Saturday, June 13, 2015

Plowing with Horses

        Farming with horses is aesthetically pleasing as well as environmentally friendly. Gas fumes released from this six-horse engine pass almost unnoticed and have no ill effects on actual air quality. This young man is driving six Belgian horses in two rows of three, a very common hitch method for Amish farmers.
        Below, you will see six horses hitched abreast. (the sixth horse didn't make it into the picture) This is the hitch method I describe in the Amish Horses Book Series. When I write about farming with horses, in my novels, I use my own experiences. I've been blessed with opportunities to plow and disc with a six-horse hitch on an Amish friend's farm. My own horses were part of that six-abreast Percheron team. Unfortunately, I didn't feel free to take pictures.
        You will notice in the "six-abreast photo" that Belgians, Percherons, and buggy horses are working together to get a job done.
        Notice in this hitch formation, two horses have to walk in the plow furrow, the other four horses walk on sod. In the six abreast style, one walks in the furrow, two on sod, and the other two on plowed ground. All of this becomes important in the story-lines of my novels, Under the Heavens and Catbird Singing. I try to keep these blog posts short and to the point. If you want to read a whole book filled with horse-drawn adventures on an Amish farm, you'll have to check out the Amish Horses Book Series.

        A friend of mine (Laurie) took these photos on her neighbor's Amish farm in Wisconsin. She told me that all six of these Belgians are mares. Another wonderful thing about farming with horses: Not only can these six horses help raise their own fuel, they can reproduce and raise their own replacements. They also produce organic fertilizer in large quantities. We have not yet come up with a tractor that can do that.

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