|Horses, mules and donkeys provided:
Draft power- Draft animals provided the strength to plow
more acres, haul logs, haul stones, mow fields, drive threshing
machines, haul more goods to market or bring goods home.
Faster Transportation (than a human walking)
They provided a faster, easier way to travel and transport
goods, thus reducing the cost of bringing goods from another
location. They provided faster communication, mail service,
and the ability to contact a doctor if there was one in the area.
These animals received:
Care from the human family: feed, water, bedding, grooming,
shoes if needed, medical care when sick, a shelter from the
elements, safety for themselves and their offspring.
Male- Stallion or Horse
Young Male- Colt
Young Female- Filly
Neutered Male- Gelding
Most working horses were either mares or geldings. Of the two,
geldings were usually considered the most dependable. While
there were some gentle stallions, stallions were rarely used for work.
Most horses are measured in "hands" rather than in "feet." A hand
= 4", and the horse is measured from the ground to the withers.
The only exception to this rule in the modern U.S. is in the case of
miniature horses, which are measured in inches from the ground
to the last hairs of the mane.
More Horse-Related Vocabulary
Horses are were often categorized according to the work they did.
Saddle horses were horses suitable for riding. Many saddle
horses were gaited; that is they moved in a particularly smooth
way. When people spent many hours in the saddle, having a fast,
smooth-riding horse was a luxury!
Carriage horses were horses suitable for pulling carriages and
other relatively light vehicles. Today we might also call these
horses light draft horses. Some carriage horses could also be
ridden, but some were bred for a flashy trot while pulling a carriage.
Hackneys and Cleveland Bays are good examples of carriage
horses, although most breeds could be used.
Draft horses were the huge, muscular horses used to pull heavy
carts and wagons. These include the present-day Shires,
Clydesdales, Belgians, Percherons, Suffolk Punches, and others.
Ponies are simply small horses. Most authorities define a pony as
a horse under 14 hands high. A pony is NOT a baby horse.
Common breeds of pony are the Shetland and the Welsh.
Stock Horses, or Cow Ponies, were horses used to round up
cattle. Many of these horses have a natural instinct to herd cattle. A
cowboy often had a remuda, a "string" of several horses available
for his use. Modern stock horses include breeds such as the
Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, and Paint.
Mustangs are feral horses. There were no wild horses left in the
Americas when the first Europeans arrived. Over the centuries
some domestic horses escaped from their owners and managed to
live in desolate places. Their foals grew up without human contact,
and many mustangs have lived in the wild for generations. They
are not truly "wild" horses, however.
Pack Horses were used to carry loads. They sometimes wore very
simple saddles to which the load could be secured.
Stable- a barn where horses live.
Stall- the cubicle or small pen in which a horse is kept inside the
stable. In the 19th Century, many stables had straight stalls, in
which the horse was tied at one end, although it sometimes had
enough room to lie down. A loose box was a stall large enough
(10' X 10' or larger) for a horse to move around, and even lie down
Paddock- an older term for a pasture or pen.
Corral- Term used in the U.S. for a small pen, often used for
|GAITS & GAITED HORSES
Most horses naturally have four gaits:
walk, trot, canter/lope, and gallop. In
each gait, the horse's feet move in a
different way or at a different speed.
Gaited horses have additional gaits
that are smoother to ride, such as the
singlefoot, fox trot, pace, or running walk.
South American gaited horses have
Modern gaited horses include the
Tennessee Walker, Missouri Foxtrotter,
Paso Fino, and Icelandic Horse.
|EQUINES: HORSES, MULES,
are related to horses, but have some
different characteristics. Here are some
A tail with long hair only toward the bottom.
A mane that stands up (a few wild-type
horses have this, but mostly you will see
this on donkeys and mules.)
Often a coarser coat.
Donkeys bray rather than neigh.
|Some basic parts of the horse:
The horse has a mane of long hair that runs from the poll down to the c)withers.
The bit of hair that hangs down into the horse's face is called the
c- withers. Horses are measured from the ground to their withers, NOT to the top
of their heads.
n- pastern This is the part of the horse's leg above the hoof.
Horses have hooves, of course. Horses are ungulates. That means that they
have a solid, rather than a divided, hoof. In the middle of a horse's hoof (if you
pick it up) is a triangular, flesh part called the frog. Even though horse's hooves
are very strong, they can bruise or hurt the frog of their foot.
Horses feet need to be trimmed or they may grow too long and hurt the horse's
legs. A farrier trims the horse's feet and also puts metal shoes on the horse to
prevent excess wear. This is especially important in horses being ridden or worked
hard on paved roads, but not always necessary for horses in the pasture. A
blacksmith- a person who makes tools and items of iron- may also trim a horse's
feet and make and apply the horseshoes.
Donkey Male: Jack
Donkey Female: Jenny
NOTE TO OLDER STUDENTS: The
"Spanish Jennet" ridden by Queen
Elizabeth I of England and popular during
that time is NOT the same as a "Jenny"
Mules are not donkeys, but are the offspring of
a mother horse and a daddy donkey. As this is
inter-species breeding, mules usually cannot
There are SOME authenticated cases where a
mare-mule DID give birth to a foal. For these
cases, you might want to visit....
Mules inherit both horse-like and donkey-like
characteristics, and usually look like a mixture of
the two animals. They are usually taller than a
donkey, but have the longer head, longer ears,
smaller hooves, and tail of a donkey. They are
also considered to be both more stubborn,
stronger, more sure-footed, and more intelligent
than a horse. True or not, it was believed that a
mule would not overeat or drink too much cold
water or hurt itself in the way that a horse might.
Mules range in size from Mammoth Mules bred
from draft mares, to very small pony-sized mules.
Although mules are sterile (do not usually
reproduce), male mules must still be gelded for
Mules were the product of a horse mare and a
A hinny is the product of a donkey mare (Jenny)
and a horse stallion.
Hinnies did not have the same reputation for
strength and endurance that mules had, and
hinnies were rarely bred.
Occasionally you will see a hinny, and they will
tend to look more like a horse, with smaller ears
and a fuller, more horse-like tail.
|Here is a mule in a plow-harness. Mules were
used for heavy work.
|An anvil, used by blacksmiths for
making horseshoes and other iron