Horses at work

EQUUS - - Eq Tack & Gear -

In the Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­try of Hon­duras, horse­keep­ing of­ten isn’t a pas­time or hobby. In many cases, horses are work­ing an­i­mals and con­trib­ute to the liveli­hood of a ru­ral fam­ily. Work­ing horses in the coun­try tend to be fed dif­fer­ently than plea­sure horses, due to the de­mands of their jobs and the re­sources of their own­ers. For in­stance, a plea­sure horse may have con­tin­ual ac­cess to hay all day, but “work­ing horses are typ­i­cally fed be­fore or af­ter work, and in some cases they are only fed af­ter work,” says Daniela Robles, pres­i­dent of Equinos de Hon­duras, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes equine wel­fare and owner ed­u­ca­tion through­out that coun­try.

(Cho­luteca), cur­rently to the and grow peo­ple large find “In fact dry in amounts the high-qual­ity with that sum­mer,” place work­ing south eco­nomic Cho­luteca which where of re­gion ter­rain says in, is pas­tures pas­tures the it re­sources is Robles. is of have a area very Hon­duras very due ac­cess barely we dif­fi­cult “Only arid and to are to sum­mer, very work­ing high-qual­ity ex­pen­sive. horses and if pas­tures they Since have buy fewer own­ers dur­ing hay, re­sources, it of is the they small pound pro­vide ra­tions ev­ery corn three of con­cen­trate grains days) when or very (one graz­ing is re­duced.” Few com­mer­cially made con­cen­trates “Horse­man are avail­able don’t have in Hon­duras. many choices among pre­mixed feeds since they are not for­mu­lated specif­i­cally for horses,” says Robles. “Most of them are more rec­om­mended for cows or other live­stock.” Even if they are able to find it, only sure are mer­cial they while own­ers likely can own­ers and work­ing make grains, be sport to ex­pen­sive, use of their horse horses plea- as co­mown of keep­ing The mixes im­por­tance hard- of grain. work­ing so widely horses rec­og­nized fed is that other lo­cal in­dus­tries Robles. “Cho­luteca of­ten as­sist is an in ideal the ef­fort, area for says plant­ing sugar cane, so we have sugar cane com­pa­nies all over the south re­gion in Hon­duras. The ar­eas where sugar cane grows pro­vide the con­di­tions for pas­tures to grow as well, so these sugar cane com­pa­nies al­low work­ing horse own­ers to cut grass to feed their horses dur­ing the sum­mer be­cause the com­pa­nies know that these peo­ple rely on their horses to ob­tain their daily in­come.” the also Not sugar sup­plies sur­pris­ingly, in­dus­try a com­mon treat for all types of horses in Hon­duras. “The treats given to horses when they do a good job are made of ra­padura, an un­re­fined cane sugar,” says Robles.

While the spe­cific types of hay and grains fed to horses may vary from coun­try to coun­try, the an­tic­i­pa­tory nicker heard at feed­ing time is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage rec­og­nized by all horsepeo­ple. That call---when a horse si­mul­ta­ne­ously says “hurry up” and “thank you”---is one of those lit­tle things that brighten a horse­keeper’s day, pro­vid­ing re­as­sur­ance that our ef­fort is ap­pre­ci­ated, no mat­ter what coun­try we call home.

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