by William Castle of Shropshire, UK
At the centre of the quiet village of Wendlinghausen in north western Germany is the early 17th century castle, Schloss Wendlinghausen. In August last year it again provided the setting for Pferdestark, the biennial exposition of draught horses and modern machinery. If you know Horse Progress Days, but shrink it to a tenth of the size, and swap most of the straw hats and baseball caps for a range of traditional European headgear, then you’ll get an approximate impression of Pferdestark. Though the scale of the two events is very different, what they share is a great atmosphere, lots of good horses and interesting machinery.
Daniel Hoffman with a newly imported White Horse Machine spring reset two way plough.
A scene that could be in America; American harness and a Pioneer cultimulcher. In the catologue the horses were described as Flaams Paard, or Flemish horses. These are in fact American Belgians, now being bred in Belgium. In contrast to the American Belgium which has been bred taller and lighter, in Belgium they were bred heavier and more massive. Just as some in America have returned to Belgium to get a horse more suitable for their purposes, so some in Belgium have gone to America to find a horse that suits their fancy.
A team of Bretons on an I and J Manufacturing’s enclosed gear mower with an eight foot cutter bar. The German company ESM, who make the double reciprocating cutter bars with the irreguarly spaced sections also had a stall at Pferdestark. Although they did not design the cutter bar for use with horses, being engineers they certainly appreciate its benefits for horses, due to the lower power requirements, and see a steady increase in demand for their product.
Prototype single row cultivator by Vitimeca.
The Schloss provides an elegent backdrop to the trade stands and the field demonstrations. In the foreground is a Breton horse with a Shipshe Farm Equipment cultimulcher.
Frederik Ahrens, the second youngest, and possibly the happiest teamster at Pferdestark.
The youngest teamster on the field, 14 year old Lewin Ahrens, with his family’s Fjords and a home made 4-wheel, ground drive forecart and a 1960s self loading forage wagon. editor’s note: Unusual breast collar harness featuring neck straps to carry tongue.
A pair of Haflingers with an I and J ground drive forecart and ground drive rotary rake.
A Brown Swiss cow and bull span.
This image and the next: Home made conversion of an International D10 mower to double cutter bar technology. The cutter bar is an earlier Busatis model; not the recent, and heavier ESM cutter bar.
New machine by the French company Vitimeca, made for loosening the soil in vineyards.
Detail of the spring loaded shovel which is pushed out of the way when the metal bar at the front runs into a vine.
Christoph Schmidz’s prototype ground drive forecart with a four rotor tedder.
Hisko ground drive forecart tedding hay with a team of Breton/Boulonais cross horses.
A pair of Percherons with a ground drive spreader from Lancaster Spreaders. The Hisko hitch cart comes as a basic forecart, or with ground drive, or as here, with the removeable engine.
Three views of the I and J enclosed gear mower.
Kurt Ohrndorf’s new ground drive version of the Hisko hitch cart with battery powered hydraulics. The mechanism is driven by belts from the wheels, which turn splined shafts on each side of the central 90 degree gearbox. This gives a pto speed of 580 rpm, or when reduced by the sprockets and chain, 220 rpm at 3 miles/hour.
The pto is engaged by hydraulic rams moving the driven pulleys forward, so tightening the belts. The splined shafts and universal joints are then in a straight line.
This hitch cart is designed so that it is front heavy. When hitched to a machine with the special disc-style coupling, the two are then self supporting, so the pole which was fixed can then move up and down independently. Because the forecart is heavy at the front, the disc style coupling in effect tries to lift the implement, so some of the implement’s weight is transferred to the forecart’s wheels. Therefore the downward force on the drive wheels is greater than the weight of the forecart, so maximizing traction whilst minimizing weight.
Frenchman Giles Marty with his Ardennes stallion drawing attentive crowds in the logging competition.