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1 month ago

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(1) why are blinders or blinkers used on driving animals? Wouldn't it cause them to be more likely to spook? Wouldn't your chances of being struck be greater since they can't see you?
(2) how many times their weight can horses pull? when they are properly harnessed.
(3) how many times their weight can mules pull? When they're properly harnessed.

If any of my questions or statements offends anyone I am sorry I didn't mean it. I am asking questions and gathering information so that I can be the best trainer,teamster, or owner that I can be. If what ever I said doesn't make sense or is offensive please reread my post or ask me to clarify.

G.D.Rose says 2016-12-11 07:34:48 (CST)

I don't have much experience my self, but when I was asking the same questions when my dad and uncles were still alive, they all pretty much said the same thing when it came to blinders, it was a personal preference or the horses decided what was used. My father said when he was young, my grandfather had several teams over the years that he farmed with. I was told he had teams that had no blinders at all, but had another team they both had them, it was a case on what the horses liked. My grandfather farmed from the 1920's until he retired in the 1970's.. I personally had a quarter horse that panicked from the noise when she had blinders on but was quite when she did not, and her mother didn't care one way or the other. Hope this help. Also like to here what other people have to say.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-12-11 09:33:38 (CST)

Blinders are used so that the horse won't spook from seeing something coming up from behind or staying there constantly. The logic is that horses are animals of flight and try to run away from perceived dangers. That is correct, but many teamsters, including myself, hold against that view that horses can be desensitized and then become much safer. Where I come from, Bavaria in Germany, workhorses generally were/are driven without blinders. I used to log and even pull down trees which were stuck in the crown region and it didn't faze the horses. BUT: One has to start that training very early, it usually won't work with horses which are taken from pastures at the age of three or four. One of my Percherons works without blinders, I got him early enough, the other would panic.
How much can horses pull ? It is variable depending on if it is a rolling load or dragged along the ground, and then the ground conditions have to be taken into consideration, too. It is also a question of the duration of the pull. Horses have moved loads up to ten times their own weight on level hard surfaces, on ice even more. The actual pull as measured with a special device at the single tree is of course a lot less and generally should not exceed 10% of the horses weight over a longer time. Horses were used to move railroad cars on the tracks, first wooden, later iron, where these weights were exceeded many times.
Since I have never owned mules, I can't speak to that, but I assume it is rather similar. We have a good number of mule experts on the Front Porch, they certainly know more about that topic.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Josie says 2016-12-11 15:45:14 (CST)

I know that ranch horses have to drag things behind them and they don't wear blinders. I figured that it was the same for the draft horses although no one ever taught them how to do it. From what you have said I am correct. I agree with you that horses can be taught to deal with situations like logging without blinders. It exercises the thinking side of their brain and improves their relationship with you.

I enjoy reading the information given on this website and talking to you guys. I am home schooled and haven't found any one that I can talk to(my Mom doesn't count even though she is an animal nut).


1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Josie says 2016-12-11 16:46:01 (CST)


Thanks for the info.
I should probably tell you the idea surrounding my question. While I was on this website I saw that there was a harness specifically made for oxen so I got the idea to compare the maximum hauling weight of oxen harnessed, horses harnessed, and of mules harnessed. I am trying to figure out which of the 3 is the most efficient for poor people. The amount of weight that they can pull is one comparison that I am doing. I found most of my info on the oxen part of this website. It has more specifics on the weights and I think pulling conditions are in there too, but I am not sure. I hope that this helps.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2016-12-12 00:43:12 (CST)

this response may not be in line, some exceptions to every rule. There used to be a man at woodlake NE who spotted cattle cars on the tracks to load the cows and also spotted loaded coal cars to unload the coal with a saddle horse, with a rope hooked to the saddle horn horse only weighed about 1200 LBS horse would just lean into the rope and pull. I talked to and listened to that old man several times at livestock auction sales barns. He said one of the best horses he ever owned. The train tracks are gone now, they were removed 25-30 years ago.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-12-12 08:09:30 (CST)

Josie, it was generally believed that oxen were more economical since after a life of service they would be eaten. They are slower, but easier to keep than horses, with generally fewer possible health issues. They are certainly cheaper to purchase if one can buy a couple of young steers and knows how to train them.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2016-12-12 14:47:25 (CST)

As for your question on what a mule can pull, the short answer is, whatever a horse can. Remember, mules are half horse (and the other half donkey) so a horse and mule of similar conformation and state of training can probably pull equal loads under similar circumstances.

Of course, it's more about the individual animal and your relationship with them. The right animal, be it horse or mule, will give you 110% if they like you well enough.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2016-12-13 21:15:59 (CST)

Blinders also encourage forward movement when spooked. Horses and mules are less likely to go in a direction they can't see. Sideways and backwards are more likely to cause undesirable out comes than forward movement in a spook situation.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JHItch says 2016-12-14 13:30:55 (CST)


Yes, cattle in many ways are more efficient than horses. You milk the cow, you eat the calves, and many others, but what I was going for was the possibility that cattle can pull more than horses or mules. If this is true then the farmer only needs a cow or 2 instead of a cow or 2 and a team of horses or mules. Less feed costs and the same amount of work.
Am I being clear or do I need to give more?


1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JHItch says 2016-12-14 14:45:07 (CST)


Yes, I know that mules are horses crossed with a type of ass, I also know that hunters like mules for packing (1) because they are usually more sure footed than horses and (2) I think that they can carry more weight. But I don't know if they can pull more than horses can that is why I asked.


1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JHItch says 2016-12-14 14:51:26 (CST)

Ok, thanks Scott.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JHItch says 2016-12-14 15:23:51 (CST)

Again no offense. I have noticed that many people that I have talked to about training cattle act like and say that cattle are either stooped or they have a mythical language that no one can break. (1) they're not stooped they are intelligent animals as well as horses and goats.
(2) they think a lot like horses and goats. These 3 species have similar languages( sheep do too, but that is another topic for another time) they are all prey animals and most of their body languages are the same. Yes, horses bite each other and most of the time goats and cattle butt heads, but the cores of their languages are the same.
This is why goats can be used as companions for horses and cattle. Cattle as companions for horses.
With this in mind you don't need 3 different training methods and have to try to remember what method goes with which animal. The method that I use works for all 3(We have not had sheep at the same time of me finding this method. I have no doubt that it will work on sheep as well). I didn't invent this method, but I have figured out how to use it. I'm going to stop for now before I get ahead of myself.


1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JHItch says 2016-12-19 17:56:01 (CST)


On the ranch horses idea I did have a sort of funny story/scientific comment,but for some reason I can't quite put it into words without losing the laugh.


31 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-12-20 08:48:37 (CST)

Josie, weight moves weight,by that maxim it wouldn't make any difference which animal you take- horse or mule or cattle, but it is also the disposition or willingness to give the best effort. While I myself never had oxen, I grew up at a time when some farmers in the neighborhood used them (cows were used by people with very small landholdings) and I remember that it was said it was easier to make a horse pull more than a cow or ox. Probably cattle realize earlier than a horse what is feasible and what is not, in other words they are either smarter or horses/mules are more loyal.

30 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Josie says 2016-12-23 17:13:46 (CST)

Klaus, sorry that I didn't respond I ran out of time when I was on here last and I don't have any time now to respond. I shouldn't be able to be on here until after New Years. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


27 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Josie says 2017-01-08 16:11:13 (CST)

Klaus, you mentioned weight moving weight. This got me thinking. You look at a draft horse and a non draft horse the draft horse has more weight on its forequarters than the non draft horse. Also it looks like it is going downhill generally non draft horses look like they're either going uphill or are on flat ground. With this in mind looking at cattle I see(this is more of a personal theory. It's not proven) that the only reason that they have hindquarters is to keep their noses off the ground(figure of speech). They are always going downhill and I noticed that their necks are placed lower than horses are, even draft horses' necks are placed higher. Don't get me wrong I love my horses but looking at the evidence in front of me I am wondering if maybe we have missed the potential of the ox.

Continue to next post.

11 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Josie says 2017-01-08 16:31:59 (CST)

Yes, horses are faster then oxen in general. It is possible that the speed of the ox is partially affected by (1) the relationship between the ox and its teamster (2) the comfort of the equipment being used.
Personally I wouldn't want a rope(even if it is very thick) across my chest and have to pull a small log while holding the rope in place because thair is no support. At the same time I am pulling in an unnatural position. Now if I were to have a very comfortable, thick, and well padded harness that fits just right. Hmmff! You call that thing a log! Give me something five times that size! From some personal experience of pulling things and my brothers around. Comfort has a huge roll in your willingness to work.
I think that other than comfort the issue with the slow ox( you are right) is the relationship between the ox and teamster.

Continue to next post.

11 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Josie says 2017-01-08 16:57:39 (CST)

Most oxen that I have see are not completely submitted to the teamster. Yes, they do what is asked of them most of the time but they are hard to backup, they run over the teamster every once in a while, they even walk away with the loads from time to time, they don't always do what the teamster asks when he asks they do it on the 3rd,4th or even 5th time they are asked, even when they do do what is asked when it is asked they are in a bad mood they hold a grudge, and they are either to fast or are to sluggish. I know that this example is of most teams that I have seen and most cattle in general. I am very thankful to the ox teamsters for keeping the oxen alive and I want to help them improve their methods of training so that they can have even more success with their animals. Oops, I got sidetracked. Oh, well I think that I was trying to say that I think that if oxen have comfortable harnesses and have a better relationship with the teamster/ better training it is possible that they may become faster. I'm out of time and I hope that you had a very Merry Christmas.

11 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-01-09 10:03:05 (CST)

If you attend many horse and mule pulls, you will see that mules will out pull horses if both teams are in the same condition, size, and weight. This is why you will never see horses and mules in the same pulling contest.

I don't know if it is true with horses, but smaller mules can pull a bigger percentage of the their weight than larger mules. It's been awhile since I have been at a pull so I forget the exact percentage. Not knowing this, many people think the need a bigger mule, either riding or in harness.

This carries over to the new mule owner that thinks they need the same size mule as the horse they rode.

Generally the rule of thumb is that a hors can carry about 20% of it's body weight. As for pulling there are lot of different variables. The draft angle, size/type of wheels on a vehicle, or if the item is dragged on the ground. Type of ground, type of work, etc.

As for blinders or blinkers. An old teamster once told me it keeps the animals paying attention to the job at hand.

10 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-01-09 10:34:52 (CST)

Another factor for how much animals will pull is the proper harness. For cattle that is NOT the traditional neck yoke! When cattle were used much more extensively, studies in Germany compared various methods of harnessing and found the three part Bavarian style the most effective. The SFJ reported about that in article sometime in the 1990s.
With the neck yoke the cattle have to lower their heads and the weight is pulled with the crest of the neck!

10 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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