I purchased my first team of Belgian mares 15 years ago. Well broke, they taught me a lot. I read and re-read your books, and Small Farmer’s Journals. As time passed, I have hooked up singles, team, 3 and 4 abreast, for many projects. Plus, events like parades, weddings, family gatherings and funerals. Almost 20 years later we have a dozen mares and our own stallion, with babies coming in the Spring of 2022. And I am always learning new things as I read.
Doug Strike of rural Sublette County is spending his second winter feeding wild elk in nearby Bondurant, Wyoming. Strike is supplementing his logging income as well as helping his team of Belgian draft horses to keep in shape for the coming season. From May to the end of November he uses his horses to skid logs out of the mountains of western Wyoming. I found the use of Doug’s beautiful Belgian team an exciting example of appropriate technology.
In New York State one does not explore the world of draft horses long before the name of Ed Button is invariably and most respectfully mentioned. Ed’s name can be heard in the conversations of nearly everyone concerned with heavy horses from the most experienced teamsters to the most novice horse hobbyists. His career with Belgians includes a vast catalog of activities: showing, pulling, training, farming, breeding, and driving, which Ed says, “I’ve been doing since I was old enough to hold the lines.”
The other day I offered him another of his favorite summer treats. As the temperature crept into the mid-90s, and the sun beat down on his black absorbent coat, I lifted the hose from the water tank I was filling and turned it his way. Tossing his mane, Ben did what he always does at this invitation: He turned about so that the water soaked both his sides, his eyes narrowing at the deep pleasure of this mid-day cooling. Then he ambled up and matter-of-factly took the hose-end from my hands into his mouth for a long, slobbering drink.