Fjord and Haflinger Two Horse Plow Team

Horses & Plows Look Like Salt Of The Earth

Before Paul Harvey wrote his moving speech So God Made A Farmer horses and farmers had been working together to plow deep and straight rows for years. A couple weeks ago I got a taste for what that work might have looked like way back when. I attended the Oregon Draft Horse Breeders Association plowing competition in McMinnville, Oregon. I was moved not only by the beautiful and hardworking horses, but also by the nostalgia that the drivers and teams conjured. We aren’t so very far away from a time when horses were our transportation, our farming equipment, and a crucial part of our families.

Everyone was friendly and happy to answer questions about their team or share a bit of wisdom about plowing and driving. It looked like a serious workout for both driver and plow horses. Each team had to plow a specific plot of rows. The competition took place at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center, which also had an awesome collection of antique carriages and tractors. Including a wood-carved, horse-drawn hearse.

I hope I captured a bit of the magic I saw that day in these photos.

A sweet Belgian eye.
A handshake between two friends.

 

Eye of the Mule
A mule eye for a deep thought.
Fjord and Haflinger Two Horse Plow Team
This might be my favorite photo from the day. I loved watching this gentleman with his team. He was just as neat to photograph as his team.
I never knew that Fjords were used for plowing. I think he looks quite stylish.

 

The mule’s tale is cut into “bells” to show how well he is trained: he can pack, plow, and be ridden. Trimming the tale into bells harkens back to the civil war, when soldiers would look for their equine muscle in the dark. They could identify which mules to grab based on feeling their tails. This particular mule was hooked to a series of gears that he was turning in order to grind corn.
These two were probably the sexiest ones there. Yep. A horse can be sexy. I said it, so it must be true.

The leather cover is to help keep rain from getting underneath the harness. I’m sure it has a technical term but I don’t know it. So if you do, enlighten me.

Cowboy Plowing Fields
He had a great look to him, so I took a photo. Or 10. I took 10 photos in order to get a couple good ones. Stalker status achieved.
Look at those beauties!

Fun fact: the horse that is on the right is always walking in the trench plowed by the previous row. In order to keep the team height about the same, they will use a slightly taller right-side horse.

Mule & Horse Plow Team
One of the guys asked the owner of this team when he was going to pain the other two. Made me smile.

Oh how I love this last photo. He would take a seat to rest between rows, and I imagine him in a very brief prayer.

In Prayer

Published by

Theresa Rice

Writing a modern day western and telling my daily stories of humor, sadness or inspiration. Depending on the day, it might be all three.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *