Welcome Roy and Clay to the Tally-Ho family of horses!
These two beautiful Clydesdales arrived home on July 16, 2012. They are settling in nicely and are learning the ropes around here… yes, grain is ok to eat, and so are carrots! Soon they will be greeting visitors and locals in downtown Victoria!.
Tally-Ho owns 17 draft horses, who live with Larry and his family on Hidden Acres Farm, which is located about 25 minutes from downtown Victoria. We take pride in our herd and endeavour to ensure their health and well-being at all times. Truthfully, they are like 1,800-pound dogs to us. If our old farmhouse could withstand their weight, they would probably be allowed to make themselves comfortable for Saturday night hockey in the living room.
We use Percherons, Belgians and Clydesdales in our operation which are chosen for their calm demeanour, willingness, and trust in the Tally-Ho team, which all contribute to making them ideal candidates to safely guide passengers through the streets of Victoria. Many of our horses have been doing their ‘jobs’ for years; they are highly experienced and enjoy their work.
Our horses work a variety of hours per week, depending on their age and their physical and mental condition. For example, Bud (born 1998) has a lot of energy; he needs to work a 5 day week in order to keep him both physically fit and mentally stimulated. In peak tourism season we operate two shifts of horses each day, with each shift working a maximum of eight hours. After each horse finishes their day they are immediately taken back to the farm for rest and relaxation with their buddies. It is important to us that our horses do not spend their time-off in the downtown area.
The Tally-Ho horses wear steel horseshoes that are encapsulated in polyurethane. These special shoes provide traction and decrease the friction of walking on pavement – they are like running shoes for horses. A set of shoes (for four feet) costs upwards of $250 and are generally replaced every two to three weeks, depending on how heavy a horse is on his feet.
Aside from their regular work in the downtown area, our horses have been featured in locally filmed movies, stolen the spotlight in advertising campaigns and officially helped create “Happily Ever-Afters” for many brides.
To view a photo gallery of our herd, please click here.
We have been very fortunate to develop an excellent relationship with our local hay supplier, whom we have used since 1998. He is our sole supplier of feed and specially formulates his hay crop to ensure the proper mix of nutrients for our working draft horses. Since 2002 we have been feeding round bales of haylage (you know, those big white marshmallow-looking things in farmer’s fields), which have contributed to the health of our herd in three ways:
- Round bales offer increased nutritional value over the traditional square bales;
- They simulate the closest thing to the horse’s natural eating habits as they enable them to graze all day and night. This not only ensures that the horses are getting enough to eat, but that they are not gorging themselves at each meal (thereby reducing the possibility of colic); and
- The consistency of the feed and the use of a single supplier ensure there is relatively no change in the horse’s diets (again, reducing the possibility of colic).
Our horses will eat approximately 600 round bales plus a few truckloads of sweet feed per year. Feeding these 1,800 pound giants is a large part of our operating expenses!
Tally-Ho’s horses have been under the care of Dr. Nick Shaw, Central Saanich Animal Hospital (www.petsareourpassion.com), for over 25 years. Dr. Shaw and his staff have a considerable amount of draft horse knowledge and experience and we have been pleasantly rewarded by their ability to diagnose and treat our horse’s ailments. Just like humans, dogs, or cats, each of our horses is an individual and must be treated as such when seeing the doctor. The length of time we have spent with Dr. Shaw ensures that our horses are known by our vet and receive personalized treatments.
“I have been looking after the draft horses for the Tally-Ho since 1985. During my tenure as the herd vet, I have always been very satisfied that Larry, Donna and their employees place a high priority on the health and welfare of the horses. The Tally-Ho people treat their horses with the respect and kindness they deserve. They do a great job looking after all the needs of the horses, provide a terrific service, and attract a lot of tourists to our fabulous city. Thanks guys!”
Nick Shaw, DVM