Horse farming is a kind of livestock farming. Horses can be
bred, raised, or just boarded on a horse farm. The U.S. has
over 10 million horses but is only the fourth largest in horse
farms. China, Brazil, and Mexico have more horse farms than we
There are about seventy horse breed registries in the U.S. The
two largest are the Jockey Club [thoroughbreds] and the American
Quarter horse Association. Other countries have their own
A registry is a listing of
horses that includes the names of the horse's father [sire] and
mother [dam]. The listing will also include grand and
great-grand parents plus any other important information about the
horse's ancestry. Since horse breeders do selective
breeding, registering horses is important to the horse
here for a list of the top 100 racehorses in the 20th Century.
There are different breeds
of horses that are raised for different kinds of jobs. Some of
these jobs might be:
||Race horses that
will race alone or pull sulkies [trotters] or jump.
||Farm horses that
will be ridden or work around the farm.
||Ranch horses that
will cut cattle from herds
just to ride.
||Show horses that
are taken to horse shows and get trained to do different
Draft horses are the largest kind of horses since they are about six
feet tall and weigh about 2000 pounds. Regular horses are
about five feet tall. Horses can be lots of different colors
that depend on its sire and dam's colors.
Male horses are called stallions and females are
mares. Baby horses are foals. Young males are colts and
young females are fillies.
When it is warm, horses go out in the pasture
or the paddock. They stay in a stall when they are in the
barn. They are fed grain and hay. The horse farmer has
to know a lot about horses because he has to feed the horses just
the right food to keep them healthy and strong. The farmer
will add other things to the food that give the horse its
vitamins. The farmer cleans and brushes the horses and makes
sure that its body is healthy. The farmer will call a
veterinarian if there is a problem with the horse.
Horse breeding farms are like dairy farms
because the farmer breeds an animal based on qualities the farmer
wants in the foal. Sometimes the farmer is breeding a horse
that belongs to another owner who helps decide these things.
Either way, a good racing stallion might be bred with a mare that
has shown that she is strong and can run a long time. The
farmer tries, with selective breeding, to take the good qualities of
both horses and create a foal that has all of these qualities.
With the example we gave, the farmer could expect to get a foal who
can race well for long distances without tiring easily. It
doesn't always work that way, but it does often.
Horses mate in spring and are pregnant about a
year. Horses become a year older on January 1st no matter what
month of the year before that they were born. Race horse
farmers like to have the foals born in January because it will give
them a 'jump' on the race horses born later in the year. The
foal will be a yearling the next year and can race when it becomes
two years old. The foals born in January have months more
training than those born in spring and summer.
After it is born, the foal stays with its mother
for about six months and is then put into the pasture with other
foals. Purebred foals are registered.
Some horse farms do horse training. The
horse trainers watch the horse carefully so they can decide what job
the horse will do best. There are different kinds of racing
and the farmer and owner decide which type of racing the foal will
do by watching how it runs and what kind of personality it
has. Horses are taught in slow stages. As foals, they
get used to being handled by humans. They get used to having a
halter. When they are one year old, the horse is ridden a
little. If it is a horse that will be pulling something, they
get trained with a harness. A trainer will walk behind them
and train them to listen and follow commands. Each horse is
trained for a certain job or sport. Racing thoroughbreds are
taught to run when the starting gate is opened.
Some horse farms are boarding farms. This
means that owners bring their horses there to live. The horse
might not have a place to stay where the owner lives or they might
be away from home a lot and not be able to take care of the
horse. The horse farmer feeds, cleans, and takes care of the
horse and is paid to do this.
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