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3. Horses at work

Horses are used for different works, in harness as well as under a saddle and a saddle-pack, in winter and summer from far north to burning south
Horses are used for different works, in harness as well as under a saddle and a saddle-pack, in winter and summer from far north to burning south

The horse is possessed of exceptionally diverse working qualities. Such activities as transporting goods, ploughing, harrowing, mowing demand an application of the considerable tractive power. For example, to haul successfully over a field road a loaded cart weighing one and a half ton and with the resistance factor of which being 0.05, the tractive power of 75 kg is required. And such showing is typical of a good working horse.

The horse - an indispensable assistant to geologists in taiga as well as to shepherds on mountaineous pastures
The horse - an indispensable assistant to geologists in taiga as well as to shepherds on mountaineous pastures

The horse - an indispensable assistant to geologists in taiga as well as to shepherds on mountaineous pastures
The horse - an indispensable assistant to geologists in taiga as well as to shepherds on mountaineous pastures

The results by load weight with zootechnical tests of heavy-draught horses are considerably higher and make up 3 tons with the tractive power of 150 kg.

Quite striking are the results when testing the heavy-draughts for the highest possible tractive power, equalling usually 800-1000 kg, which, in its turn, equals the load weight of 20-25tons. It should be noted that at public displays of load drawing capacity of heavy-draughts the best of them show exactly such results with the load being destri-buted on a train of horse drawn tractor trailers. Such is the aptitude of the working horse. It is not by chance that in 1981 the problems of application of the tractive power of working cattle were specially discussed by representatives of 150 countries at the UN Conference on new and renewable energy sources.

Nowadays, as a result of the complex mechanization of agriculture almost every kind of heavy work is performed with a tractor or another machine. But still somewhat and not little is left for the horse. In many collective and state farms the horse is used for cultivation of farmers' private plots, for hay making on "inconvenient" lots, for fodder delivery.

The horse in a light riding gear is widely used as a means of transportation especially for field roads in spring and autumn slushy seasons and during winter snow-storms.

Delivery of foodstuffs to the family - a permanent concern of housewives
Delivery of foodstuffs to the family - a permanent concern of housewives

The working saddle horse is also of great significance. Many hundreds of thousands of them truely service shepherds, herdsmen and other fields of agriculture, especially in mountains and deserts. In some difficult places, e.g. on the paths in the mountains of the Caucasus, Tien-Shan, Pamir, Altai, Sayani saddle and packsaddle horses have become practically indispensable.

The working horse is needed not in agriculture alone. Often they are irreplacable for geological prospectors, foresters, hunters and huntsmen of the state hunting reserves.

As proved by experience of leading collective and state farms even with the to-day high level of mechanization of agricultural production many types of transport and field activities are more economically profitable to be performed with horses, in particular, carting the light loads for short runs, cultivating the private plots of collective farmers.

An indispensable kind of transportation on mountaineous paths. Shepherds and their future change on their way
An indispensable kind of transportation on mountaineous paths. Shepherds and their future change on their way

Results of the special investigation carried out by the АН-Union Research Institute of Horse Breeding show that the advanced farms keep, as a rule, more horses and make the use of them more efficient than the farms economically poor and technically less equipped.

In mountaineous regions of Kirghizia fascinating hunting on horses with golden eagles is popular
In mountaineous regions of Kirghizia fascinating hunting on horses with golden eagles is popular

The progress of mechanization in agriculture has been bringing about the transformation of the range of horse fulfilled activities, i.e., on one hand, the horse is less and less involved in transporting such mass produced agricultural products as grain, potatoes, ets., but, on the other hand, it is becoming more widely used for carting fodder (hay, straw, silage) for short runs.

Forest guard
Forest guard

As an example "Rossiya" milk and vegetable state farm located in Shuya District of Ivanovo Region could be cited, where all the arrangements have been made for an efficient use of the horse. Each horse works there 250 days a year with each carting distance limited to 500-600 m. What is the horse used there for? For carting such loads as fodder and organic fertilizers, construction materials and fuel like wood or coal, hotbed frames, boxes, baskets and other packing material. It also delivers food products to canteens and kindergartens. And who is ready to suggest supplying such goods with tractors or trucks?

Another collective farm named after V. I. Lenin and located in Rybnovsk District of Ryazan Region could be also cited as a good example of the rational use of its horse stock. It numbers 108 head, half of them of the working type-heavy-draught crosses. In 1980 alone horses were at work there totally for over 11 thous. days with the self-cost of a horse working day limited to 1.8 rouble. Horses are mainly used for servicing the livestock farms, i.e. for the trans-portation of fodder and milk, for delivering organic fertilizers to the field, for attending cattle summer grazing. All loads to be carried at a distance of up to one kilometer over country- tracks or in the field are horse-carted.

Or to take the collective farm "Zhovten" being among the most advanced in Taratschan District of Kiev Region and noted for its high production efficiency and highly productive animals. A wide range of agricultural machinery is used there covering 4800 ha, of farming lands. Nevertheless, the farm keeps 146 horses and all of them are found the work for. In 1980 each horse worked in average for 302 days. Over 60 per cent of horse working days fall on servicing the livestock sector. For example, 12 two-horse teams are daily busy at the heifer farm alone and their daily carting quota makes up over 200tons of fodder delivered to cattle yards from feed storage. It was estimated that the cost of the horse delivered load of one ton per one kilometer was much more lower than the same done with the use of trucks or tractors. Each year about 2200 horse working days are spent for cultivating farmers' private plots, for delivering fuel and for carting fodder to privately owned cattle. Much attention is paid here to the reproduction of the horse stock. In 1980 the offspring of 50 head was raised from 60 mares. Such high reproduction yield - 83 per cent - is not typical even of a specialized stud.

The collective farm horse is used for delivering straw both to the farm and to one's own cow
The collective farm horse is used for delivering straw both to the farm and to one's own cow

The collective farm horse is used for delivering straw both to the farm and to one's own cow
The collective farm horse is used for delivering straw both to the farm and to one's own cow

Ilishevsk district of the Bashkir Autonomous SSR is known for high achievements in farming and animal husbandry with its 57 thous. head of cattle, 35 thous. pigs and 68 thous. sheep. Collective and state farms of the district are provided with a large pool of powerful tractors, vehicles and other machinery. Nevertheless, over four thousand horses are widely used there for attending cattle grazing, for haymaking on grass lots difficult to be mowed with machines, for carting construction materials, for delivery of water and other loads. The horse is also used for cultivating private plots and for other personal needs of farmers.

In the leading collective farm named after llych of Belgorod Region all odd jobs are performed with the horse which enables its steel counterpart - the tractor to be used to its full in the field. There are 176 tractors, 150 motor vehicles, dozens of combines on the farm, but still about 500 horses are kept there, more than on any other farm in the region. The horse there is inseparable from the industrially developed farming. It is of an immense assistance to a farmer. Over a year up to 85-90 thous. horse working days are contributing to the total tracting power used. Each horse is made busy for 250-260 days a year. And several thousands of roubles of the collective farm budget are saved yearly through the use of horses. The experience of farming in Orenbourg Region also shows how profitably the horse could be used for the delivery of bulk loads. For example, in the collective farm named after Michurin in Akbulak District the use of horses instead of vehicles for transporting fodder and milk helps to save a year over 16 thous. roubles or 2.46 roubles per 100kg of milk produced.

Such a horse will deliver feeds to more than a dozen cows
Such a horse will deliver feeds to more than a dozen cows

The experience of leading farms proves that the horse as a working animal still belongs to those ones being profitable and of high living vitality.

This living engine is possessed of highly valuable qualities. Owing to the ability of straining its muscles and nervous system in a short wind it is able to display strength and power exceeding considerably usually accepted performing standards. Even with roads being impassable the horse never skids and it is able to draw a loaded cart through a high snow drift or a slushy road stretch. Being able to expend its accumulated fat and to burn its muscle protein the horse can for a certain period of time go on toiling satisfied with small fodder rations which by themselves are insufficient to make up for the energy spent by the horse during its work.

Horses will do well with milk transportation
Horses will do well with milk transportation

The horse could be also successfully used under a saddle or a saddle-pack. It is indispensable in mountains, in taiga, in other strongly complicated terrain conditions as well as during seasons when roads become impassable. That is why the horse is so badly needed by geologists, foresters, huntsmen, agricultural field watchers, hunters, border-guards and by many other professionals. The horse passes where no vehicle can.

In 1981, for example, 98 saddle-pack horses were allotted in Chita Region alone for bringing goods to hunters wintering in remote taiga regions.

The horse is well known for its excellent memory, for its obedience and attachment to a man. It equally obeys the young and the old. When driving a loaded horse carriage a horseman does not need an assistant, for he himself can easily cope with goods loading and unloading. This cuts the self-cost ot the work performed with horses and proves this work to be profitable. It is highly important also that "fuel" needed by this living engine should not be brought from a far but is produced on the spot - on the farm itself.

Rest at the stud
Rest at the stud

The horse plays a significant role also in the management of the driving cattle. In Orenburg Region alone up to 25 thous. horses are needed for attending cattle and sheep summer grazing. In Kazakhstan, Central Asian Republics, the Transcaucasus and in other parts of the country many dozens of thousands of horses are used by herdsmen and shepherds. The horse is always at work.

A pair of trotters is waiting for honourable guests
A pair of trotters is waiting for honourable guests

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© Alexey S. Zlygostev, 2013-2017
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