For thousands of years the horse was mans’ predominant means of transportation. Even the combined onslaught of the train (The Iron Horse), the automobile (Horseless Carriage), and the motorcycle (The Steel Horse) took nearly fifty years to dethrone it as man’s favorite means of getting from point “A” to point “B”. Now in this era of rising fuel prices and environmental concerns, is it time we all considered riding the horse again? Is it the hybrid we have all been waiting for?
Occasionally, our work here at Motor City allows us to experience so incredible events: Historic races like the Walter Mitty & LeMans, driving schools, auctions, car shows, the SEMA Show… -But one of the most rewarding parts of the job is interacting with the next generation of automotive enthusiasts. So, we jumped on a chance recently to help students at Providence Christian Academy (a local private school that really invests in to the lives of their students), as they researched material for their own alternative energy and transportation blogs.
Admittedly, the best student blogs were ones that didn’t need our help sorting through resources. We hope you enjoy this selection as much as we did:
A Battle of Horse Power: The Cars vs. The Horse
Do you ever wonder what would happen if we regressed to the olden days? What would our environment become if we began to rely on literal horsepower instead of pollution producing vehicles? Horses would certainly be an interesting alternative to the modern gas-guzzling car.
The cost of a horse is actually less than that of the average car. If you were to own a horse that was boarded at a nice barn that included all the care of the horse, feeding, mucking of the stalls, training and tack cleaning the annual cost would be around $12,000. However, if you were to do all the care that the horse requires at a rough board the price would drop considerably to $3,000 annually. These costs, sadly, do not include veterinarian care but the yearly routine that the horse requires can be only $200 to $300. This includes two annual vaccines, de-worming every six to eight weeks and teeth floating. Provided that your horse stays healthy the costs are not too bad, however, if your horse acquires a lame limb or colic (which are common in horses) the veterinarian cost can climb to $150 to $250 per visit. The farrier bill is anywhere from $100 to $400 annually, depending on the needs of the horse. Insurance adds another $150 per year for medical insurance and 4% of however much the horse is worth on mortality insurance. A horse eats 3% of it’s body weight per year, so you have to keep that in consideration as well.
Car ownership seems to have become a necessity to the American people but many have failed to realize the environmental destruction of the automobile and the overwhelming costs. Americans spent $1,132,824,000 on gas alone in 2006. Driving a car is the most air-polluting act an average citizen commits.
For the average American $14,000 is spent on gasoline alone in one year for a $4 gallon of gas. Add on another $2,500 or so annually for insurance, depending on the type of car. Annual finance charges and vehicle loans can cost $330, annual maintenance and repair around $650 and vehicle licenses and other fees can add another $420 a year.
So, you might be wondering how a horse would fare on long distances compared to a car. Well obviously a car would go faster but a horse can travel up to around 100 miles a day. At a walk a horse travels 5 MPH, at a trot 8 to 10, at a canter anywhere from 10 to 17 but at a gallop a horse can travel from 30 to 60 MPH. That way may be nowhere near the speeds of a car at long distances but consider the pollution that accompanies that speed. Air pollution is a serious thing. Local air pollution poisons humans because they are continually inhaling the contaminated air. Regionally there are airborne pathogens that can cause infections. Globally the pollution can change the atmosphere, oceanic biospheres and can affect the life on our planet.
A horse requires an acre and a half to two acres of land and a car only requires a garage but the feces of the horse can be used for fertilizer to produce the hay, grains, and grass that they need to survive. All in all a car may be easier to own and the cost for each may be similar but the environment would surely benefit from a little flash back.
2. What it Costs to Own a Horse. Rebecca Sweat.www.petplace.com/horses/what-it-costs-to-own-a-horse/page1.aspx
4. Average Spending on Gas.www.articleclick.com/Article/Average-Spending-on-Gas/1019983
5. Cars, Trucks, Air Pollution and Health.www.nutramed.com/environment/cars.htm