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Thread: Horse or ATV

  1. #1
    Member kantill's Avatar
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    Default Horse or ATV

    There is a thread going right about which type of atv on should get, side by side, 6x6 or just a plain atv. So I propose a different option, what a about a horse. The pro and cons that I can see are.

    The pros

    Doesn't run on gas or electricity
    Makes a lot less noise
    Can haul a large amount weight


    The cons:

    Need to feed and water
    Training
    Can't really haul two people
    Cost of ownership

    This has been a debate in my house for a bit with the wife and I was just seeing what others input was.

  2. #2
    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    I have both...The horse is a HUGE commitment...Time, (24x 7 care) training, food, vet bills, boarding, and if they are yard ponies they don't like the couple times per year of rugged outdoor work, (they get sore too)...But they can go many places a side by side can't...The side by side (ATV) requires maintenance before and after the hunt and can be stored in a much smaller "stable"...Does't eat nearly as much, and you don't have to clean after it as often...And you can share the the side by side with your better half or hunting partner...

  3. #3

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    Yup,
    ATV eat only when your ride'em. If you enjoy horses, you will love hunting with them. If you regard them to be strictly for utilitarin purposes, you will likely find them to be a pain in the arse. If you can grin and bear the reality of a horse stepping on your cold toes and not get upset, then you are ready for ownership.
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  4. #4

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    I grew up with horses between my knees and owned them and hunted with them here in Alaska for close to 20 years. Still use them in the Southwest each year, so I guess I'm still "current."

    I won't own an ATV after being around them in the hills, but I don't have time for horses even when I have money. No comparison between the two for hunting results, with horses hands down winners, but at a price. Not on your list are vet bills, ferriers, and roughly an hour a day messing with them 365 days a year, even when you go on vacation. You can figure on two hours a day messing with them in camp, then losing sleep at night with every little noise. And the better the horse, the more likely it is to break. Just a rule. Dink horses never get hurt, but the good ones are always hurt.

    There's also this: Guys can buy ATV's or Sears plastic puker boats and they're instant experts. Buy a horse and climb on its back, and you'll meet the real expert. If the horse is going to do what you say, you better know a whole lot more about horsemanship than it does.

    Ah, but then there's your wife. There's something about women and horses, sezz this guy with a wife and two daughters. Ask yourself this: Even with them helping you're going to put in your hour a day working with the horses. But will they stick around and enjoy your company if you're putting an hour a day into your ATV. With a woman in the house, the horse is a better bet. Hands down.

  5. #5

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    Hi Kantill,
    So you are trying to decide between purchasing an atv or horse and I am going to take a wild guess that your wife wants the horse and you want the atv?! I have owned horses for about 15 years and have worked full time in the horse industry (veterinary and ranching) for the last 10ish years...so I can try to give you a little input It looks like you already know and understand the pros and cons, but I'll try to expound on them.
    Horses are a LOT of work for sure. The biggest difference between atv and horse is you can't just put the horse in the garage during the week if you don't want to use it. They have to be fed at least twice a day, fresh water, and cleaned up after which is a huge chore in the winter especially. When I had horses in Alaska and it was freezing cold, blowing snow dead of winter the last thing I wanted to do (especially on weekends lol) was get up and go directly to the barn to feed, water, and clean. When I was a teenager and lived at home I missed out on most of the fishing trips on my parent's boat because I had to stay home and take care of my horse. Back then I only owned one horse but to offset the monthly cost I let other people board their horse(s) at my little barn and I did all the feeding/chores etc for them. They really tie you down unless you have someone else that can take care of them for you, or you board them on someone else's property which is expensive. Depending on where you live (Washington??) the montly cost to keep one can sometimes be an arm and leg. You have to factor in Hay + grain, farrier trims or shoes every 6-8 weeks, de worming every other month, vaccinations twice a year although you can sometimes get away with once a year, etc. There is also the initial cost of purchasing all the tack and grooming supplies, the unexpected vet visits for colic or wounds etc. The initial cost of buying the horse and tack is not the biggest expense, it is the monthly bills just to keep the darn thing alive and working hahaa. You have training listed as a con...the horse market is a buyer's market right now for sure, you can get an already trained horse cheap right now! If you want one that is trained for riding and also has experience packing wild game meat that might be a little harder to find but not impossible. If you don't have experience buying horses I would recommend taking an experienced horse person with you if you think you found "the one". There will know what to look for as far as lameness and behavioral issues go (as long as the seller doesn't drug up the horse to hide a lameness problem).
    But after all the hard work and money spent, they are SO much more fun to ride than an atv (just my opinion though)! Of course it usually hurts more if you fall off or get bucked off lol. Are you looking to get one or two for packing or just riding trails? As far as trail riding goes nothing beats jumping on a horse and taking off for a day long adventure on beautiful trails with just you, your horse, the wildlife, and God's beautiful creation of mountains, rivers, trees etc. all around you with nothing to hear besides your horse's footfalls and breathing and the sounds of the forrest! It is also hard to beat the feeling of the freedom you get on the back of your horse running full out through a field! Although I do have to say, you don't have to worry about your ATV spooking at a moose and throwing you off while you are riding the ATV full throttle through a field hhaaahahaa. Last time I rode an ATV it didn't have a mind of it's own or an attitude problem like my horse does lol.
    Keep us posted on how the debate goes in your house

  6. #6
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    I just ended my recent foray into horses. The great thing about horses is you can go places noone else is allowed. There is the PRO now for some cons. Don't have an acre or two 600.00 per month per horse to start. Maybe can save a couple hundred if you've got land. You or someone has to be there twice a day for feeding, brushing, hoof cleaning, and maybe some riding/training. If you plan to keep the horse at home now you can't have just one, horses are herd animals most will start to get nutty by themselves I've had this happen on a long solo hunting trip. One other thing they will pick the coldest, windyest, most misarable days to escape.

    When a horse has packs on they are close to just as wide as a 4 wheeler. But I have never parked my 4 wheeler taken off my shoes only to look up and see it heading for the truck 15 miles away. But this has happened with a horse.
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    My wife was born in Montana and raised around horses all her life. When her family moved to Alaska they had horses right up until we got married. I was pretty certain that I would have horses and cows all my life until we started having kids. Pretty soon the horses were gone, and then we got rid of the cows. We haven't missed them one bit. We got ATV's and never looked back.

    Vet bills, feeding twice a day, fence construction and repairs, keeping water thawed at -40F, shoeing, trimming, brushing, grooming, getting bit, getting kicked, shoveling crap, transporting to summer pasture, bringing them back, buying hay, bucking hay, buying feed, and a million other things that can go wrong with a living creature made us not miss them one bit. It didn't help that I was allergic as hell to the dang things and I now save $100 a month in pills I don't have to take.
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  8. #8
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd eat the horse during the winter and use the money I saved on beef to buy gas for my wheeler during hunting season..........JMO
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kantill View Post
    There is a thread going right about which type of atv on should get, side by side, 6x6 or just a plain atv. So I propose a different option, what a about a horse. The pro and cons that I can see are.

    The pros

    Doesn't run on gas or electricity
    Makes a lot less noise
    Can haul a large amount weight


    The cons:

    Need to feed and water
    Training
    Can't really haul two people
    Cost of ownership

    This has been a debate in my house for a bit with the wife and I was just seeing what others input was.
    I am assuming you are comparing your pros for a horse to a wheeler.

    That last pro I have to question. Yes they can haul more weight than a person. But no way can it compete with the weight a single wheeler can haul. Between towing a trailer and what you can load on a wheeler you will FAR exceed what a horse can haul.

  10. #10
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    If you can not afford both, then you probably can not afford horses. I have no idea how much hay costs up there but I'm going to guess that it's not cheap. Then farrier, vet, medicine, corrective shoeing, boarding, tack, horse trailer+ rig to tow it, and the list goes on. I have had one in the past and I might again but it's a big commitment of time and money. Best advice- spend more on the frontside and get a completely solid and dead-broke horse that will do what you want. Get some one on one with a trainer. Also, you should probably get two horses- they are herd animals.

  11. #11
    Member kantill's Avatar
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    Well AKcowgirl81 to your statement of I want an ATV and she wants a horse the answer is yes and no. I have told her no for the last 11 years but with the idea of us moving to Alaska and going to try to get some land I have faltered from my stand point. Just with the amount of land Alaska has and the likelyhood of me affording chartering an plane anytime soon, I thought horses would be good choice. I had horses and burrows when I was younger so I know how much work and how very expensive they are. I lean toward the idea of atvs just due the fact like has been said that you can leave them alone for weeks on end with no issues. I also know how busy we try to stay with camping and me hunting the idea of something that will take up that much time and money makes me very hesitant.

  12. #12
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    Default Horse gets my vote.

    The advantage you will like about horses that in my opinion is worth feeding them all year, is that you can access CUA's and wildlife refuges that 4-wheelers can't, and you can cover way more ground than walk-in hunters can. While you will still have some hunter competition, it will be about a tenth or less than it would be if you were 4-wheeler hunting. Plus if you want to get trophy size moose horses are undoubtedly the way to go, but if you're looking for just meat moose then 4-wheelers are probably the better option.

  13. #13
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 33outdoorsman View Post
    The advantage you will like about horses that in my opinion is worth feeding them all year, is that you can access CUA's and wildlife refuges that 4-wheelers can't, and you can cover way more ground than walk-in hunters can. While you will still have some hunter competition, it will be about a tenth or less than it would be if you were 4-wheeler hunting. Plus if you want to get trophy size moose horses are undoubtedly the way to go, but if you're looking for just meat moose then 4-wheelers are probably the better option.
    So, what your saying is get a horse and deprive your kids of food so you can buy hay to keep the horse alive. Sorry, but I'll feed the horse to my kids and shoot a moose first on the side of the highway. Hell even the indians don't ride horses anymore. They have nicer ATV's than us with all the indian casinos that are running now. They used what they had in the day, but sorry folks to say, they ain't as primitive as you idiots anymore. Heck, they used to ride the horse to the killing grounds. Now they ride the 4 wheeler to the meat market cuz it's cheaper than hunting. So who's the dumb arses here..................lol
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by 33outdoorsman View Post
    The advantage you will like about horses that in my opinion is worth feeding them all year, is that you can access CUA's and wildlife refuges that 4-wheelers can't, and you can cover way more ground than walk-in hunters can. While you will still have some hunter competition, it will be about a tenth or less than it would be if you were 4-wheeler hunting. Plus if you want to get trophy size moose horses are undoubtedly the way to go, but if you're looking for just meat moose then 4-wheelers are probably the better option.
    While it is a good thought and if you enjoy horses as a hobby anyways then great. But IMO you can buy a lot of airplane charter time for the amount of $$$ it costs to feed a horse year round and likely have just as good or better hunting. Notice I said buy airplane charter time NOT buy an airplane as they are more cash hungry than a horse

  15. #15
    Member kantill's Avatar
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    Grizzlyh just like my first post there is pros and cons for both. There are places that a horse can go that atv rider could never dream about, don't get me wrong the part about feeding the kids is one of the reason I have an issue with horses the are very expensive. The main point I was looking for in this thread was in Alaska which would be better a horse or atv for hunting. Taking in count the winter, predators and any factors that I have not thought of, also taking in the positive factors like the ability of terrain, not running out of gas or mechanical issues. As for the cost of either this thread under bases of the idea that one could afford either choice.

  16. #16
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantill View Post
    Grizzlyh just like my first post there is pros and cons for both. There are places that a horse can go that atv rider could never dream about, don't get me wrong the part about feeding the kids is one of the reason I have an issue with horses the are very expensive. The main point I was looking for in this thread was in Alaska which would be better a horse or atv for hunting. Taking in count the winter, predators and any factors that I have not thought of, also taking in the positive factors like the ability of terrain, not running out of gas or mechanical issues. As for the cost of either this thread under bases of the idea that one could afford either choice.
    My youngest son is an animal on a wheeler. I saw him shoot a bou 3 mountain tops away this fall. He got a beauty 27 pointer. but now how to get him was the question, after the kill. My son walked over 3 mountain tops and came back 3 hours later and said...Dad, I can get him on the wheeler and my response was your crazy. He took off on that wheeler and was back in 35 minutes. I saw him go up the first mountain and figured my sons gonna die. I could not even believe he got the wheeler to that animal, let alone get back. But my son's a kickass wheeler and snomo rider. I guess it comes down to if ya ain't got the balls, ride a horse.....lol
    Not so sure he couldn't ride up a mountain on a wheeler and just grab a dang goat off the face of the cliff and ride back with it. He's an animal. We call him the Wasilla Gorilla. Wonder why?...........lol
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  17. #17

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    I just bought a John mule a couple of months ago for the sole purpose of hunting. My daughter already has a horse so I figured she could help out with the additional duties. It's a great opportunity to spend an hour or two each day with my daughther while we muck the stalls and care for the animals. Still hunting with a mule is a challenge. The pros are many for instance you can see over the brush and spot moose easily while sitting on top of your mule. There's no need to shod a mule and they will eat practically anything. That includes any exposed wood in the barn, which is why I spent a couple of weekends covering every piece of wood with tin edging. The main problem is figuring out how to shoot a bow while sitting on a mule. I can't get him to hold still long enough to draw and anchor plus I'm concerned he may buck or bolt once he hears the release. Just a training issued that I plan to remedy this winter. I have a side by side (Rhino) but hitting the trails for hours while being bounced and jolted around is not my idea of fun. I'm far more experienced at horse riding than I am at driving an ATV. Plus, I'm always amazed at the number of times I've watched a moose exit a swamp or wooded area once an ATV has driven past. Riding a mule is far less of an alarm to moose, they rarely even spook until you attempt to clumsily dismount. My expectations is that this mule will greatly increase my hunting success if not I've still got the father/daughter time to look forward to. Best wishes to you
    Keith

  18. #18
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    I have had horses for 30+ years in Alaska. I think most of the Pros and Cons have been covered, except one. You can go out to the barn and brush and talk to your horse all you want. Might be the best "counseler" a person can have. Nobody every worries about you talking to your horse. Try talking to your 4-wheeler a lot. People will start to wonder about you.

  19. #19
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    I just did my first horseback hunt. We went some places a fourwheeler would find difficult. It was also a no atv area, so opened a hunt that would have been nigh impossible without horses. I've never had a fourwheeler kick me and nearly break my knee. I did have a client break his collarbone rolling the fourwheeler over himself. I was nearly killed crossing a river on an ATV. I had a horse that was a little nutso crossing creeks; there was some danger there. If you run out of gas for a fourwheeler out in the bush, there's not much recourse except bringing in gas by plane or a buddy with a wheeler. If you run out of grain for your horse, they still eat grass. One horse is not enough to pack out a moose. Depending on size, I believe max load for a horse ranges from 200 to 300 pounds. So pack animals are important.

    If someone who loves horses and raises them offers to let me ride one with them on a hunt, I'll happily do so! If I could afford to keep them, I'd probably have a couple. If I had that money on hand, though, I'd already have an atv, and be on the lookout for horses.

    Hay seems to run about $14 a bale up here. We have long winters, and sometimes only get one cutting a year. This year Palmer had a real tough time harvesting ANY hay, due to the rain.

    I think the greatest advantage of horses in Alaska is being able to hunt the non motorized areas. This opens up some very remote style hunts at a greatly reduced cost- if you don't factor in the day to day expense of keeping your horses.

    Horses have personality. They are moody. They may not want to pack for you, let you ride them, stand still or start to move when you'd like them to. ATV's aren't moody; though it helps if you know a bit about engines and moving parts. They don't always start or stop when you'd like them too, either.

  20. #20
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Which ever one the wife wants

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