Animal Powered Cultivation
Like goat people, animal traction folks form strong bonds with each other, reflected in their many events and publications.
Buying Draft Animals
Eastern States Draft Horse Sale is held in Columbus, OH, once a year. For more info, contact Chrissy Steinbrick; call/fax 419-734-2013; 5910 E. Port Clinton Rd„ Marblehead, OH 43440; [email protected]. Topeka Draft Horse Auction is your chance to buy young harness-trained horses, experienced draft teams, and horse-drawn farm implements. There are two draft horse and three carriage auctions each year: Robert Bale; 260-593-2522; fax 260-593-2258; PO Box 279, Topeka, IN 46571; [email protected]; www. Auctions-USA.com. Waverly Midwest Horse Sale happens twice a year in Iowa. Contact Ron Dean, PO Box 355, Waverly, LA 50677; 319-352-2804 for more info. Draft Animal Organizations and Activities Horse Progress Days is an annual July trade show at the Vernon J. Yoder Farm, Areola, IL, where manufacturers and distributors demonstrate new horse-powered farming and logging equipment. Also, draft horses and mules of all breeds and demonstrations of field work in 1- to 12-horse hitch-ups; plowing, hay making, logging, etc. Info: Neil M. Hosteller, 217-543-2217; 130 E. County Rd. 200 N., Arthur, IL 61911. Or VernonJ. Yoder; 217-268-3444; 650 E. County Rd. 400 N„ Areola, IL 61910; [email protected]; rural heritage.com/progress/.
Iowa-Minnesota Horse Plowing Association offers fun and fellowship with horse and mule plowing. Contact Judson and Carol Schrick; 563-382-5086; 2378 Trout River Rd., Decorah, IA 52101.
North American Horse & Mule Loggers Association, do
Tim Carroll, President; 507-325-4197; Rt. 1 Box 114, Lyle, MN 55953; [email protected]
Tennessee's Great Celebration Mule Show: Mary Lynn Reed; 931-684-4915; PO Box 1010, Shelbyville, TN 37162; www.twhnc.com.
WXICOF specializes in donkey and mule books: 636-8285100; fax 636-828-5431; 914 Riske Lane, Wentzville, MO 63385; wxicof.com/ratite.htm. Draft Animal Periodicals
The Brayer, published by the American Donkey and Mule Society, is the "world's largest single source of info and services for donkeys, mules, and zebra hybrids." Joining ($20/yr) gets you The Brayer, and more. Contact: PO Box 1210, Lewisville, TX 75067; 972-219-0781; fax 972-420-9980; [email protected]; www.lovelong ears.com.
The Carriage Journal is published 5 times/yr by the Carriage Association of America, a world organization of people interested in horse-drawn vehicles: Jill Ryder, Executive Director; 856-935-1616; fax 856-935-9362; 177 Pointers-Auburn Rd., Salem, NJ 08079; [email protected] mindspring.com; www.caaonline.com.
Draft Horse Journal is a quarterly magazine (250+ pages!) produced by Lynn Telleen, Editor, for 30+ years. It reports on shows and sales, does features on horse farmers and breeders, provides horse management tips and bloodlines, and gives info on horse machinery. It's $25/yr ($30 foreign); 319-352-4046; PO Box 670, Waverly, IA 50677.
Driving Digest deals with harnessed equines (miniature donkeys to draft horses); $24 for about 64 pages, 6
issues/yr; 419-929-6781; PO Box 110, New London, OH 44851.
Feather and Fetlock is a quarterly magazine (80+ pages) covering the Canadian heavy horse scene, especially showing; U.S. $36/yr; 403-337-2342; PO Box 9, Cremona, ALB TOM 0R0, CANADA. Heavy Horse World is the U.K.'s draft horse magazine. It's $37 U.S. airmail (4/yr); $30 surface mail. Call/fax +44 01730 812419; Lindford Cottage, Church Lane, Cocking, Midwest, West Sussex U29 0HW U.K.; heavy [email protected]; www.heavyhorseworld.co.uk. Mules and More is a monthly magazine for mule, wagon, and harness enthusiasts; $24/yr. Editor Sue Cole; 573-646-3934; PO Box 460, Bland, MO 65014; [email protected]; www.mulesandmore.com. Rural Heritage has been published since 1976 in support of farming and logging with horses, mules, and oxen. Articles on training and using draft animals for farming and logging; 108 pages in 6 issues/yr for $26/yr USA; $32/yr Canada. The Evener Work Horse, Mule & Oxen Directory and Guide ($6.25 by itself) is an annually updated supplement to the magazine. The Directory lists sources in 35 categories, including harness, horse farming implements, draft horses, mules, oxen, workshop schedules, and stock sales; 931-268-0655; 281 Dean Ridge Lane, Gainesboro, TN 38562; www.rural heritage.com.
Small Farmers Journal prints practical draft horse info in addition to general articles for small, independent family farmers. Cost is $30 for 128 large-size pages, 4 issues/yr; L. R. Miller, Editor; 541-549-2064; fax 541549-4403; PO Box 1627, Sisters, OR 97759-5039. Animal Traction Books: The Mischka Farm Draft Horse Bookstore offers a beautiful draft horse calendar and 100+ books and videos (free catalog) on draft horses: PO Box 224, Oregon, WI 53575; www.mischka.com. Many animal traction books and videotapes are offered by the Rural Bookstore (931-268-0655; ruralheritage.com). Draft Horses: An Owner's Manual by Beth Valentine (a vet) and Mike Wildenstein (a farmer) covers the health problems and disorders that affect draft horses. Work Horse Handbook by Lynn R. Miller (1981) is a classic text with hundreds of photos and drawings teaching you about the care and feeding, hitching and driving of draft horses. Training Workhorses/Training Teamsters, also by L. R. Miller, covers training horses to work in harness on the farm, in the woods, and on the road, how to correct behavior problems of work horses, and how to train people to drive and work horses. Haying with Horses, Horsedrawn Plows and Plowing, and Horsedrawn Tillage Tools are Miller's most recent books. Draft Horses Today, by Robert Mischka, is a basic review of the modern draft horse scene with hundreds of color photos by this gifted photographer.
Cumberland General Store Catalog, Rt. 3, Box 479, Crossville, TN 38555. Harness, implements, tools. Catalog.
Detweller's Harness Shop, Rt. 1, Box 228, Hazleton, IA
50641. Catalog. McKee's Horse & Buggy, PO Box 27, 101 E. Main,
Drakesville, IA 52552; 515-722-5222; fax 515-7223771. "Your complete driving horse supply shop." Harness, shafts, wheels, and springs, bells, books, farm equipment. Illustrated catalog, $2. Meader Supply Corp., 23 Meaderboro Rd., Rochester, NH 03867; 8oo-4-HORSES. Harness, hardware, halters, bits and bridles, books and videos, carts, wagons, yokes, horse-drawn equipment, trailers, etc. Free catalogs.
Midwest Leather & Harness, Rt. #2, Box 153, Paris, MO 65275; 816-327-5278. Farm, single driving, and logging harness, collars, harness parts, etc. Call for catalog.
Miller Harness Company, 235 Murray Hill Parkway, East Rutherford, NJ 07073; 800-553-7655; fax 800-5266389; millerharness.com. Free catalog. Stitch 'n Hitch: Mari Lintin sells farm, pulling, and buggy collars and harnesses. Complete catalog online, or send $3; 931-484-2203; 3200 Hebbertsburg Rd., Crab Orchard, TN 37723; [email protected]; rural heritage. com/harness/. John Thompson (died 1995) left wonderful plans to build horse-drawn vehicles of every sort (and books). His plans are now offered by Roger Morgan. Catalog is U.S. $8; 1 Lamb Lane, Ponthir, Newport, South Wales NP18 1HA UNITED KINGDOM. Draft Animals to Watch: This is just the tip of the iceberg. See the draft animal magazines for more current info.
Howell Living History Farm puts on the Howell Farm Plowing Match for horses, oxen, and mules on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend with both professional and novice competition levels: 609-737-3299; 101 Hunter Rd., Titusville, NJ 08560. Living History Farms, 10 miles northwest of Des Moines, IA, recreates four time periods: a 1700 Iowa Indian site; an 1850 pioneer farm (with oxen); an 1875 frontier town; and a 1900 farm (with draft horses). Open May 1 to mid-October; 515-278-2400 (recorded messages).
Ross Farm demonstrates oxen and horse-powered farm operations and ox shoeing. Daily operation May to October: 902-689-2210; Rt. 12, New Ross, NS BOJ 2M0, CANADA. For info and publications: Director, Nova Scotia Museum, 1747 Summer St., Halifax, NS, CANADA; [email protected]; rossfarm.museum. gov.ns.ca.
Training in Use of Draft Animals
Amish Farmer, Eli J. C. Yoder, 445 S. Mill St., Sugar Creek, OH 44681; 216-852-4603, offers hands-on driving instruction at his horsemanship school for beginners.
Good Farming Apprenticeship Network: rural heritage. com/apprenticeship/.
Howell Living History Farm. For info on their 10-week internship on the care, training, and use of oxen, contact Rob Flory: fax 609-737-6524; [email protected] atlantic.net; www.howellfarm.org. Ridgewind Farm offers horse logging workshops taught by Jason Rutledge, Regional Director of the North American Horse <Sr Mule Loggers Association. Scholarships are available. The training program begins with an intensive course on basic forestry, restorative/sustainable timber management, and animal-powered skidding techniques, followed by a 10-week apprenticeship. You'll learn the essentials of a Healing Harvest: care and handling of draft horses, including harnessing, driving techniques, and log skidding; directional timber felling and chainsaw safety; skid trail placement and loading site selection; silviculture; sustained yield forestry principles used in choosing trees for harvest; and Green Certification marketing; 540-651-6355; fax 540-651-3914; 8014 Bear Ridge Rd„ Copper Hill, VA 24079; [email protected]; www.draftwoodforestprod-ucts.com. He also sells horse-logged Appalachian wood products for construction or remodeling. Rural Heritage's "Calendar of Events" lists more workshops, draft horse/mule sales, etc. Tillers International offers workshops in sustainable ag, international rural development, blacksmithing, hand tool woodworking, rope making, timber framing, and draft animal skills; 800-498-2700; 616-344-3233; 5239 S. 24th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49002; Ti[email protected]; www.wmich.edu/tillers/. Another Tillers International school is at 816-795-8200, ext. 1-260; 22807 Woods Chapel Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64015.
Blacksmithing and Farrier Skills: Blacksmithing is taught at Tillers International and also at the Turley Forge Blacksmithing School: 505-471-8608; 919-A Chicoma Vista, Santa Fe, NM 87507; [email protected]. The major U.S. supplier of barrier and blacksmithing supplies is Centaur Forge, Ltd.
draft Horses: A horse can outpull a little Ford tractor, especially in cold and deep snow when the tractor won't even move. A horse can pull 16-foot logs. A team can pull a ton for a short distance but won't be able to keep it up. They can easily pull 300 lb. all day long. But remember to stop and rest them often. There is an old saying that if you want to have a good pulling horse, always leave one pull in him. That means quit working him while he is still pulling.
To get yourself started with draft horses, you need one or a team. Consider subscribing to the Small Farmer's Journal It's the homesteader's magazine that takes the greatest interest and gives the most exposure to draft horse topics. In fact, it used to have "draft horse" in its name.
When you go to buy one, take someone with you who knows them. They're expensive but don't cost nearly as much as a tractor. Then you need harness. Hopefully you can buy a set from the same person who sells you the horses because harness is hard to find. Make sure you know how to harness and hitch them up before you bring them home. Have the seller show you how. Otherwise, you will have a hard time figuring it out for yourself later on. If the wooden parts of the harness—called "hames"—seem dry, you can oil them with tung oil or neat's-foot oil. Put it on hot and rub it in well. Same for the leather.
Practice is important for any draft animal. Hitching up the animals and using them every day helps them stay at their best (and keeps you in practice too). When you are first training draft animals to pull, load them very lightly. Gradually, over time, increase the load. Pat the animal and let it know you appreciate it after a good hard pull. That moment of sincere thanks really makes a difference in the quality of future performance you'll get. Horses aren't nearly as dumb as many people think. And they've got feelings too. On a terribly hot 105°F day, bring your animal in at noon with you. Give it a 2-hour break in the shade. (The break will also help you.)
The state of your horses' feet is important. Don't buy an animal with badly split hooves. Bring in the horseshoer, or "farrier," regularly. Around here there are a couple that run continuous advertisements in the newspapers. Horseshoes are vital if your animal is going to be walking on pavement or gravel a lot because both are especially hard on hooves, which nature didn't design for such hard surfaces. But even if your horses work on dirt, their hooves can stand some trimming.
Draft horse breeding is a good cause and potentially profitable. But keeping a draft horse stud is not all fun and games. They are so big, and any male is a potentially mean animal. We have neighbors that keep a stud. They take beautiful care of their horses, but one day he simply up and bit a big chunk out of the lady's face. That was an Arabian stud. A draft horse stud could be twice the weight. If he is somewhere near where a mare is in heat, he could be very hard to handle no matter how nice his disposition. You can artificially inseminate horses just like cows or goats. Four to six weeks before a draft mare foals (has a baby), it's time to let her quit working. Until then it's okay to work her. A month after she foals, you can get her back into harness. Working again soon after foaling will help keep her in shape.
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