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
- March 10, 2015 at 9:22 am #85161
With limited space, time, and money, the challenge of transitioning from an aging team of working horses can be formidable. Does one wait until the horses are tired and failing, and need infirmary, requiring then to be relegated to pasture pets, or put down? Do you buy healthy trained replacements at high and questionable prices? Keep mares, or buy colts to train? There are so many possibilities.
When I started working my current team, I set my mind on making the transition when they got to be 12-15 years old. Not because I don’t enjoy a well worked team, but because I believe that horses in that age-range that have a wide and accomplished work experience are highly valued by folks just starting out. Horses such as this are accustomed to work, working with humans, and still have enough vigor to be useful in a start-up enterprise.
As I worked through their 12th and 13th year it became clear that I had not developed a good plan for transition. I have been working for the last ten years almost exclusively on my own property, where most of the work I do is not necessarily generating a lot of cash. As I gear up to increase my commercial activities again, this team, while handy, strong, and healthy, are on the down-slope, so I need to find a functional strategy for integrating a more juvenile team into the works.
Searching the marketplace, I have found many good horses, but prices are high, and truthfully status tends to be questionable. Also, over the years I have found that I possess reasonably good skill at working with horses with little, none, or degenerative training. It is very hard for me to actually contemplate spending market prices on good horses when I know that I can build the horses I want. Buying colts is a great way, and I have done that, but realistically I do not have the room, nor time to have colts around for 3-4 years prior to transition.
So my solution has been to try to find a team of horses in need of a good home. Preferably a team in the 4-6 YO range that present real challenges to most purchasers due to lack of handling, or mishandling. I recognize that most horses in that age range still have enough youth and resiliencies that most folks have not given up on them yet, so I have been willing to contemplate 6-10. A month ago I started putting out feelers and validating this search by giving it my voice.
A team of 7&8 YO Belgian geldings has presented themselves. They were originally rescued by Blue Star Equiculture (https://www.facebook.com/equiculture) of Palmer, MA., in December. They have been staying at a good home in Vermont since then, but now need to move on. So they will be coming to work with me.
This is a challenging time of year to bring in new animals to our farm, so we have made arrangements to board them at another farm nearby. Those farmers are new neighbors, moving to Vermont from Washington, to start a horse-powered diversified farm. This is not a team for novices, but while they are there this spring, they will help the new owners learn how large horses will fit into their infrastructure, and act as ambassadors to the world of keeping heavy horses.
They will be close enough that I will begin playing with them very soon, and by the time we have grass in our pastures, I expect to have them home. We also hope that the introductory period will be instructive for the boarders as well, so that within the year, when they get their own team, they will have a jumpstart on the process.
Thanks to a great network of folks with great interest and feedback, and doing great work, this transition has grown to be more than me finding another team of horses. Thanks to Pamela and Paul Rickenbach-Moshimer at Blue Star Equiculture, for the incredible work they do, Josh Kingsley for giving these horses the love, attention, and food they deserved, and Andrew Plotsky and Rita for being open to what the universe tosses out.
I’ll keep you posted as things progress, Carl
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by Carl Russell.
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