she worked for me for 21 years.
Third was a 3 month old Brabant stud colt. Butter in my hands. Started playing with him right away, and the horse never knew what hit him. He just grew up in communication with me. He really showed me how the horse becomes an extension of my body, and the manifestation of my intention.
I bought the bay gelding Ted as a 3 year old. Green, barely halter broke, and kind of nervous. He is thirteen now, and working with interns. Not the most ardent worker I have ever had, but generally a good solid contributor.
The blind blonde mare is the only horse I have bought that actually had some foundation. She was 4 years old when I got her, from a 14 year old young woman who had started Parelli work with her. She didn’t know work, or harnesses, but she had a very solid foundation of momentary communication. Even today as dead blind, she is probably the most responsive horse I have ever driven. She is thirteen and in great shape, but I am skeptical about how much more challenging I can be with her without getting into trouble. She does amazingly well in the woods, but obviously I have to be entirely responsible for seeing for her. I will keep using her to some degree, but I cannot utilize her full physical capabilities.
The other 13 year old mare I have now had a great foundation put under her by a renowned horseman from the northeast kingdom, but she had been a pasture pet, and allowed too many habits over the last ten years by her last two owners. She basically became very spoiled, resistant, and was running away in harness. She has come around nicely, but still has a way to go to regain her trust during work. She is powerful, and motivated, so she is fun to work, but she is definitely not a horse that I would pass on to someone else at this point.
When I started working Kate and Ted as 5-6 year olds, I quickly felt the youthful vigor, as I had been regularly working a 15 year old gelding and a mare in her upper 20’s. At that point I decided that I would make an earlier transition with these horses. Because as I listed above, I want to be able to keep working at a certain level without having to stop to shift gears. I had four horse, two old, and two young, but when in harness they don’t average out. You basically have two old comfortable horses with reduced capability, and two horses with vigor that require more guidance. (Like Brad described)
Clearly this is something we all think about, and as a community looking to support the sustainable use of draft power, it is an important consideration. I don’t have the room, nor work to support any more horses than I have. I cannot wrap my head around the management of stallions and pregnant mares (not from an intellectual point of view, but from a practical standpoint). I also have seen enough horses in harness to realize that I will do best if I set out to build my next team, regardless of their foundation. I also have not really gotten to the point where I can just go throw down the cash to buy a pair of 4-5 year old horses in today’s market. But at the same time, the time required to get 2 year olds really will be a cost of distraction, not to mention that perfectly sound manageable young horses are nearly as expensive as broke ones.
So I am just in the formative stages of trying to visualize this transition. I know there are horses out there that are too much for their owners. Unfortunately many owners in that predicament don’t admit it until the horse is around 10, and I would like to get back closer to 4…….
We’ll see where it goes from here, CarlJanuary 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm #84576
“as a community looking to support the sustainable use of draft power”
I think there is more in this statement than Carl intended. If the draft animal power world as a whole is to be “sustainable” new teamsters have to join to replace the teamsters that are hanging up their lines. New teamsters need seasoned reliable teams to help them on their new found journey because as we all know “green + green = black and blue”. What better source of these teams than people that have reached a level of horsemanship where they trully understand their working partners and can make them “an extension of my body, and the manifestation of my intention”. It is kind of like the circle of life; good horseman make solid teams and pass them on to aspiring teamsters that have good experiences and stick with it until they become good horseman and pass solid teams on to other aspiring teamsters. Just my humble opinion for what its worth.
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