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Old 03-15-2010, 02:46 AM
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Default Care and Feeding of Horses


Care and Feeding of Horses


I'm going to be having more horses in my game than I did before; in Poland the riders that my characters encountered were country folk or local militia for the most part.

So I thought I'd include a few helpful comments here about the care and feeding of horses and other livestock.

1. Purchase of Horses

If it is possible to insist on a vet's inspection (in TW2000 this could be dubious) do so. In my game the CDC doc did a stint with the Department of Agriculture and knows the basics of animal care. The nose should be free of discharge but the nostrils moist. Eyes should be clear and the eyelids smooth. The front teeth should be level and undamaged. The hooves should have no cracks, and the feet should be symmetrical. The leg tendons should be hard with no puffiness. The coat should be shiny and clean with no lumps or parasites.

A horse should always be walked and ridden during an inspection.

For horses for military purposes avoid solid blacks and very light colors like light grey or white.

The ears should be carried forward and 'pricked'; this is a good sign of an alert horse.

The eye should be well set out at the back of the head so as to command a wide range of vision, and the eye should ideally be neither too prominent nor too deeply placed in the socket.

The head should not be large in proportion to the animal's size; big heads are heavy. It is noteworthy that more primitive horse types have very short strong necks to support their big heads, but modern horses don't have this feature. A horse ideally has a harmony between neck and head; a modern breed should have a strong curving neck and a head proportionally small in comparison to it. (Arabs, hunting breeds and racehorses are good examples.

A bull neck is strong, certainly, but not very flexible and therefore not the best for riding purposes. (think of a Clydesdale when thinking of a useful draught horse) Whereas a 'ewe neck' a long thin neck is not that useful for control purposes unless a martingale is worn.

The withers (the area from where the neck ends to where the shoulder blades peak) is a matter for care. It is a place of common injury for horses after the legs, since any pressure from above puts a great strain upon them. Therefore very high withers are not that desirable, and very low ones are more desirable for draught than saddle, again being a matter of flexibility. There must be visible strength and support in this area for cavalry type work.

The back should be short and strong, rising very slightly towards the loins. A long back is probably a weak one.

The loins should be strong and muscular so as to be able to carry hind weight well.

The ribs should be well hooped and deep, so as to give plenty of room for the internal organs. There should not be much space between the last rib and the point of the hip. At the girth place just behind the horse's elbow there should be a slight upward curve of the breastbone.

The shoulder muscles should be long and smooth, and neither bulky nor too upright. IN combination with the neck area of poll and withers the horse needs to have strong fluid muscularity in this area since it is the main support area for weight in the forward part of the horse.

The hindquarters of the horse should be strong and muscular, width is important in the heavy draught breeds.

(there is a LOT more that could be written here but this should give gms an idea of what buyers would be poking and prodding horses for)

2. Description

Colors include:
bay (from light golden or yellowish to a dark rich shade that merges into brown or the polished mahogany look of the blood bay. Bays with black points and black manes are esteemed as being a hardy color. White markings are common)
Brown (tends to become black towards the feet)
Chestnuts (dark liver color that approaches brown. Sometimes horses of this color are impetuous)
Dun (varying from a mouse to a goldenish color)
Roan (an intermingling of various colors in the hide that make a strawberry or bluish tone to the coat)
Piebald (black and white)
Skewbald (other colors than black and white; the American Pinto type is a good example)
Appaloosa (spotted horse)
Palomino (a rather blonde looking horse, brown with cream colored mane and tail)
(Apart from this, horses are distinguished by black or white feet, stripes, blazes and whiteness of face and so on)

3. Breeds

The game doesn't allow for difference of breed, but I think it should. I'm still working on stats about this but I'd be glad to hear ideas others have used. For instance it should make a difference buying an Arab versus a Connemara.

4. Foods

Foods horses can be given include:

Oats, maize, barley, wheat, rye, millet, rice, beans, peas, linseed, bran, brewers' grains, gram. (an Eastern grain)
In general grains should be free of mould, dirt, weevils and other bugs, rodent droppings and mustiness.

Oats are probably the best grain feed for horses, and a horse needs at least 10lbs a day. A horse doing heavy work can require up to 16lbs a day.

Maize is more likely to be available than oats in countries like African nations and in parts of places like India. It isn't so good for young horses but it produces good results with working breeds if used with clover hay, alfalfa or beans to make up for the protein defficiency in the grain. 7 1/2 lb of one part bean and two part maize can equal the 10lbs of oats. Note: maize is ideally given still on the cob, as it tends to go bad in not too much time during shipping once it is shelled from the cob. Of course some modern techniques can avoid that problem, but these might not be available in TW2000. Maize should be crushed or boiled if that is not possible to make it easier on the horse's mouth.

Barley is a good horse food. Barley should be parched or crushed, and it needs to be prepared because otherwise it causes serious digestive problems.

Rice is good though it should not be fed unhusked.

Wheat is also good, and in fact is more nutritious than oats, it requires only 7 1/2 lbs a day.

Bran is good as an enhancer food though it is very subject to mold and other defects and should be carefully inspected as bad bran can make horses very sick.

Beans and peas make decent food, but beans have to be aged about a year before they are good for horses to eat, otherwise they cause indigestion.

Horses can also eat potatos (cooked) carrots, apples, beets.

Horses need roughly 10lb of hay as well as the grain per day.

4. Feed schedule example.

Heavy Draught Normal Horses Ponies
Oats/Hay Oats/Hay Oats/Hay
Reveille 0/2 0/1 0/1
Morning 3/2 2/1.25 1.5/1.25
Mid Day 4/2 2.5/1.25 2/1.25
Afternoon 0/1.5 0/1.75 0.1.5
5 PM 4/2 2.5/1.25 2/1.25
8 PM 4/2 3/1.25 2.5/1.25
Hay Up 0/3.25 0/2.5 0/2.5

Note: it is better to vary feeding times but a strict schedule may not be possible in time of conflict or stress; 4 times is better than 3 times; 3 times better than no variance at all.

5. Principles of Feeding
1. water before feeding. (you can actually hear the water rushing through a horse's belly if you put your ear to the side) This helps with digestion, however it doesn't mean 'dont' water the horse unless feeding'.

2. Feed often in small amounts.

3. Grazing is good for horses. Grazing for an hour or so is equivalent to the hay feeding and in fact is relaxing and easeful for horses.


Horses need between five and fifteen gallons of water a day, and this can be split up into 3 intervals. A small sup of water is ideal before feeding to get the guts working.

Preventing Disease, Illness and Injury

1. Common communicable ailments include: anthrax (zoonotic) epizootic lymphangitis (causes small abcesss in the lymphatic vessels, causing swollen limbs. An innoculation can help with this) foot and mouth diease, animal influenza, rabies, rinderpest (eruptions around the face, discharges from mucuous areas,) tick fever.

2. common non-communicable ailments include: windy colic, choking, skin ulcers, wind sucking, crib biting, constipation, diarrhoea, leeches, lice, ticks, nettle rash.

3. Wounds can be anything from battle injuries to injuries from falls, from loose shoes, from nails or sharp stones against the legs and sides, bruising. Injuries to legs for instance can take place when horses are overworked or overtired, especially when doing such actions as loading or moving on and off vehicles. Horses can also get sore backs from being loaded improperly.

Transport by Vehicle, Rail and Sea

1. Space: generally the rule of thumb is that large animals need a 20 by 20 space while ordinary horses and ponies need about 16 by 16.

2. Hatchways and openings need to be about 18 by 14.

3. Rules of thumb: horses should be shod before transportation. They should have head collars on if they are going by ship. Straw or dirt is necessary as flooring. Walking on board larger vehicles, rail or ship by gangway is the best transport as it causes a minimum of stress. Backing troublesome beasts helps.


1. Equipment: anvil, sledge hammer, fire tongs, rasp, shoe tongs, turning hammer, concave tool (to pull out the hot metal) fuller (chisel set hammer) stamp (a punch) pritchel (long steel punch, to finish off nail holes)

2. Rule of thumb: a hot fitting requires skill but is better and easier to set straight and firm than a cold fitting.



Horses will not graze in the dark in unfamiliar environments. It takes a few days (maybe 1d6+1) for a horse to become familiar with it's environment. Horses should be grazed for one hour before and one hour after a march, minimum. In areas with little daylight (autumn/spring post nuclear Earth?) this can radically cut down your march time.

Graze times can be cut down by soldiers cutting fodder. This can be handled like foraging (actually, this is it's original meaning) and excess can be carried on pack horses.

A remount is the bare minumum for each soldier.

Saddles must be tailored to the horse, this includes pack saddles. It is plausible that plastic conformable military saddles may be produced before the destruction of the military infrastructure.

Horses are stupid, nasty and willfull. A personal bias I have is against Arabian stock, they seem to me to be the worst, thoroughbreds can be included in this category. Horses have personalities, use cards for them to describe their attributes. A strong club card may mean a biter, but a strong spade means that it's war between you and that animal, and you'd better win or ask Christopher Reeve what the result is. Gentle animals are prefered, you can dominate them and they'll do things a willfull creature won't.

For the deepest insights into horses, ask Barde. He'd be my first port of call with a horse question.

Horses can be worked to death, they will obey until they drop. This is because the command system is coercion, the horse must obey or suffer. It is a skill roll to monitor your horses welfare. Horses may even be considered to have a fluctuating wear factor. Strange things can kill an almost worn out horse that has been overused, things like drinking cold water. Cavalrymen have no sympathy for someone who kills their horse. Walk buddy.

(Mules are smarter, carry more and less delicate. Many artillery pieces are still able to be dismantled into mule loads.)



Good points, Chalkline. I would agree that the high bred horses like Arabians and Thoroughbreds are really more show and sport horses than suitable for the needs of the average group in TW2000. I'd like to put together a list of what horses are good for what.

BTW, about mules: mules actually vary in size depending on the area and the kind of animals bred to make them. American and s. European mules tend to be around the same size as a horse, wherea mules in places like Africa and Asia are more pony or even large donkey sized.

Mules should have the characteristics of draught animals when selecting them; strength and breadth are always good. Feet are narrow and boxy compared with horses but are actually very strong.

Mules and donkeys generally are easier to feed than horses, being a little less particular (the latter very much so) but both require clean fresh water just the same. Donkeys can carry from 50 to 150lbs. They need about 5lb of grain and about 13-15 lbs of fodder daily.

Camel notes: camels cannot swim well. They can sometimes fall and splay out and need a few people to help them up otherwise they might damage a limb. They are very good animals under fire when trained and will in fact remain in place when kneeling down. Camels need about 6lbs of ground barley or a similar kind of grain daily plus 16-25 lbs of fodder depending on the quality.

A camel's pack saddle weighs about 50 lbs and should be added to the weight the animal is being put on. (they can take up to 450lbs)

Riding camels are a different order of creature from the draught animal and are capable of a good marching pace and distance. They are a bit longer in the leg than regular camels. The saddle is often a double one since they can easily take two riders within normal weight.



Remember that a horse if you are fairly familiar can note when the horse observe (speaking of a T2k Skill) anything that is unnormal in the vicinty. I dunno if a horse can maintain this skill thru a longer period.

Swedish army has tried horses on K4 battalion to add to their borderprotection force couse the horse would "find" anything unnormal in the woodlands long before the most skilled soldier.


I can only make one person happy per day...
Today ain't your day...
Tomorrow seems to be a bad day also...



There's a couple sites to help you all with the horsey thing.

The Supply Bunker (which is a MP site) has a doc there about horses. It was written by an Englander I think, and some of the info put forth here looks as if it may have come from there, but it is good on the care and feeding aspect, and addresses different classes of horses.

Oklahoma State has a livestock site that is also very good, descibes ALL know breeds of all different livestock as well as horses. Don't have the link but google OSU livestock should get you there.
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