The Harness for Draught Horses: a Review
by Lynn R. Miller of Singing Horse Ranch
Readers of this publication will recognize the names of Albano Moscardo and Paul Schmit as authors of an important, multi-year series of scientific articles pertaining to animal-powered agriculture. Paul (of Luxembourg) and Albano (of Italy) are both, in their own right, practicing horse farmers as well as investigative scientists and artists. (Please see the cover of this issue at the end of this article for an example, from the book, of the striking art of Moscardo). Their work has, as its keystone, an abiding desire to see the comfort and humane treatment of the efficient working equine as central to any future partnership with mankind.
It was, perhaps, only logical that their important work would find its way to formal publication beyond periodicals and website. We applaud their well-planned, long-term goal to publish a series of books which digest and present their findings in a most useful and elegant fashion. Over a year ago, when Paul first asked if we might help them in this project, with technical proofreading and translation particulars, we were pleased to volunteer. Shannon Berteau of our office has put in considerable time and effort with the Schaff mat Päerd materials. My own efforts have been more of an overview. But this whole and entire project is the masterwork of Schmit and Moscardo.
We are pleased to announce that the first book of their multiple volume effort, Guidebook 1: The harness for draught horses, has been published and is available to the public.
The dramatic and appropriate clarity of this presentation, superbly enhanced by the illustrations of Albano, makes of it a most useful work of scholarship and applicability. Both researchers and farmers will find great value on these pages. In their own words:
This manual, which is the first issue of a series of practical guides, is addressed over all to beginners. Without being exhaustive, the main goal is to give first tips necessary to begin working with a draught horse in safety and with respect to animal welfare.
The different hitch systems of draught horses to machines and implements are explained in the second issue of this guidebook series. The subsequent issues treat the various works with draught horses on smallholder farms.
Here many will see how European and North American harness systems compare in design and function. And many will learn of devices and system approaches that may prove surprising and useful.
Copies of the important book may be ordered direct from Schaff mat Päerd.
Thank you Paul and Albano for your excellent efforts.