The second link is a study researching the budgets for an Amish farmer, and although that may not be particularly relevant, the information about the commonality of Amish farms and shows the horse and human labor requirements conducted on a regular basis.
However, they are definitely most important on smaller farms where giant machines cannot be pulled by horses. (http://doubleheartranch.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/forecart4.jpg)
Larger horses are able to do more difficult work, such as cultivating a field. Similarly, for even heavier loads, a bunch of strong horses can be grouped together to carry out a certain task. Here is an example of a horse doing such a task.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FiH7LsSYzU All in all, they provide a fairly efficient way to get difficult tasks done that would take a lot of manpower or electricity. They are cost-efficient and environmentally proficient as well.
In my opinion the horse's role in agriculture is for labor. The horse has been used for plowing, seeding, and pulling wagons/carts. I think that horses are an important part of our agriculture because people have been able to create a working relationship with these animals more than any other animal. Now, there is a lot more technology to help farmers with their crops, so horses are being used more for recreational purposes than for work. The Amish are some of the only people that rely completely on horses and other animals for work or crops.
Horses have always been crucial to the agriculture industry, and despite a recent decline through the introduction of machinery, they are still a fairly large part of it.
Plowing fields is generally the first step when cultivating land, and is at the top of horses' to-do lists. Although technology has caused a decrease in the number of working farm horses, there are numerous farmers that appreciate the older methods and continue to use them. They use the horses instead of tractors to pull the heavy plows and carts to loosen the soil. That way, the land can be used to grow crops. One farmer, Gregory Morris, states it is his horses' intelligence that drive him to continue working with them. Below are two pictures of horses pulling plows.
other way horses are still involved in agriculture is cattle herding. These
horses, deemed "cow horses," are a very efficient way of leading a large number
of cattle from one place to another. The horses must be very well trained and
need to actively listen to their rider. Horses are usually used because guiding
a large group of a bunch of large animals is stressful, and horses are the
easiest way to do it. It allows the herder to maneuver more quickly and gives
them the ability to rope stray cattle if necessary. Click this link to read
about the horse's importance in cattle drives. Also, here's a video of herding
Obviously the horse doesn't have quite the same role that it did 100 years ago, but it certainly is still a part of agriculture. I think that there is three main ways in which the horse maintains its role in agriculture. I think one of the more obvious ways, is through the equines application as a labor animal. Though this certainly isn't as common as it once was, horses still serve as labor animals in Amish communities and still on cattle ranches where horses are used to round up cattle that are scattered across the terrain. In fact cattle ranches all over the world still employ horses, even in some really exotic places like Hawaii. Here you can find some really neat national geographic videos and articles depicting the use of horses on cattle ranches.
Another way horses establish their presence in the agricultural world is through horse products. Although the horse may be not as popular for this particular use in comparison to other animals, equines can be used as both a livestock and dairy animal. Horse milk has different properties than other animal milks as it has a lower fat percentage and high albumin content, so it can be used for a variety of different uses. Horse milk can also be used in shampoo and certain lotions and creams. This use of the horse has been gaining popularity, particularly in places like Europe. You can read an article on this unusual practice here.
Horses also have a presence in agriculture by simply consuming. A lot of work and effort is put into cultivating and preparing the horses food. Many careers are based on providing feed for various animals including the equine. Crops such as alfalfa, or timothy hay are important facets of the equine diet and without such crops, the equine would not be fed.
Horses play a variety of roles in agriculture all over the world. One of the first things that comes to mind is a horse pulling a plow or other piece of equipment in a field. Many farms have replaced horses with tractors, combines and other machinery, but some people still use them. One example of a group of people who still use horses for farm work are the Amish. Draft horses may not be as strong as oxen, but they are faster when it comes to plowing fields or harvesting crops. Amish also use light horses to pull their buggies.
Another aspect of agriculture that horses are involved in is exhibitions at county and state fairs. At my county fair, A Better Way Belgians always put on demonstrations and give wagon rides around the fairgrounds. Also, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, there are many events for both draft horses and light horses that demonstrate the work horses do on farms.
Finally, horses are used frequently for work on cattle and horse ranches. They are used to herd and sort cattle or other horses because they are less noisy than ATVs and can maneuver more easily through herds of animals. Similar to this is the use of horses in rodeos. Rodeos demonstrate the work that horses do on ranches in the form of competitions. There are events such as team roping and steer wrestling.
In my home town I see many horses out on the road that are attached to a buggy or a plow! The horse is the only thing the Amish have as a mode of transportation and to plow their fields and help with other chores around the farm! Here is a short video of a modern day horse doing some field work!
Another way that most people do not think of that horses are involved in agriculture is that horses consume a lot of products! Horses eat a lot of feed!! I know back home at our local auctions the hay sale is based mostly around buyers for horse feed and it is always sold at a relatively high cost. Other than at auctions we have a lot of feed mills that produce a large variety of different horse feeds and minerals! At these local feed mills they purchase their feed from company's like:
- Purina (http://horse.purinamills.com/)
- Nutrena (http://www.nutrenaworld.com/products/horses/index.jsp)
- Producer Pride (http://www.producerfeeds.com/history.shtml)
And as you can see there are endless different products you can choose from!! Millions and millions of dollars goes into feed for the equine industry and not to mention all of the other things horse owners love to pamper their horses with! These are just a few very brief ways that horses are still and will always be involved in our great Agricultural industry!
The role of horses in agriculture can vary in many ways, they can be used for work, pleasure, therapy, entertainment, or for business people the horses are simply making money for them. I don't think you can give a horse a specific role in agriculture because they are capable of so much. It's all up to the owner's of each horse in determining their role, you can choose to just pleasure ride, some are used for working on farms pulling equipment and herding livestock, or used as race horse's which can potentially make their owners very rich.
I think therapy horses have the most admirable role in agriculture, people's lives can be changed forever by just building a special bond with their horse. However, horses can change anyone's lives as long as you have an open heart and open mind. No matter what role you choose for your horse you need to also take in consideration their welfare and what they want. You can't force a horse to be a race horse, if they are not cut out for that they should not be forced upon that role. You need to understand and get to know your horse and when purchasing you must keep in mind that different breeds may be used differently in the industry. Also the nutrition and training is going to vary for different types of work and you need to be aware of this, you won't be feeding the same diet to a race horse you would to a lesson horse, and also the time and labor you have to put in will be much different as well. Depending on which role you choose for your horse there are many different regulations and requirements you must follow below are a few links I came across that I found interesting:
Therapy Horse Requirements
Horses in the Racing Industry
How to Feed and Train a Working Horse
The majority of saddles, harnesses and bridles over the years have been made from leather. The average saddle is made from one entire cowhide. Leather if taken care of is heavy duty and will last a very long time. There are still quite a few people in the world who handcraft saddles; you can custom order a saddle from a number of different saddle makers. Saddle and harness making takes a certain skill set, most of these skills have been passed down from generation to generation. There is even an American Saddle Makers Association. Saddles can range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. There are not very many companies left in the United States that manufactures western saddles. Here is a video tour of Champion Turf Equipment, Inc.
Interesting fact: In July 2010, after the closing of the Roy Rogers Museum, Christie's Auctions sold Dale Evan's elaborate red and white show saddle for $104,500.
From used in warfare to used as workers, horses have interacted with humans for thousands of years. There are several jobs for horses that technology has not yet taken over, such as, rounding up cattle and mounted police horses. Horses are even used as tree loggers. We live in a time where our world is promoting alternative energy and going green. Horses can be used as that alternative power and have been used that way for years. They eliminate the use of machines and eliminate the need for mechanics. They run on the food and energy that is grown on a farm. Horses have played a large role in our culture and they will continue to do so even with the advancements in technology in the future.
Although many in the United States do not see it this way other places overseas look at the horse as if it were the same as a cow or pig and consume their meat. This is an industry within agriculture similar to the fact there are cow farmers who raise for slaughter. Even though I do not believe there are people that actually raise horses for human consumption it still remains that someone is making money off of killing and sending the meat overseas. The horse therefore has a role in agriculture in that it eats the products from farmers and becomes one itself.
Also a lot of people in the cities know nothing about farming and cows, but the allure of the horse is well known and many will go to tourist locations in the west and go on cattle drives to experience animals and roughing it. The cattle industry is part of agriculture and through the horse, people can learn more about farming and where their food comes from. Also besides providing a learning incentive the horse actually works on many farms herding the cattle and helping ranchers get around their property to check fences etc. As of right now I do not believe a tractor has been invented that can heard cows better than the horse.
Here is a video about the horse on a cattle ranch
This shows the horse does have a role in agriculture if a more minor one than in the past. It consumes the products of farming, and is often thought of as a food source itself. The horse is also used in the farming of cattle in many places in the west and as a learning source for people to see what agriculture is all about.
One Hundred years ago the horse had a larger role in agriculture than you will see today. But horse's still hold their place in agriculture. Before machinery was invented, horses pulled the plows and helped farmers harvest their crops. Today the farmers help the horses fullfill their most essential need to eat, and that is their major role in agriculture today. Horse feed is compiled by farmers who are invested in agriculture. Horses consume oats, corn, wheat, barley and other grains. On top of the grains they eat roughage such as timothy grass, orchard grass, alfalfa and clover. Horse's are recommended to eat 2.5% of their body weight, but can eat up to 5% according to W. W. Albert. Every horse relies on farmers to grow the grains and roughage that is essential for them to receive adequate nutrition. On average, to feed a healthy 15 hand horse, an owner is going to pay anywhere from $132-$264 a month according to the Back to the Saddle Project. . A portion of that money is going to go back to the farmers. Some agricultural establishments such as Green Horse Wheatgrass in Middletown, California which grows organic greens specifically for equine consumption. Horse's role in agriculture is through association with the farmers who grow their feed.
I know, it may seem a shocking detail, but horses do indeed consume food on a regular basis. Where does the feed come from? According to this overview from the Michigan State Ag Expo, within Michigan alone, over 60 million dollars was spent on grain and supplements for horses. Imagine how that money can drive the agricultural market!
- Seminole Premium
- FCA - Farmers Cooperative Association
- Purina (http://www.horse.purinamills.com)
- Horses don't cause soil compaction that heavy machinery will.
- Trees have numerous roots close to the surface of the ground which are easily damaged by heavy machinery.
- Horses don't cause rutted skid roads that are often associated with large machines.
- The use of narrow roads also damages fewer trees.
- Skidding log length instead of tree length allows for tight turns without damaging trees.
Not too long ago horses were used to plow fields and used for transportation. Today they have been replaced by cars and tractors. There are still some people who use horses in agriculture. For example the Amish people in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Here is a link that shows some information on the Amish http://www.welcome-to-lancaster-county.com/amish-farm.html. Some of these people still depend on horses to do their farm work. They believe it is an efficient and easy way and it is something that they enjoy. There are a lot of Amish who are now using tractors in the fields, but a lot of Amish still travel by horse and buggy.
Some farmers or people with small gardens use horse manure compost as fertilizer to grow crops. This is another great way the horse can contribute to agriculture.
Horses eat hay constantly. Today hay is selling for about $5.00 to $8.00 a bale! Without our farmers to produce this hay our horses would not be able to live a healthy life style. This is another way horses are contributing to our agricultural industry. Farmers depend on horses to be able to sell their good quality hay throughout the year.
A horse in Agriculture today can also be used on ranches to herd cattle. Here is a video demonstrating how horses manage cattle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNDwbNBPjO4
Although horses do not directly provide any resources, such as wool or meat, to Americans, they are still an invaluable promoter of an agricultural lifestyle. Children as young as age 8 are able to become involved in 4H, which is a organization of youth who are interested in agriculture. The website of this organization can provide more information, which can be found here. Horses are just one aspect of this club, but they are often the favorite among young girls. This love never goes away in most cases, and they grow up to own horses of their own. Often this means that they choose a rural setting to live in order to have a barn. This leads to an increase in the possibility that they may become involved in other aspects of farming, such as growing hay or keeping other meat animal species, as they already would have the facilities to do so. This is not always the case, but I know for me personally, horses have been the main reason why I want a farm when I grow up.
Another way that agriculture is promoted by means of the horse is plowing. Although in todays society, many farmers have the means to purchase a tractor for this purpose, horses are still widely used on farms to till the land. Both Amish and the average Americans alike utilize the horses they already have, making them more productive in the agricultural sense. This use of the original source of horse power is efficient and can be more rewarding when working with your own animals rather than a tractor. Some information on how plowing is done can be found here. Although horses are not mainly owned to be productive agricultural animals, their presence in the world has made many people embrace a more rural lifestyle, offering many possibilities to get involved in other fields of farming.
Although today we do not use horses directly in farming and agriculture as much as we used to, they are still important to the history of farming and are still used today. Horses began as a food source, their meat was eaten by people. From there people began to use horses in ranching, working the fields, and transportation of goods.
Today horses can still be used in ranching, for example cutting horses are used to remove a cow from a herd so that the animal can be doctored. Horses are still used today in cattle ranching, they are the best method of use in moving cattle over vast distances.The following is a link to a video on the sport of cutting and a little bit of history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlnZ5roGPF4 Here is a picture of a horse cutting a cow from the herd:
At one time horses plowed fields and tilled the soil by pulling plows. They were also essential for the transportation of goods, pulling wagons of food and supplies that farmers needed or were taking to sale. Here is a website detailing some differences between today's agriculture and past practices: http://animalsmart.org/animals-and-the-environment/comparing-agriculture-of-the-past-with-today
The use of horses in those two roles of agriculture are less common today, as they have been replaced by modern transportation and tractors. However the Amish community still utilizes horses as their main method of working fields and transportation. We are lucky enough in Pennsylvania to be fairly familiar with seeing Amish working in the fields with their horses or traveling down the road with a buggy in tow.