On Saturday, March 30, 2013 in Orange, Virginia, members of the Virginia Draft Horse and Mule Association (VDHMA), Old Dominion Draft Horse and Mule Association and Virginia Percheron Association trailered in to support Bob Brennan’s annual Farm Day. Other teamsters traveled from various parts of Virginia as well as North Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts and New York to demonstrate their skills in tilling a large field supplied by one of Bob’s neighbors for this public event.
Held the last few years, this October celebration has been a success because of a precise and combined effort of family and friends: Gary Moyer; Kathy Moyer, his wife; their sons, Matt, Gary, and their girlfriends; Gary’s mother and brother; friends Sally and Mark Shaw; as well as additional family and friends. The celebration offers homemade food and two corn mazes: one walk-through and the second a drive-through/spook ride where two teams of Haflingers carry visitors through the attraction, day and night. All in all, customers have found the drive-through to be particularly enjoyable.
Dinnertime rolled around before we could get people and horses off the field so that results of judging could be announced. I learned a lot that day, one thing being that people were there to share; not many took the competition side of the competition very seriously. Don Anderson of Toledo, WA was our judge — with a tough job handed to him. Everyone was helping each other so he had to really stay on his toes to know who had done what on the various plots.
Ethel, Washington once again saw the horses move in as teamsters arrived from Washington and Oregon to take part in the now annual Happ’s Plowing Competition. Percherons, Belgians, Shires, Norwegian Fjords, a Clydesdale and a pair of American miniatures all found their way to this small rural community to the ranch of Ken Olsen and Maureen Harkcom. Spectators followed and the day was “off and running.” Or, should we say plodding?
It was the weekend before the fourth of July and ten thousand people descended on Montgomery, Indiana for the 8th annual Horse Progress Days. There can be no doubt that this revolving event is the premiere international showcase for animal-powered agriculture. The previous two years it was held in the Lancaster area of PA. Before that, two years in Mt. Hope, OH and before that Indiana. The governing committee for the event has wisely chosen to revolve or rotate the location through Amish communities.
(On a recent) Sunday, a large field day was held for the second time in the surroundings of the Lauresham Open-Air Lab. The main purpose of the event was on one hand to strengthen the public awareness of animal traction systems, but on the other hand also to create a forum for professional exchange on various issues of harnessing, equipment, cultivation methods and animal welfare. In addition, there were information stands and sales booths with products that are characterized by the inclusion of animal traction in the production process.
Under scattered clouds and surrounded by dazzling fall foliage, small and part-time farmers and gardeners from at least four of the New England states gathered at Highmore Farm in Monmoth, Maine, for the second Small Farm Field Day on Oct. 12, 1985. Sponsored by the Maine Cooperative Extension Service, Maine Organic Farmer and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), Maine Small Farm Association (MSFA) and hosted by John Harker, manager of the Fruit Research Experiment Station at Highmore Farm, this one-day event is an intensive learning experience in practical small farming.
Many believe that plowing the land with horses and mules is one of the arts from former times that should be carefully preserved. In order to keep the memory of historic farming alive and to help farmers develop and maintain their skills of plowing with draft animals, several organizations have sprung up in various states. One of these is the North Carolina Work Horse and Mule Association, which sponsors several plow days and other related events each year.
Here are some pictures of a recent field day outing where several neighbors convened to plow 10 acres in preparation for oats, which happened to be the first public display of Tom’s Six in rope eveners. Even without signs advertising, “Caution, Grown Men At Play Ahead” a steady stream of vehicles turned in the driveway to either reminisce or gawk in wonder at the six plows and 18 horses all in one field. While every farmer hopes for – and needs – a bumper crop, shocking 10 acres of 100 bushel oats puts a strain on backs and good will for miles around. All the same, here’s wishing everyone a bin-buster.
The steady, rainy drizzle on Friday afternoon, September 26th, did not dampen spirits nor participation, as Animal-Power devotees from across the Northeast came to the 2008 Northeast Animal-Power Field Days in Tunbridge, Vermont, to gather around teams, to ask questions, and to watch and learn. Although it did not rain on Saturday and Sunday at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Hurricane Kyle and flood warnings throughout the Northeast created significant challenges for folks thinking about making the trip. This may have dampened the attendance levels, but certainly not the spirits of those who did come out. The workshops covered a huge variety of topics and were led by people with expertise in sustainable farming practices, renewable energy, working with draft animals, and issues around food policy.
Old Threshers Reunion is a 5 day Labor Day weekend event that hosts a series of horse demonstrations. Among the demonstrations were a Case thresher run off of a 6-sweep horsepower, a smaller thresher run by a 1-horse treadmill, a buck rake and Jayhawk swivel stacker, a grain auger and horse powered sawmill, and more. We were definitely interested in checking these out, so we rode along with Jordan who nabbed Ammon Weeks to ride along as well.
In a town where one is just as likely to see kids walking their 4-H lambs in the warm evening air as their dogs, the Threshing Bee came to life 32 years ago during a conversation between two local men. Back in 1969 and 1970, the Everett Metzentine family from nearby Wamic, along with their friends and neighbors, harvested grain from their fields using horses and horse-drawn equipment. While discussing the enjoyment and curiosity the harvest had generated, Metzentine and Dufur’s Bob DePriest decided a public threshing bee would be met with enthusiasm. Dufur, smack in the middle of dryland wheat country, seemed the perfect place to host the event.
Within the EU-funded Leader project “Horsepower – Innovation in small-scale agriculture and gardening” an online symposium took place on November 5 and 6. Hosted by Jeanette Junge, business manager of the Swedish Leader LAG PH, a total of 63 participants from 17 countries followed 14 presentations with current reports from research all-around the world, background knowledge and best-practice examples from European smallholdings.
There were times when 25,000 people showed up for the events and stayed through heavy rain, heat, and once even during the World Soccer Championship. The crowds were fascinated by the heavy horses, which despite their enormous weight of up to 2,200 pounds and their calm disposition, displayed impressive agility and speeds during the various tasks demanded of them.