The European colonists transported powerful workhorses to New England.
They used them for pulling plows as well as for riding.
Such horses later pulled stagecoaches in teams.
Colonists established plantations in the southeastern section of the U.S.
In the 1700s.
Plantation owners bred horses with smooth, comfortable gaits in order to survey their large properties.
Horse racing also arose as a pastime during this period.
Plantation owners, similar to many humans with their thirst for competition, started importing English racehorses in 1730.
During 1750-1850, large, heavy horses lugged humongous Conestoga wagons between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
This was the major type of freight transportation at the time.
These horses were called Conestoga horses – thus named for the wagons.
Yet, during the latter part of the nineteenth century, freight trains replaced wagons.
As the West became settled and humans established cattle ranches, they began to use horses to herd, move, and work cattle.
This tradition continues today, although the huge cattle drives of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are nonexistent now because of the advent of fencing and extensive transportation networks.
I know that most of you have probably heard of the Pony Express.
But did you know that it began in 1861 as a mail service and only operated for 18 months before telegraph communication caused it to be outmoded? That was a good thing for us, because the rider would gallop each horse hard for 10-15 miles before passing the mail pouch to another rider on a different mount.
People often exploited horses for warfare in the United States up until World War II.
A total of 25,000 calvary horses and 12,000 draft and pack horses bolstered troops in combat.
They could travel where no car or truck could go — through jungles and over mountains.
During this war, horses did their job at home, too.
A shortage of mechanized power existed because of limited supplies of gasoline, iron, and steel.
So, horses did more than their share of work in agricultural production, although overall horse numbers declined.
GROWTH AND DECLINE OF THE HORSE We had a golden age in this country from the 1890s until agriculture became mechanized.
Everyone loved us during this era, and every town and village had a livery stable, watering trough, and hitching posts.
Folks cried if a horse fell on the icy streets, and they jailed people who beat or mistreated horses — we had a lot of sentimental value to Victorian society, which was a sentimental time if there ever was one.
Several industries associated with us were fundamental parts of the national economy.
School kids revered the village blacksmith.
A snazzy breed called the bobtailed hackney owned the streets, prancing down the avenue pulling highseated rigs.
To own a hackney meant that you were extremely cool.
Sometimes, people had fancy dinner parties while on horseback; guests lined up in fashionable restaurants riding their favorite horses.
You know, around the year 1900, only rich folks owned cars, and no such thing as a truck or a tractor existed.
At that time, only 8,000 cars bumped over the dirt roads and cobblestones in the United States, and tires made from natural rubber cost an outrageous $40 each and only lasted about 2,000 miles.
Folks used to get stuck in the mud all the time, just like they did in wagons — I guess that’s where the phrase “stuck in the mud” comes from.
People got a good laugh out of folks mired in mud or pushing cars uphill.
In 1900, -4- practically no one liked cars; they complained about the noise, and laws even existed that prohibited cars from entering city parks.
Humans still loved us a lot back then.
But in the year 1908, all of that changed.
Americans began their love affair with the auto.
You know why? Henry Ford invented the assembly line and produced a car that sold for only $825 — a lot of money back then, but still cheap enough for the growing middle class to afford.
Soon trucks, tractors, and better roads followed.
The days of the working horse were numbered.
As automobile, truck, and tractor numbers increased, our numbers declined.
The record for the highest number of horses was in 1915 — a total of 21,431,000 horses.
Yet, by January 1, 1960, only 3,089,000 horses populated our country’s farms and ranches, the lowest number ever recorded.
Manufacturing and commerce greatly affected the rise and fall of our species in the United States.
During the early growth phase of industry in the country, we increased in number in order to transport raw materials, manufactured commodities, and agricultural products.
But eventually the tractor, truck , and automobile replaced us – slowly at first, but then rapidly and drastically.
These days you’ll rarely see us on city streets, except as a tourist attraction, on police duty, or in parades.
The livery stable is no more, and outside of traditional Amish and Mennonite societies, rarely do you see draft horses hitched to large freight wagons.
My draft horse friends tell me that there’s a resurgence in their use for logging, as carriage horses, and for small-scale and organic farming, however.
Where we’ve really had a growth spurt is in the areas of recreation and sport.
At present, a total of 6,931,000 horses exist in the United States.
The following table shows how many of us you use for certain categories and how many of you participate in the different activities. NUMBER OF HORSES AND PARTICIPANTS BY ACTIVITY1 Activity Racing Showing Recreation Other* TOTAL Number of Horses and Participants by Activity 725,000 1,974,000 2,970,000 1,262,000 6,931,000 Number of Participants 941,400 3,607,900 4,346,100 1,607,900 7,062,500** * Includes farm and ranch work, police work, rodeo, and polo. ** Total varies from sum of the individual activities because participants may be duplicated among the activities. 1 Source: http://www.horsecouncil.org/ahcstats.html -5- Texas with 600,000 head, California with 240,000 head, and Tennessee with 190,000 head are the “horsiest” states, and the Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, and Standardbred breeds boast the highest numbers of horses.
Quarter Horses number 3.7 million.
My breed, the Percheron, ranks 8th in number of horses per breed, not bad at all, I’ll say.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE HORSE INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED STATES Horse business is a people business, and even a way of life for some.
The horse industry is expanding, and at present produces direct goods and services totaling $25.3 billion with a impact of $112.1 billion on the gross domestic product (GDP).
Racing, showing, and recreation each contribute more than 25% of the entire value of goods and services created by the industry.
The horse industry’s input to the GDP is larger than that of motion picture services, railroad transportation, furniture and fixtures manufacturing, and tobacco processing industries.
It is only a bit smaller than apparel and textiles commerce.
While attendance at racetracks has declined in recent years due to off-track betting, and the proliferation of other types of gambling, companies such as Churchill Downs, Inc.
Are attempting to draw crowds by combining racetracks with casinos and entertainment parks as well as by making racing a family affair.
Numerous young humans are participating in horse activities. 4H horse projects lead the way in the 4H plant and animal project category with 256,207 projects in 2001 as compared to 168,923 beef projects, the next popular category.
Our species has participated in relatively new sports.
The American Endurance Ride Conference sponsored 700 long-distance riding competitions, many from 50 to 100 miles long; hey, that’s way too much for me! We benefit humans in many other ways.
Did you know that the Forest Service even uses horses? Parks and recreation services employ us as pack animals because we can travel into remote areas that no vehicle can access.
We are stars in the movies and parades.
The police use us to control crowds of peaceful and rowdy humans.
Therapists put mentally or physically challenged folks on horses to improve their balance, coordination, and even thought processes.
FUTURE OF THE HORSE INDUSTRY In these days, people often choose to spend their leisure time atop a horse, or just around us.
Human interest in physical fitness and mental well being also draws people to our species.
Contrary to what most folks think, riding a horse is a challenging physical activity, even if the horse is doing most of the work.
It seems that in the future our numbers will hold steady or increase somewhat, although periodic economic downturns tend to discourage breeders.
Horse owners will continue to have problems with access to property and trails, because of urban and suburban expansion, as well as development of rural “suburbs.” -6- Acknowledgements Sabrina Tuttle, Graduate Technician, Department of Agricultural Education, Texas A&M University, researched and developed this topic.
Larry Ermis, Curriculum Specialist, Instructional Materials Service, Texas A&M University, reviewed this topic.
Vickie Marriott, Office Software Associate, Instructional Materials Service, Texas A&M University, edited and prepared the layout and design for this topic.
Christine Stetter, Artist, Instructional Materials Service, Texas A&M University, prepared the illustrations for this topic.
REFERENCES American Endurance Ride Conference.
AERC Webpage. [Online.] Available: www.aerc.org. [2002, September 23] American Horse Council.
Horse Industry Statistics. [Online.] Available: www.horsecouncil.org/ ahcstats.html [2002, September 20] Bradley, M.
Horses-A Practical and Scientific Approach.
NY: McGraw-Hill, 1981.
CSREES/USDA-National 4-H Headquarters. 4-H Statistics. [Online.] Available: http://www.national4hheadquarters.gov/4h_stats.htm [2002, September 23] Ensminger, M.E.
Horses and Horsemanship.
Danville, IL: Interstate Printers and Publishers, Inc., 1999.
Florida Museum of Natural History.
Fossil Horse Cybermuseum. [Online.] Available: http:// www.flmnh.ufl.edu/NATSCI/VERTPALEO/FHC/firstCM.htm [2002, September 23] Gongloff, M.
Churchill Downs Takes the Lead.
CNN Money. [Online.] Available: http://money.cnn.com/ 2001/05/04/companies/churchill_downs [2002, September 23] Kerrison, R.
A Day at the Races.
The Wall Street Journal. [Online.] Available: http://www.swcollege.com/ bef/econ_news/racetrack_owner.html. [2002, September 23] Kreitler, B. 50 Careers with Horses: from Accountant to Wrangler.
Ossining, NY: Breakthrough Publications, 1995.
Medicine Crow, Joseph.
About Crow Indian Horses. [Online.] Available: http://www.bbhc.org/pointsWest/ PWArticle.cfm?ArticleID=11, 1992 [2002, September 20] Smithsonian Institution.
Human Ancestors Hall: Homo Sapiens . [Online.] Available: http:// www.mnh.si.edu/anthro/humanorigins/ha/sap.htm [2002, September 20] Xenophon.
Xenophon – On The Art of Horsemanship. [Online.] Available:http://www.horseclick.com/ HorseClick-Xenophon-2.shtm [2002, September 20] GLOSSARY OF TERMS Blacksmith – A person who trims and puts shoes on horse’s hooves.
Bobtailed hackney – A large horse used to pull carriages.
Conquistadors – Early Spanish explorers and warriors.
Domesticated –Tamed or gentled for any use by man.
Draft horses – Breeds of large horses used for work.
Evolved – Having moved through the process of a continuous change from a simpler state to a higher, more complex state.
Foundation stock – Original animals of a breed.
Hitching post – A rail to which horses are tied.
Jack – A male donkey. -7- Livery stable – A boarding stable for horses or other animals.
Mount – A means of conveyance, such as a horse, on which to ride.
Mule – A cross between a female horse (mare) and a male donkey (jack).
SELECTED STUDENT ACTIVITIES SHORT ANSWER/LISTING: Answer the following questions or statements in the space provided or on additional paper. 1.
What are the two names of the “dawn horse,” and what was unique about the horse? a. _________________________________________________________________________ b. 2. 3. 4. _________________________________________________________________________ Uniqueness of the horse: _________________________________________________________ How were horses brought back to the New World, and who adopted riding them in the 1600s? ____________________________________________________________________________ Why did the Pony Express cease to exist? ____________________________________________________________________________ What three breeds of horses are currently the most popular? a. _________________________________________________________________________ b. _________________________________________________________________________ c. _________________________________________________________________________ What was the horse population at its greatest number in the United States, and in what year did the horse population peak? ____________________________________________________________________________ How much does the horse industry contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States? ____________________________________________________________________________ What caused the horse population to rise and then fall in the United States? ____________________________________________________________________________ What is the outlook for the horse industry in the United States, and what are some anticipated problems related to horse ownership? ____________________________________________________________________________ ADVANCED ACTIVITIES 1. 2.
Research the different evolutionary stages of the horse and write a short report on each.
Prepare a written story about the arrival of horses in the New World.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Reproduction prohibited without written permission.
Instructional Materials Service Texas A&M University 2588 TAMUS College Station, Texas 77843-2588 http://www-ims.tamu.edu 2003 -8- 5. 6. 7. 8.
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