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What's your take on the euro-carousel-style walkers?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
    We had one of those "rusty redneck" walkers when I was a kid. Inevitably there'd be a troublemaker who would just stop walking and the whole exercise would grind to a halt. My hay guy, who still uses a traditional model, says he shoots BBs at the stopped horses. I'm like "WTF!", but he's, you know, a roper.
    The Kraft walker that the barn I was at had juice. You could turn on the hot pack and if a horse stopped in the stall while the walker was running, it got zapped. Only happened once or twice before a horse got the picture.

    I was really impressed with how quickly and easily horses figured out the process. My OTTBs had absolutely zero learning curve (as I'd expect, given that they'd both lived on a regular walker during the racing days) but my unbroke 2 yo also went in, looked around and walked and trotted like she'd done it her whole life as well.

    The walker could be set to walk, or to walk and trot, or to only trot (presumably even to canter, although I never took it that fast) and would change direction on it's own. You set the pace and the range of where you could take it was really broad.

    It was really a slick piece of equipment. When I spoke with the barn owner about the specific brand (I'd never heard of Kraft) she said she went with that one because the Eurocizer walkers she'd seen just didn't hold up at all. The Kraft walker was very sturdy and well made.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #22
      "maybe I'm just weird, but I always thought the purpose in owning a horse was to enjoy riding/driving it yourself."

      I would certainly not call you weird. You describe the ideal. But in my case -- and I'm sure I'm not alone among those who keep their horses at home -- with 3 horses and only me to do all the chores, there aren't enough hours in the day to do the maintenance and keep them in good condition. I'm lucky if I ride 3 times a week.

      The paddock paradise seems like a great idea on the face of it, and maybe it works like a charm with the right group of horses, but the guy's book is essentially idealistic speculation based entirely on his observations of wild horses. Aside from a single anecdotal testimonial, he includes no actual data whatsoever to support the claim that healthy "wild" environments can be artificially established in 4-acre paddocks. And I confess, he loses me altogether when he insists that drinking poop-infused water from artificial watering holes is beneficial. Yeck!
      Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by Simkie View Post
        When I spoke with the barn owner about the specific brand (I'd never heard of Kraft) she said she went with that one because the Eurocizer walkers she'd seen just didn't hold up at all. The Kraft walker was very sturdy and well made.
        EuroXciser is the only company that has responded so far, and I calculate the minimum investment in a 60-foot 4-horse model with a partial roof over the track is -- yipes -- $41,740! And that's not including lumber for the round pen fencing, or installation, or shipping, or site prep, or electric or plumbing. Add $2300 for the programmable controller that would make the whole thing usable. And to add insult to injury, this princely sum isn't even for the ceiling-suspended model, so you couldn't even use the interior as a round pen.
        Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
          EuroXciser is the only company that has responded so far, and I calculate the minimum investment in a 60-foot 4-horse model with a partial roof over the track is -- yipes -- $41,740! And that's not including lumber for the round pen fencing, or installation, or shipping, or site prep, or electric or plumbing. Add $2300 for the programmable controller that would make the whole thing usable. And to add insult to injury, this princely sum isn't even for the ceiling-suspended model, so you couldn't even use the interior as a round pen.
          Yeah, that's about what I figured. Thanks for confirming

          The one I used was a four horse model, no roof, center pivot, like this, only the wood sides weren't as tall. (You can see the actual walker I used about halfway through the gallery here.) Was awesome. Only issue was you couldn't use it when it was windy. The wind would blow the gates, tax the motor, and make the movement too unpredictable for the horses.

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          • #25
            re: Paddock Paradise, I am guessing your read Jaime Jackson's book? I borrowed it from a friend and that was pretty useless... However, there is a lot of valuable information on the internet about how to design and build those. I was just throwing that out as an option as it is quite cheap to install (I used Horseguard electric fencing) and I have seen a very significant increase in kms traveled daily. Mine is on less than 2 acres but the horses go back and forth and back and forth. I keep it as a closed loop most of the times since they get along and won't corner one another.
            This site has quite a bit of good info though it can be hard to muddle through... http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/

            Of course, a walker would be great also, but they are pricey and require you to be there to keep an eye on things. The ones with the dividers are a much better design IMO than those where the horse has his head tied.
            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

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            • #26
              Paddock paradise clearly requires a group of horses that feel warm and fuzzy about each other. All I know is it would not be pretty with my group. One mare likes nothing more than cornering the other mare and kicking the crap out of her. Open spaces they are fine. Even slightly confined not fine.

              Comment


              • #27
                Yes, non crap-kicking mares would probably be best
                "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                  I live around ropers and barrel racers, so I know what you mean.

                  Don't dismiss them off hand, they really, in their own way, take excellent care of their horses.
                  The better ones and the rest are learning fast from them, after being beaten by those, are the ones that have the horse at the vet, chiro, massage, water therapy, light therapy, any and all that comes out.
                  Nothing is good enough for their competition horses, to the nth degree.
                  Look at their magazines, they don't have anything on Dressage magazine, every little warmup and move training and competing is dissected and better ways thought off, some horses are "free runners", some "rate", some this or that and what to do to condition, train and compete those properly.
                  They are as good a "leg man" as the best at the track any more.
                  Not even talking about bloodlines and how they cross and which one gets along best with.

                  Then, they pull some like the BB to get a horse moving on the walker on you.
                  Isn't that the truth. DH (calf roper) is like this. Outta left field sometimes...
                  COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                  "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    My obsession with these walkers has progressed to the oval models. The only quote I've gotten so far is from Kraft: $69K for the smallest one (52 x 21 feet)! Plus freight, site prep, electric, plumbing, labor, etc. The US distributor for Röwer & Rüb apparently has better things to do, and has as yet declined to respond with a price list to my desperate plea.

                    In the end I'll probably just bolt together a few porta-panels into a sort of circle, and rootle around in the tack trunk for my old lunge line.
                    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Wow, figure double that price installed, then?

                      They sure are sexy. Put it on the list for when you win the lottery!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                        My obsession with these walkers has progressed to the oval models. The only quote I've gotten so far is from Kraft: $69K for the smallest one (52 x 21 feet)! Plus freight, site prep, electric, plumbing, labor, etc. The US distributor for Röwer & Rüb apparently has better things to do, and has as yet declined to respond with a price list to my desperate plea.

                        In the end I'll probably just bolt together a few porta-panels into a sort of circle, and rootle around in the tack trunk for my old lunge line.
                        There is also a Hitchcock pen, where you have that same aisle circle and can add jumps to it.

                        Has anyone really used both, regular walkers and the free walkers and decided which one and why worked best?

                        I think horses on regular walkers may be learning more than just to walk and trot around and around in a small cage, like to lead and to stand tied there.
                        We used ours for that, after teaching our weanlings and yearlings to lead, put them on a walker for a few rounds at the walk and they really then understood to follow when led and to stand there wait patiently their turn.

                        I am not sure horses learn much in the free exercisers, but exercise they will, definitely.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I don't know if they really *learn* anything on the kraft-style walkers, Bluey (well, they learn to move when the gate comes up behind them!)...but they're sure better for fitting up a horse, I think. And likely safer? The endurance gal I boarded with would leave horse on it for hours, walking and trotting, back and forth. Worked great for that purpose, and I don't think you could really do that with a traditional walker?

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                          • #33
                            I'm just not sold on walkers. I guess I can understand high level horses being put on them if they are on restricted turnout to prevent muscle stiffness/cramping and to prevent them from just sitting in their stalls all day. You could pay a person to get them ready for you for a lot less $.
                            I LOVE my Chickens!

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Megaladon View Post
                              I'm just not sold on walkers. I guess I can understand high level horses being put on them if they are on restricted turnout to prevent muscle stiffness/cramping and to prevent them from just sitting in their stalls all day. You could pay a person to get them ready for you for a lot less $.
                              Humans don't cost "a lot less" in race training.
                              Grooms and hot walkers are not cheap, compared with a walker.
                              Grooms and hot walkers already walk horses plenty.
                              Mechanical walkers add to that, good for a horse that is very fresh, or that doesn't need someone on his back, or that is a handful for other than experienced handlers, as some very fit, young race horses can become.

                              Now, those "free exercisers" that are so much more expensive, I don't know.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Megaladon View Post
                                I'm just not sold on walkers. I guess I can understand high level horses being put on them if they are on restricted turnout to prevent muscle stiffness/cramping and to prevent them from just sitting in their stalls all day. You could pay a person to get them ready for you for a lot less $.
                                The one time I have actually USED the walker (versus just playing around with it) was to increase stifle strength in an unbroke 2 yo filly after the vet found the patella was slipping due purely to a weak quadriceps muscle. The filly was out on 40 acres with a field full of active youngsters, but just wasn't playing around enough. The vet wanted her trotting for 15-20 minutes a day. My options were to longe her (smaller circle than the walker) or to break her (really not ideal for a growthy two year old) or to run her in hand (not possible for me.) I suppose I could have ponied her if I'd had another rideable horse, but I did not.

                                In my case, the Kraft walker that was conveniently available was really the superior option. If it wasn't available, we would have had to figure out something else--but my vet was THRILLED it was there.

                                And for high level endurance people, I can see how it can be the ONLY option, especially if you've got a string of horses. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to get them all ridden, unless you're employing a stable of people.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                  Humans don't cost "a lot less" in race training.
                                  Grooms and hot walkers are not cheap, compared with a walker.
                                  Grooms and hot walkers already walk horses plenty.
                                  Mechanical walkers add to that, good for a horse that is very fresh, or that doesn't need someone on his back, or that is a handful for other than experienced handlers, as some very fit, young race horses can become.

                                  Now, those "free exercisers" that are so much more expensive, I don't know.
                                  Hey man, if the OP is willing to pay 69k ( cost of one of the models listed) for me to ride her horses into shape, sign me up! I'd quit my day job for that gig!
                                  I LOVE my Chickens!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Megaladon View Post
                                    Hey man, if the OP is willing to pay 69k ( cost of one of the models listed) for me to ride her horses into shape, sign me up! I'd quit my day job for that gig!
                                    You and Bluey are talking about different things.

                                    A walker which is what is usually seen at the track generally runs under $10k. Usually used to walk hots.

                                    A eurosizer style walker, which is what the OP is talking about, is considerably more costly, but also arguably more useful, as they can be programed to cycle between walking and trotting (or faster) and reversing direction. They're also used in racehorse programs, but more often for fitting up a horse. Also used by sport horse and endurance people for the same reason.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                      You and Bluey are talking about different things.

                                      A walker which is what is usually seen at the track generally runs under $10k. Usually used to walk hots.

                                      A eurosizer style walker, which is what the OP is talking about, is considerably more costly, but also arguably more useful, as they can be programed to cycle between walking and trotting (or faster) and reversing direction. They're also used in racehorse programs, but more often for fitting up a horse. Also used by sport horse and endurance people for the same reason.
                                      I think she knows that, was just being funny.

                                      Here, a used and still good walker goes for $2000 to $3000.

                                      Some of the better grooms won't work where there is not one, as they think it teaches horses patience and to be led better, making life easier for all.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        There is a eurosizer style walker at the barn where I work - it's a pretty cool gadget. It can hold six horses, walk/trot/canter. The horses seem to look forward to their "morning walkies" with their friends.
                                        Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          #40
                                          Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                          You and Bluey are talking about different things.

                                          A walker which is what is usually seen at the track generally runs under $10k. Usually used to walk hots.

                                          A eurosizer style walker, which is what the OP is talking about, is considerably more costly, but also arguably more useful, as they can be programed to cycle between walking and trotting (or faster) and reversing direction. They're also used in racehorse programs, but more often for fitting up a horse. Also used by sport horse and endurance people for the same reason.
                                          Yeah, see, this programmable fitting-up stuff is the big attraction. As I may have mentioned, for a time I boarded my hunter at a fancy barn where she got an hour a day walk-trot-reversing in a Kraft, and she's never been in better shape. So I was really hoping that I could figure out a way to do a cheepo home version, not least because I've got to win a bet by completing an endurance race on a gnarly Arabian who hasn't been ridden in 3 years.

                                          But $69K? Hay-ell no.

                                          I did find this one for $7,500. But no matter which company makes'em, it turns out that the main expenditure is not in the machine itself, but in the required infrastructure -- walls, roof, footing, etc. Basically, in order for the walker to be useful in the hot Texas sun, I'd have to erect what is essentially an entire new building, with plumbing and electric complete. I'd end up spending way more to win the bet than the bet is worth.

                                          Then again, maybe people would finally stop asking me when my mares are due to foal.
                                          Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

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