Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where Horses are still King

 There was a day when horses ruled the earth, so to speak.  In the 1800's, horses powered most of the world, at least on land, while steamboats ruled the waters.  Shortly after the turn of the twentieth-century their reign ended, as they stepped to the side of the road while automobiles and tractors took over.

 When we used horses everyday as our main mode of transportation and when they powered our farming operations, we knew them well.  Nowadays, even many horse owners barely understand their friend, the horse, and struggle to work peacefully with their charges.

What I have discovered, living near an Amish community, is that there is no replacement for working with horses everyday, if you want to understand them.  I love my own horses, but when bad weather hits, they stand in the barn.  Imagine if the only way you could go anywhere, in any weather, was to harness up a  horse and hitch it to a buggy or wagon.  Wind, rain, cold, heat, storms or being in a hurry, all are enough to make a preacher swear... when he is in a car. Try all of that behind a horse.

Generation after generation of farmers, passed down horse handling skills to their children and grandchildren, as they worked together on the farm.  Now, we try to learn those same things from a manual or DVD.  It is always better to learn first hand from a master, not to mention what we've lost, in not spending time with our extended family.  My Amish neighbors are still part of this historic loop, that we have stepped out of in order to improve our lives through modernization. 

 There is still a place where horses are King,
among the Amish

Pictures provided by my friend, Jerry.  If you would like a print of any (but the boy and draft horse,) contact me at and I will get you in contact with Jerry.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Amish are Happy People

 I sat at this little booth all day selling books.  This picture was taken at about 8:00 am, when I first set up, but by about noon the place was so packed a person could barely see this table.  At one point I looked around and realized I was completely surrounded by Amish people.  The thought crossed my mind, that I could get some great pictures without anyone knowing it.  Then, I reminded myself that many of these Amish were my good friends and I know they don't want their pictures taken.  Why would I do that?

It would have been fun to share that moment with you, my reader, but I just couldn't let down my Amish friends!  So, instead of taking pictures, I sat and watched all the Amish folks visiting.  And I noticed something, they were all smiling.  When Amish are in town they often seem stern and quiet.  If you can visit Amish people in their own environment you will find something else; they love to tease and have fun.

During the day, I got a chance to visit with several of my Amish friends. I gave a copy of Under the Heavens to the man I bought Karm and Coke from, he was excited to see his old horses on the cover. Another Amish friend bought a book from me, and made a comment as he did, "I helped you write this book."  He didn't know how true that was!

By the time this horse pull was taking place, all the local Amish had gone home.  Kalona Amish don't believe in contests of any type, including horse pulls. There are some Amish people in these horse pull pictures but not from our community; it is off limits.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kalona Amish 1978

These pictures were taken in 1978.

A retired couple that lives on my mail route recently read my Amish novel. After reading it Jerry told me about these pictures he had taken in 1978 near Kalona.  I think his photography is great.

There were several things I noticed, such as the cars in the background, which look outdated.
 You may also notice that the Amish haven't changed much during that same time.  These pictures could have been taken this afternoon, minus the old cars.

The picture of corn shocks (below) reveals a change among Amish in Kalona.  I haven't seen any corn shocks in a really long time.  We still have a few families in our area that shock oats, but not corn.

Buggies, at first glance, look exactly the same in 2014 as they did in 1978.

I moved to the Kalona area in 1980 and have noticed changes in Amish buggies.  They now have headlights, which didn't exist in our community until only a few years ago.

Jerry took a number of other great pictures in 1978 but I am saving those for other blog posts.  Keep checking in on this blog and you will be blessed with many more great pictures!

If you see one you really like and want to purchase a print, Jerry said that he would be willing to accommodate that.  Simply email me at and I will get you in touch with Jerry!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Amish Horses For Sale

Are you looking to buy horses from the Amish
I think I can help you!
I started this blog about one year ago, based on my own experiences of buying horses from Amish families. It has come to my attention that my "most viewed blogs" are those that talk about Horses for Sale. 
This is a Help Page,
  for those who want to know how to go about buying horses from the Amish.

 1) Horses owned and trained by the Amish are available for sale throughout much of the U.S.
Because most Amish communities don't have electricity or computers, it is difficult to find these buying opportunities online.  Don't give up there are websites that can help.

2) The easiest (and maybe the best) way to buy horses from the Amish, might be at auction facilities.  There are large sales held every spring and fall called Draft Horse Sales. These events draw many Amish sellers and buyers.  There are usually buggy and riding horses available at these sales also. 
        I will list some links for these sale barns, so that you can check the dates and locations.  I listed the Kalona Sale Barn separately, because that is where I have had my own personal success finding nice Amish families selling horses. (Good Horses) 

Buyer Beware!  Just because an Amish person is driving a horse through a sale ring doesn't mean they own the horse or even trained it. Many Amish are payed to drive horses through the ring because they are great horsemen, making horses look better.  Before the auction starts try to talk to the horse owner.  Most Amish people are very honest.  If you ask them straight out, they will tell you if they raised or trained the horse.

Kalona Draft Horse Sale

Multiple Draft Horse Sale Dates
 (Draft Horse Journal)   Draft Horse Sales

 3) If you want to buy from an Amish family on their own farm, that is quite possible!
It is actually very easy to find horses for sale in any Amish community.  For starters, horses are a huge part of Amish life, because of that anywhere there are Amish, there are horses.  Put that together with the fact that most Amish are excellent businessmen and love to wheel and deal!  One more feature of Amish communities that make them great places to do business is that they are extremely close-knit.  This makes it very simple to find what your looking for.  Merely stop at the first Amish farm you come to and tell them what you are looking for, more than likely they will know exactly where you can find it.
Here is a link to a website that will help you find the Amish community in your area:

 This book cover (shown below) features my own team of draft horses, purchased from an Amish family near Kalona, Iowa.  My novel, Under the Heavens, and future books in the Amish Horses Series, are based on my own experiences interacting with Amish.  Here is a link for book 1: