We consciously choose to use draft horses for our field work for a variety of reasons: ecological, financial and cultural.
Utilizing the solar power of grass and hay, we can power equipment efficiently and effectively to plow, disc, harrow, cultivate and harvest using our horses. They also turn their “fuel” into manure, which we can use to fertilize our fields.
Horse-powered equipment is also relatively affordable to procure & maintain, compared to tractor-drawn equipment. Some of our best tools cost less than $100, and most are simple enough in design to be repaired or modified using simple shop tools.
Lastly, we believe in using horse-power for their ability to hone our focus, improve our patience, and build our understanding of the relationship between health of our soil, our bodies and our ecosystem. Using horses makes us better farmers, and better people.
Some ask us “why horsepower when farming is already hard enough?” and we respond: it’s not harder, it’s just different. It’s a choice for a different farming lifestyle. Once you ride quietly behind a team while turning over soil, or killing weeds, it’s hard to imagine doing it another way.
Dusty and Jackson are two gray dapple Percheron geldings originally from an Amish farm in Iowa. They came to us in their fuzzy winter coats on a trailer in January 2015, and have been working regularly here since. They are not registered but are about 15 years old. They stand about 16.3 and 17 hands, and each weigh around 1600 lbs. When they are working regularly they will happily eat an entire bale of hay in a day—if we let them. Dusty typically works on the left side, and has a light colored mane; Jackson works on the right and has a darker grey mane. Both have a nearly all white coat as they enter their later years.
You might see another horse pop up in our photos—some years we also lease a third horse from a friend.