Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Post 29 Breton horses.‏

1st April, hot and sunny, did 20 miles [33km], a long day, my feet are tired, l'm almost at Maurs. I took photos of some cows, l like the colour of them and their horns, some of them are wearing bells.
I saw quite a few Breton horses today and tonight l'm stopped at a place where there is a stallion. It's several hundred miles from Brittany, but the breed is popular. They are fattened for meat. They make good strong draught horses, when they are not so fat. Some people might object to them being eaten, but if they weren't, they would have died out in the 1960s when farmers no longer needed them. In Britain, breeds like the Suffolk Punch and Dales have almost died out and have a tiny gene pool. I had a Dales stallion a few years ago, it was useless.
I watched a mare being served by the stallion.
Breton Stallion
Daniel, who owns the stallion said l could tether my horse up the track. I was glad as the horse was tired, l was too.
Two very fat Breton mares
Daniel asked me the age of my horse, l told him he was eight. He said there is an expression in France, which roughly translates as, 'until eight a horse is good for you, after eight it is good for a friend, at 16 it is good for your enemy.'
When horses are too fat and full of grass they are very hard to train or do anything with. If your horse looks this fat at the beginning of spring you aren't looking after it properly. A fat horse is also unhappy. Your horse should look a little lean at the end of winter and it will be better for it. If your horse is a 'good doer,' and doesn't do much work, don't feed it hard food and if it has to have hay, feed it hay from last year.If it wastes hay, you are giving it too much and wasting money.Don't put a rug on it, instead,let it run around to keep warm, this is what they have to do in the wild.
Horses have been bred for centuries to do hard work on the minimum of feed. What does work mean? My cob usually pulls 850kg, about 5 or 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. When your horse is fit there will be little or no fat on him, if your horse is unfit his sweat will be white and foamy, when he's fit his sweat will be clear. If he isn't sweating you haven't worked him enough.
Horses that get too fat often get a terribly painful illness called laminitis, the best thing then is to shoot your horse and put it out of its misery. Vets don't tell you this, they make money out of ill, suffering animals, not dead ones. Of course they still charge you if the animal dies.
Breton mares and foal
I tethered my horse near to a couple of Breton mares. One had just had a foal, the other mare was  about to drop hers.