The magnificent Percheron horses show their power as they pull the heavy plough across the fields of the Sampson family farm near Ringwood in the southern English county of Hampshire, England
This nostalgic scene could come straight from the pages of a history book.
However, this is just an ordinary working day for farmer Robert Sampson – who has chosen to stay true to the traditional ways of his family by using horses.
The Sampson family has owned Harbridge Farm since 1882 and farming with horses has always been a part of their history.
Mr. Sampson says that ‘using horses is slow but for some jobs they are better, such as rolling crops, because the machine works better if you do it slowly.
‘We have 265 acres of land and the horses work on anything and everything.
Robert Sampson’s determination to remain loyal to the old ways has brought many challenges.
The horse-drawn ploughs can no longer be bought. It is necessary for him to convert all the machinery himself from equipment designed to be pulled by tractor.
He says, ‘I’m doing my bit to save the environment because I am producing my own fuel and I am self-sufficient with the horses’.
Robert Sampson has worked with Percheron horses his whole life. At his farm in Hampshire he breeds Percherons, both pure and part bred; trains heavy horses for agricultural work, leisure driving and riding. He and his wife have trained 350 Percherons over the years
All the work on the farm is done with their Percherons even though a tractor is several times faster. Each day, Sampson and his horses are out to plough and roll the ground, to sow crops and to turn hay.
Robert Sampson says that, at the end of the day, working with the horses is much more satisfying. ‘I do it because I enjoy it, I love it.
Link: Sampson Percherons
Re-written from news sources:
Pictures: Phil Yeomans/BNPS