Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Nylon Harness Shop

This past February, I brought my draft horses into the barn to harness them up. I was planning to hitch them to this little sled that my harness is hanging on.
Coke (one of my horses) reached to the ground to get a mouthful of hay that she had dropped and broke a snap off her harness.
When you weigh almost a ton, it's easy to break things without meaning to.
The next thing I knew her harness was draped over her head. Being the good horse she is, she stood still and waited for me to unsnap everything.
I knew that I was going to be making a trip to my friendly harness man.

While he looked at what needed repaired, we had a chance to visit about other things. He told me about a new team of Percheron horses they had recently purchased. This is a picture (above) of one of those mares and her new colt. You can see her teammate in the background with some other horses. He told me that they seem to be good horses... if you can catch them. They were purchased at the Sale-barn in Kalona and he didn't know anything about their history. He said, "We normally catch our horses when they come into the barn for grain, but they don't come in with the others." That is unusual, most horses love to come in for grain. I'm sure they will get used to their new routine soon enough.

While I was getting my harness repaired, I remembered that my steel bits were getting rusty. So, I bought this new set of stainless steal bits. Not that I wanted to spend the money, but these are like the brakes on a car, if they go out your done! You can see a copy of my repair bill below. The Amish church-bench wagon was parked at the harness man's house, and he told me that they would be having Church in their home in a few weeks. I got a call about a week later, asking me to please pick up my harness as soon as possible. I knew what that was about. When an Amish family hosts Church in their home they want everything on the farm immaculate, even in the harness shop.

Yes, he did misspell my name, but I was honored that he remembered my name without asking.

Another footnote: When I arrived to pick up my harness, the shop had an open sign in the window, but nobody was anywhere in sight. I could hear what sounded like a large group of children. Just then, Monroe came out of the big barn. He told me, "Our goats are kidding!" I asked him,"How many kids?" He told me around 40. I don't know if that was a total or if more were on the way.

In my novel Catbird Singing, Lenny visits a harness shop multiple times. His good friend, an aging Amishman, gives him good advice about more than horses and harness.

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