When spoken to, horses distinguish tones rather than particular words. Listen for the wranglers’ yelps and whoops in this video.
In the wild horse world, the mare decides when and where the herd will go while the stallion follows. While watching the video, see if you can tell which ones may be mares.
HOW MANY HORSES DO YOU HAVE?
Palmer Gulch Stables maintains a herd of around 100 head of horses. Ninety saddle horses and 10 heavy drafts. The Draft horses are used to pull the covered wagons on the Chuck Wagon Dinner Show.
WHAT BREED OF HORSE DO YOU USE AT THE STABLES?
You’ll see characteristics of many horse breeds here, Quarter horses, Appaloosas, Paints, Arabians, Shires, Belgians, Percherons, to name a few. However, even the casual observer will quickly appreciate the extra size of these horses. Averaging 200 to 300 pounds per head more than your average saddle horse, these guys are big. This additional size is attributed to a bit of draft in their pedigree and makes them ideally suited to these mountains. They are strong, willing, and very patient. When traveling up and down these mountain trails, the strength of a horse is of prime importance.
ARE ALL THE HORSES GENTLE?
Building a great string of guest horses takes time. The average horse does not have the disposition to do this kind of work. They are too hot, or too nervous, or they cannot cope with being around so many people. The horses you see at the barn have proven they have the right stuff. They really do like people, and they enjoy the special care and attention they receive. Each morning as the sun rises and the wranglers stumble sleepily out of the bunk house, the horses are impatiently waiting for their run to the barn. These guys really do love their job.
ARE THEY BOY HORSES OR GIRL HORSES?
Most of the horses are geldings but about a third are mares. Geldings tend to be more stable, but the mares have more heart and are the decision-makers of the herd.
HOW OLD ARE THE HORSES?
The average age is around 12 or 13 years old. Every spring we purchase a few young horses that the wranglers ride. These young horses are learning the trade and will hopefully become members of the crew in a few years.
You will also notice some old-timers in the string. These older horses are our favorites. They are the “baby sitters” of the barn, carefully carrying young children.
To be a “kid’s horse” at Palmer Gulch Stables is a great life for a horse, they are treated like royalty. At some point, these horses will let us know that they are ready to retire. Still sound and quite able for light work the horse is given away to a good family looking for a safe youth horse. This horse will spend his retirement teaching a young boy or girl about horses.
DO ALL THE HORSES WORK EVERY DAY?
Yes. Our goal is to bring each horse to the barn every day. We keep a large herd so the horses can be rotated throughout the day. Each horse will go on two or three rides a day, with a rest between each ride. While the horse can easily do more rides each day, we have found that two or three rides keep the horse enthusiastic about his job, and make him much more enjoyable to ride. We also believe that steady light-duty work reduces injury and prolongs a horse’s career.
WHERE DO THE HORSES GO AT NIGHT?
The owners of Palmer Gulch set aside around 50 acres of open land for the remuda. This pasture is important for the mental well-being of the herd. These horses need to spread out at night and enjoy some quiet time.