At the end of the last dry spell...which seems so long ago now...we got one of our fields finally ploughed. It was great to get back to this kind of work with the horses, and we were so busy, we hardly managed to take any photos. We paced ourselves, doing the field over three days. After all, it had been a layed back winter of hacking out in the rain, going for a drive with the cart in the rain, lungeing in the rain, logging a bit of wood here and there in the rain... But Henry and Winnie took to the task surprisingly smoothly - Henry stepping into the furrow and not hanging being too much, and Winnie not too eager to take on all the weight by always trying to be a step ahead of Henry. No, it got so smooth after a few furrows that I even slackend the reins and looked around a bit whilst the horses did their job responsibly. I was tempted to hand the reins to Tim at the plough altogether! Maybe next time, there's still another field to be ploughed this spring where we can perfect our skills! But it's back to rain again at the moment, and everyhting is mud and puddles. Not great for getting the potatoes in, and it is getting later and later. Hoping for next week...
Three eager participants came to learn about working horses at the end of March, as the course season started again.
After coffee and brownies we met the horses and learned about different aspects of keeping working horses. We looked at different styles of harnesses and then harnessed up the horses to practise long-reining in the paddock and in the field. The next step was to hitch up a chain harrow and practise driving the horse with it without getting your ankles scraped by the chains or your hands tied in a knot. After a delicious lunch, we took the horses to the big field, which was unfortunatley too wet for any 'real' work, but we had a go with pulling the spring tooth harrow with one and two horses, and then we hitched the team to the potato digger. Wrong season for digging potatoes though, so the digger was only pulled back into the yard. Then there was still the tool shed with different ploughs, the seed drill etc. to inspect, and the tipping cart and the sled to try out.
A full long day, and we all went back to the house for more tea and cake at the end, and everyone had another chance to ask more questions and look at the collection of working horse books.
Thanks to all for coming along and making this day a success, and thanks of course to Henry and Winnie for their endless patience!!!