The 13th Annual U.S. Draft Horse and Mule Plowing Contest was hosted again this year by Mike and Joyce Downs on their farm located in Olympia, KY. This is the 2nd year for the competition to be held on this majestic piece of land located in Bath County, KY, where teamsters did not have to do the dead furry mambo in the back part of the field. This year’s competition was held in late October 2017, hosting 21 teamsters from six different states.
The plowing competition consisted of seven teams broken into two-horse hitch, three-horse hitch and a seven-horse hitch using two-bottom plows. Most plows were Pioneer but spectators along with other teamsters got to see a White Horse plow and an Oliver plow as well. The horses, the plows and the teamsters worked well together turning over the ground throughout the day.
We Millers were invited to attend the Fiftieth Anniversary Oregon Draft Horse and Mule Breeders plowing match at the Yamhill County Heritage Center in McMinnville. I was one of the judges (along with Michael Webster). Kristi took photos, some of which you see on these pages. It was a splendid day, perfect weather and a well organized event with lots of spectators.
After a hiatus of more than a decade, the Oregon Draft Horse community has a full-fledged Draft Horse and Mule Plowing Competition once again. Organization president Duane Van Dyke was quite excited about the conversion back to competition from the long standing ‘demonstration’ play days that have been held over recent years. This year’s May event featured a whole lot of animals and a great crowd of participants and spectators all enjoying the emerald green beauty of Champoeg State Park.
They advertise “rain or shine” for the Rock Creek Plowing Exhibition and this year they were put to the test. I’m happy to tell you that the horses and teamsters and spectators passed the test with flying, if soaked, colors. But I had forgotten that folks west of the Cascade Mountain range are accustomed to this sort of weather. I think it was my friend Ron VanGrunsven who, when I asked him why he was there, remarked “It’s too wet to do anything else.”
Howell Living History Farm’s 13th Annual Plowing Match was held on Saturday, August 31, 1996. Howell Farm is a 130-acre working farm located in Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey. It was donated to Mercer County in 1975 by Inez Howell, widow of State Congressman Charles Howell, and it is in the ongoing process of restoration to a family farm circa 1900-1910, when horses were still the main power source. The Mercer County Park Commission opened the farm to the public in 1984 and their first plowing match was held that year. It has been a success ever since.
The fourth annual Happ’s Horse Power Days proved to be a weekend of “dreams come true.” The event was expanded this year as we make steps toward building the event into something “bigger and better” for both the competitors and the spectators. We want to provide additional challenges for teamsters and their horses, as well as the opportunity to show what they can accomplish together. We hope to help the public learn about breeds of horses, types of plows and other horse-powered equipment, and bring generations who have drifted so far away from working the land a little closer to understanding what it means to those of us who still follow that way of life.