We treat our equine partners as part of our family, and are committed to ensuring they always enjoy balanced health (mind, body, soul), are well trained, form a close bond of communication and trust with their drivers, and are happy in their work.
Tally-Ho uses only draft, or heavy horses, such as Clydesdales, Percherons, Belgians, Shires and a Suffolk Punch in our operations. They are the lifeline of the company, providing the general public a sensational opportunity to be introduced to horses, contributing to the vibrancy of Victoria, and creating employment opportunities for those of us whom are fortunate.
On average we have 20 draft horses in our herd, ranging from 9 to 22+ years old, and with various levels of skill development. For a horse to become part of our team, he must enjoy the work we do. All our horses have the right physical and emotional fitness levels to perform their jobs with ease, dignity and comfort.
A draft horse can easily pull a wheeled vehicle that is six times their own weight: our carriage horses are only expending about 20% of their capacity at a very low-impact level. Our horses are often living up to 10 years longer than the draft horse average due to their health care and lifestyle.
Many of the breeds we use are sadly facing the threat of extinction. Having worked alongside mankind for over 6,000 years, during peace and war, and significantly contributing to building our communities and influencing our history, recent estimates show an alarming worldwide decrease in some draft horse breeds, with some falling to the critical point: Clydesdale: < 5,000; Shire: <2,000; and Suffolk Punch: <850.
We are honored to share our lives with these amazing, beautiful, goofy, playful horses and hope you enjoy getting to know our amazing equine partners as much as we do!
Care & Comfort
Our horses are part of a family of owners and employees and will always be provided a home to live out their lives with one of the humans who love them. We have a number of horses in our herd that are no longer working and are kept strictly as pets.
We consider the horse’s point of view first, and then we know the best way to present our idea
Horses and humans are better together then they could ever be apart. We learn lessons from horses that are very rarely found elsewhere. They are a gift to us, and we have a major responsibility to give an equally big gift back to them: with the right approach our horses can become calmer, braver, smarter and more athletic on a daily basis, which makes them more comfortable in all of their surroundings.
Horsemanship is the art of developing our equine partnerships so that the rewards from the connection are equal to both humans and horses. It considers the horse’s point of view first, and then we know the best way to present our idea. When are able to communicate within their world, we are able to build deeper, more meaningful and trusting relationships. The better our horsemanship is, the more correct and right we can be for our horses.
In 2016, Tally-Ho Carriage Tours partnered with Glenn Stewart, a leading expert in natural horsemanship, to develop and operationalize a horsemanship program that will deepen our equine connections. Glenn is a former Champion of the Cowboy Up Challenge at the Calgary Stampede and was chosen as one of the Canadian representatives in the 2012 Road to the Horse, the World Championship of Colt Starting in Murfreesboro, TN. He was also nominated as one of Western Horse Review’s Horseman of the Year.
“Horsemanship is what keeps you and the horse safe and gives both parties enjoyment. The more you understand the horse and work with their natural tendencies the more extraordinary the results can be. It is natural if you cause and allow learning to happen rather than make. Considering the horse’s point of view first and then the best way to present your idea can all be learnt. If you get it right, everything else will be too! If you understand what is important to them, have the ability to read each as an individual and know the why, the how and the when to responding, the possibilities for what horse and human can achieve in a partnership are limitless.”
The Tally-Ho herd is provided a specially-formulated haylage crop as their main feed source, plus each horse receives supplementary grains based on his/her individual needs, in consultation with a feed specialist.
In total the herd will eat approximately 400 round bales plus over 36,000 pounds of supplements per year. Feeding these 1,800 pound giants is a large part of our operating expenses!
Tally-Ho works closely with a team of equine specialists to ensure the health of our herd.
Our veterinarian oversees the health of the herd, including monitoring each horse’s body condition; working with our farriers to ensure optimal hoof care; providing routine treatments such as shots, de-worming and teeth floating; and addressing any periodic health concerns.
In consultation with local feed and nutritional experts, Tally-Ho has developed a feed program specific to each individual horse’s needs and requirements. A horse’s age, physical condition, and amount of work or exercise will determine the type and quantity of supplemental feeds he receives each day.
We work with both an equine chiropractor and a massage therapist to ensure optimal joint and muscle health. The horses absolutely love these treatments and are often half asleep by the time they are completed!
Tally-Ho also works closely with the City of Victoria and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) to ensure Victoria’s carriage horse industry is recognized as a leader in ensuring the overall health and vitality of the City’s working horses. We have contributed to the development of the following Regulations:
- Limiting working hours for all horses
- Requiring mandatory veterinary oversight
- Restricting operating areas in the downtown core
- Ensuring horses have shelter from the elements, access to clean water and appropriate forage at all times
- Requiring all operators to be licensed and subject to third-party inspection
In the wild, horses wear down their hooves naturally by walking on rocks, trees, vegetation, etc. Domesticated horses have their hooves trimmed and protective horseshoes mounted by professional farriers who are specialists in equine hoof care.
Tally-Ho’s team of certified farriers are at the farm weekly to provide pedicures to the herd. Their job is multi-faceted, ranging from acting as veterinarians by watching for changes in hoof health; individualizing each horse’s foot care and treatments; and creating special shoes to provide the right support (like orthotics for horses). The end result is that our horses are balanced in their gaits, which is a major contributor to long-term joint and muscle health.
For more information: Success Story! Hoof Care
In addition to the Tally-Ho horses, Hidden Acres Farm is also home to a few other four-legged friends:
Breed: Australian Shepherd
Gypsy is very smart and a stunning example of the breed, with the blue merle coloring extending to one of her eyes (one is blue and the other brown). She is chief in charge of order on the farm, and we are constantly amazed at her patience with her ‘little’ sister Jax! Gyp is always happy, and absolutely loves truck rides!
Jax is a social butterfly, greeting anyone and everyone with joyful abandonment and a lollygagging tongue. She’s quite the character and is always making us laugh with her antics and expressiveness. Jax weighs in at about 130 lbs, which is pretty standard for a female Leonberger, and is the perfect size for walking next to her humans so they can constantly scratch her head (without bending down). If you haven’t experienced Leonberger hugs, they really are the best (except maybe after a day of romping in horse paddocks!).
This designer kitty is a hilarious mix of stunning beauty with deadly instincts. When not lounging in his pink build-a-bear bed (with fur trim), he is outside surveying the property to ensure we are not overrun by rats, mice, lizards or birds. His favorite place: the cutting board on the kitchen counter (why? because he’s NOT allowed there!).
Breed: Friesian x Percheron x Thoroughbred gelding
Briar has such a sweet personality and quickly picks up new tricks and ground exercises. He excels at jumping and loves trail rides in the park behind the farm.
Breed: (pony) Welsh Cob x Halflinger mare
Jazz is the ruling “princess of the paddocks”. She is true to her training and is always ensuring that we are clear and effective in our communications with our equine partners.
Nahla (aka “little Miss”) is the latest fur-baby to join us on Hidden Acres Farm. She has a luxuriously soft, silky coat and a long bushy tail. Nahla loves her days on the farm with us (she’s become quite the gamer, following us around like the dogs); she’s got no fear and has quickly become BFFs with the dogs; and she’s even wedging her way into Milo’s heart (slowly…there’s no need to rush into these things…).