A little work, a little play makes for the perfect plowing day

By ARTHUR BOLDUC

What do draft horse teamsters do when they get caught up on their work? They find somebody who hasn’t, and you might say they have a draft horse-plowing frolic.

They all show up bright and early, usually on a Saturday, and make short work of what otherwise could be a week’s work.

When Joe Reed, perennial president of the Central Ohio Draft Horse Association, mentioned he had just removed a fencerow and was going to horse plow 7 acres, a half-dozen volunteers offered to help. Sure enough, the following Saturday morning, $4.80 diesel or not, about eight trucks hauling horse trailers filed onto the field and started unloading.

Before the sun got very high, there were eight plows and a harrow working on the field, and 18 Percherons and six Belgians at work.

Perfect weather

On one of those bluebird days in May with the temperature in the high 60s and huge, fair-weather clouds blowing across a bright blue sky, everybody wanted to relax and enjoy it. Since some of these weekend warriors were not fit from regular daily work in harness, they were not pushed.

After all, this was as much a social event as a work session.

There was plenty of time to discuss horses, plows, harness and such things and swap off and let volunteer helpers who come along lend a hand and help make it all possible to have a turn at plowing with horses.

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There were a lot of Pioneer plows on the field, including Doris Mosher’s new foot-lift model. A couple had the new Norwegian-made Kverneland moldboards on their plows. About 5 feet long, it will turn sod completely over without a lot of ripping and tearing.

Its length seems to give it more leverage and everybody claims it requires slightly less draft than the Oliver and JD plows.

New additions

And at sometime during the day, everybody had to go up to Joe Reed’s horse pasture and see his new team of mules. Joe bred one of his Percheron mares to a jack and she delivered twins. The first was a rather large female.

Joe, not happy with the way the mare was behaving, checked on her and found another, smaller mule trying to back into the world. He pulled that out and found it was a small, rather frail male and had doubts if it was going to make it.

After a couple of weeks frolicking on pasture with the mare that has plenty of milk, the little guy is fast catching up with his larger sister.

But all parties have to come to an end. And as the last truck pulled out and paused for a look at the newly plowed ground, they knew they had burned a few gallons of diesel, but they had something to show for it.

The horses got much-needed work and the teamsters enjoyed an outing with good company. A win-win situation all around.

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