How We Make Outstanding Horse Care Our Top Priority
A big part of horse care, no matter what they do or where they live, lies in having access to a good equine vet and a caring family.
Whether down on the farm or pulling carriages on city streets, caring for a horse’s health is just one important part of the whole picture.
To care for even a single horse, never mind a whole herd, you must ensure their Five Freedoms and work to create a solid human/horse relationship.
Tally Ho Carriage Tours is passionate about providing the highest quality care for our horses. Read on to learn how we do it.
The Human and Horse Partnership
Since their domestication over 6,000 years ago, horses and humans have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship that involves companionship, care and help when needed.
The connection between humans and horses can bring out the best in both sides, but it’s the responsibility of the human half of the partnership to provide quality care and be fair in what they ask of the horse.
This deep connection plays a big part in what keeps our horses happy at Tally-Ho. To build that connection, we partnered with a top expert in the field of horsemanship to develop a training program that benefits both our horses and human staff.
Our carriage horses need training on the job too. Horses that are new to carriage driving are placed with highly experienced drivers who can help them adapt to the job with confident guidance. Our ultimate goal is to help the horses become calmer, braver, smarter and more athletic on a daily basis, which makes them more comfortable in all of their surroundings.
A Horse’s Five Freedoms
No matter the breed, where they live, or what they do, anyone keeping horses must ensure they meet The Five Freedoms for good physical and mental health.
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – we give our horses access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to high-quality haylage and supplement their diets with additional vitamins and minerals.
- Freedom from Discomfort – we go to great lengths to provide a healthy, quality living environment on Hidden Acres Farm. Our paddocks are kept mud-free, the horses always have access to clean drinking water and shelter and they are blanketed as necessary in all weather conditions.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – our horses receive top-notch health care through the work of our equine specialist veterinarian, farriers and health practitioners that provide physical treatments. More on this below.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – all our horses are kept in mini-herds, ranging from 5 – 12 animals per paddock. Each horse is matched to the paddock that they best fit based on temperament to create and maintain friendships with one another.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – horses are naturally scared of their environments without proper training. For this reason, we highly emphasize our horse development program and horsemanship.
Tally Ho Horse Care 101
Tally Ho’s staff and owners are as passionate about horse care as they are about providing a quality service in the heart of Victoria. After all, there would be no service without the horses.
These are some of the main ways we take care of our family of horses:
- A quiet home. The horses of Tally Ho Carriage Tours live at Hidden Acres Farm, a quiet place to relax, run around and play with their herd mates a mere 25 minutes from Victoria.
- Limited work. We carefully monitor how much each horse works and adjust according to their individual needs to ensure their physical and mental fitness. On average, each horse works less than 3 months throughout the year.
- Feeding and watering. Our horses have abundant access to feed and fresh water both at home and while working. Their diet is specially formulated by an equine nutritionist and adjusted for each horse’s individual needs to ensure they maintain a healthy body condition.
- Hoof health. Tally Ho’s certified farriers are at the farm twice a week to maintain the hoof health of our herd and fit them with shoes specially designed for walking on pavement.
- Harnessing. A harness is specially ordered to ensure proper fit and comfort for our working horses. It is cleaned and adjusted regularly, as a poorly fitted harness can cause discomfort to the horse, leading to unsafe behaviour.
- Emergency medical care. Each carriage, point of sale, staging area and the barn is equipped with an equine emergency kit and our staff are all trained in emergency horse care. Additionally, the details of any horse requiring or receiving medical treatment are displayed in our barn to allow for consistent daily application and monitoring.
- Veterinary care. A specialist equine vet provides medical care as needed and is always consulted when potential problems arise.
- Therapeutic massage and chiropractic care. Tally Ho uses chiropractic medicine and Deep Oscillation Therapy to relieve soreness and strains, ensuring maximum comfort and health for our horses.
- Easy retirement. When our horses reach the end of their working life, they are free to live out the rest of their lives at Hidden Acres Farm, where they can be with their herd and their loving human family.
A Four-Legged Family
At Tally Ho, every horse in our herd is a part of the family. So, we treat them with as much love, care and respect as we treat each other to ensure they are happy and healthy at work and home. After all, a healthy horse is a happy horse.
When you see our carriage horses around downtown Victoria or rural Saanichton, you see them doing what they love: pulling carriages and spending time with their human partners.