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Horse Facts

How much do our horses weigh?

Horses weight fluctuates through out the year depending on activity, and for the horses in the pasture, how much green grass is available. The average weight of our tallest horse, Dazzle, is around 900 pounds, whereas our smallest pony, Sparkie, weighs around 550 pounds. Horses are measured with a tape around the mid-section, right behind their elbow and withers.

How old does a horse live?
This depends on many factors, breed, care, environment, but our 4-H horses are well cared-for with regular check-ups and vaccinations. The average life expectancy of horses is between 28 and 30 years old, however our oldest 4-H horse, Raspberry, died at the ripe old age of 34! Ponies often live even longer.  Domino, our first 4-H pony, lived to age 40.

What are the colors of the 4-H horses?
Chestnut, a reddish-brown color, with same color mane; Bay, a dark brown body with black mane and tail; Paint, a large spotted pattern of white and darker colored hair; Palomino, a blond body with white mane and tail; Blue Roan, black body with gray hairs, and black mane and tail; and White. Read the description about each of our horses to learn more.

How do you measure the height of a horse?

Our horses and ponies range between 11 and 14.3 hands. A “hand” is a unit of measure that has been used for centuries to determine the height of a horse or pony. They are measured from the ground to the base of their neck, and before the bony part of their back, called the “withers”. Horses under 15 hands are a perfect size for our program to make it easier for the riders to mount their horse, as well as minimizing shoulder strain for our side-walkers.

For comparison, a Thoroughbred, a breed used for racing generally measures between 15.2 and 17 hands. Large Clydesdale draft horses, used for pulling heavy carts or plows, measures up to 20 hands!

Is it okay to bring a treat for the horses?

We don’t encourage bringing treats for the horses. Not only do our horses have specific diets, introducing treats causes horses to get nippy, or upset if the horse next to them does not get a treat too. Always ask your leader if it is okay to bring a treat on a special occasion, and always after class after the bridle has been removed.

How often do you feed the 4-H horses?

Our stable horses are fed three meals a day with a nutrient-rich alfalfa in the morning, grass hay with a small amount of pellets for lunch, and grass hay and pellets in the evening. All our horses are seniors requiring specially formulated supplements.

How often do the 4-H horses get shoes?

Our horses get front shoes every 4 to 6 weeks. A horse puts more weight on their front hooves, causing more wear. Shoes provide hooves protection when they are ridden. The farrier, takes off the old shoes, and trims the hooves, very similar to the concept of trimming your nails when they get long. The Farrier shapes a new pair of shoes and nails them to the outer portion of the hoof. This is a painless process for horses.