Farmer Lives Yesterday With His Percheron Teams


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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.

Photo Original Upload

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Link: Sampson Percherons

Re-written from news sources:
BBC News
Daily Mail-UK

Pictures:  Phil Yeomans/BNPS

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Right Out Of History: Wagon Trains Celebrate Minnesota 150th Anniversary

Minnesota Sesquicentennial Wagon Train

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The first weekend of May, Minnesota began the kickoff celebration of their historic past with the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train.

In all, about 85 people, on horseback and in covered wagons, buggies, surreys and one stagecoach are taking a week long,  100 mile journey, which will end Sunday at the State Capitol.

The arrival of the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train at the State Capitol is the linchpin for the kickoff for the state’s 150th birthday celebration.

The travelers started with two stuck wheels, a willful mule, a handful of skittish horses and a thrown rider. That was all before noon.

 A “green” horse three times took his driver off-road. A mule seeking his pasturemate took off, throwing his rider in the tall ditch grass.

When the group circled at noon, wagon master Olson was philosophical. I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow,” he said Monday. “The first day’s always an adjustment.”

Among the group were Pete Karpe who came from his farm in St. Francis, bringing his Percheron draft horses Trixie and Dixie, as well as his son, Mark, a capable, horse-mad 14-year-old.

Susan Longling, of Farmington, a confessed wagon-train addict, brought her Prince to pull the surrey she’d converted from her grandfather’s dairy (and bootleg liquor) cart.

As a strong sun broke through the crisp morning air, wagon master Jon Olson shouted, “Wagons, ho!” and the caravan rattled across the fairgrounds, onto the road.

Karpe had some trouble at the start, when the rig he drove became stuck in the mud. But once on the road, Dixie and Trixie easily caught pace with the group, their shod hooves ringing on the asphalt.

Townsfolk lined the streets of Cannon Falls, gathering before homes and shops to smile, wave and snap pictures.  A group of elementary kids held a hand-lettered sign: “Happy Birthday, Minnesota!”

This was “Americana” at its best!

The caravan continued, past bare fields and stands of cedar and elm.

Clay Christian the logistics man, said “We’ve got it easy”. “We’ve got county roads to go down, bridges to go across, no cliffs to take the wagons apart and lower ’em down.”

 The covered wagon is an icon of the American frontier. Still, in the 1850s, most arrived by water, via Mississippi steamboat.

From there, with the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the Mississippi behind them, settlers fanned out, often in wagons, all over the state.

The covered wagon was like the 19th century sport-utility vehicle, said Matt Anderson, a curator for the Minnesota Historical Society who specializes in transportation artifacts.

And contrary to the archetype, wagons weren’t meant for people. Usually, they were packed with luggage or cargo.

“Anybody who could walk, I’m sure did,” Anderson said.

Although the rigs at camp are more or less authentic, it’s hard to ignore some of the comforts of today: coolers, lawn chairs, RVs, digital cameras and the occasional chiming cell phone.

In spite of unexpected events along the way, when the ride was completed it was said that  “A bad day doing this is still better than a good day doing anything else.”

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Re-written from news sources:

What If Your Horse Is Stolen?

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Debi Metcalfe reunited with
her stolen horse “Idaho”.

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If your horse is stolen go directly to:
Stolen Horse International at
NetPosse.com

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A Shelby, North Carolina  woman
has made it her mission to find stolen horses.

Debi Metcalfe and her husband, Harold, lost a family member. Their horse, Idaho, was horse-napped, in broad day light from their pasture.

A year later, they found Idaho in Tennessee.

This is how Stolen Horse International and NetPosse.com was born and has now celebrated over 10 years of success.

The website has Idaho Alerts which are similar to AMBER Alerts for missing children where members are alerted when a horse, tack or even trailers are stolen.

An estimated 40,000 horses are stolen each year in the United States.

During the Metcalfes’ search, someone set up a Web space for the couple and after finding their horse, they decided to help out other people on the Web. That’s how her site NetPosse.com was started.

“We got so much help, I thought I owed it back,” she said.

Since founding her organization, Debi has written a book and been part of television news stories, newspaper and magazine articles and her expertise was used on Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” in August.

She appeared as the cover story on The Gaited Horse magazine in an edition that sold out and was most recently featured on “Weekend America,” a Public Broadcasting radio show.

We do a lot more than stolen horses,” Debi said. “That’s how we were started, but we do so much more now.”

Her priority is working with people whose horses are missing first. That comes ahead of fundraising and other functions.

“We try to stress that even if the horse is not found alive and well, it’s better to know than have questions,” she said.

Inspiration … Debi has empathy for the people she helps.

On the NetPosse site is a list of stolen or missing horses across the United States. Also included are photos, dates and current status.

Below are just two of the many horses that have been stolen. 
For complete listings:  Click here:

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Stolen:  LPS Mr. Jalapeno
Bay Morgan Gelding Missing in California suspected to be in Arizona – Feb. 6, 2007

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Stolen:
Valentino
Fleabitten Grey Arabian Gelding Stolen after dark from Therapy Progam in Newton County, Georgia – Feb. 3, 2008

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If you have a horse that has been stolen or strangely disappeared, do not hesitate.  Contact NetPosse.com immediately.

If you recognize the horses pictured above, click on the name of the horse for more information.

It takes everyone working together to keep our horses safe and in their own homes.

 

Last Minute Gift? Perhaps A Draft Horse Or Two Will Do!

  

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  Click Here For A Gentle Giant

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Click here for a Clydesdale

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Click Here For A Percheron

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Click Here For A Draft Horse

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Happy Holidays!

Winter Scene: On A One Horse Open Sleigh

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Winter Scene: Dashing Through The Snow …

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Spare The Horses

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Christine Hajek, founder of Gentle Giants
Draft Horse Rescue, gets a nuzzle from Jonas.

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Christine Hajek fell in love with her first draft horse when she met Elijah, a Belgian gelding, at an auction in August 2001 and brought him home.

But Hajek, who grew up on a horse-breeding farm, had been mesmerized by the huge horses raised for plowing and farm labor ever since she rode one years earlier.

“I loved the gait, I loved the size and I loved the feel,” said Hajek, 34, who is an Anne Arundel County firefighter. “They’re so broad across the back that they give you a real sense of security. They move slowly. Anything they do is kind of in slow motion.”

It was Elijah that gave her the idea to form Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, a nonprofit operation specifically tailored to draft horses — and turn a hobby into an obsession.

“He ended up being a perfect horse — totally flawless in every way,” she said.

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That one horse has turned into 21 at the 42-acre Woodbine farm in Mount Airy, Maryland where she lives with her husband, Jamie McIntosh.

Hajek estimates that she and her husband have rescued more than 60 draft horses since then — most of them within the past two years.

“They work hard, they’ve seen everything, so they’re not afraid of anything,” she said.

Once she brings horses home, she spends an average of two months with them before they are adopted.

“I might be sad for a couple days, and I might cry really hard when I drop them off,” she said. “But mostly, I’m happy for them.”

The horses she’s rescued are now scattered around the United States, with adoptees in California, New York, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, she said.

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Recently, Dick Dodson, 72, from Boyds, who recently took up riding again after a 20-year hiatus, visited Hajek’s farm to meet a horse named Texas that he’d seen on the Gentle Giants Web site.

“The attraction for the drafts is that they’re very calm, they’re sure-footed, and they don’t spook easily,” he said. “I want something that’s bomb-proof. I don’t want to get hurt on a horse.”

He was drawn to Texas because of the chocolate-colored Belgian’s background as a carriage horse that had done some plowing for an Amish farmer.

“I might ride that horse bareback,” Dodson said. “This horse has a very gentle disposition.”

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The Gentle Giants dog, Bug, hangs out at Tristan’s feet.

Not only can people adopt horses from Hajek; they can also ride. She caters mostly to adults and a few children of adults who ride there.

Saving draft horses is a passion that costs her money, she acknowledges. She only wishes she could save more.

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“I’m passionate about draft horses,” Hajek said. “The bigger the better.

I just want everyone to know how incredible they are.”

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Link: Gentle Giants Rescue

Denmark ~ Horse Photos From The Family Album

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Thanks to my cousin in Denmark
who sent these photographs to me.

Draft Horses Make Dream Come True

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Amos and Andy

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At 82 years old, you might think that “Harry,” a resident at ManorCare Health Services – Lebanon, Pennsylvania, might want to spend his time relaxing. 

After farming until he was 24, and eventually retiring from a local macaroni factory, Harry had done his share of hard work. 

But when asked what his Heart’s Desire was, he thought back to those simpler days when he was working the farm with horses, mules and single tractor. 

He told the staff at ManorCare that he would once again like to drive a team of mules. The staff at ManorCare worked with a local farmer and an Amish driver to arrange a wagon. 

But instead of mules, they arranged for two black Percheron draft horses named Amos and Andy. 

According to Harry, that was okay because horses were easier to drive than mules, and he remembers that sometimes mules would run away from him and he would end up just “holding on.” 

With the help of a step stool, Harry climbed into the wagon and took a 15-minute lap around the farm, and then returned to pick up some friends from ManorCare and several reporters for the second lap.  

He reminisced about growing corn, oats, wheat and barley when he was younger, and kept the gentle giants Amos and Andy, who stood 17 hands high, under control. 

According to ManorCare Lebanon‘s admissions director, the event was a wonderful example of how the residents at ManorCare, and nursing homes around the country, still get a kick out of reliving simple pleasures. 

The staff looks forward to fulfilling more wishes in the near future. 

ManorCare Heart’s Desire

Budweiser Clydesdales To Strut Their Stuff At Grass Valley’s Draft Horse Classic Event

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Nevada County’s Draft Horse Classic has been selected for a visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales and their red, white and gold beer wagon, known to millions from their appearances in television commercials.

The Budweiser Clydesdales will make several appearances at the 21st annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, running from Thursday September 20th through Sunday the 23rd at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, in California.

Clydesdale Operations in St. Louis schedules the popular teams, picking from the thousands of requests received for the big horses every year.

The Draft Horse Classic, held each fall at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, California has become one of the most highly regarded draft horse shows in the nation.

The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company has acknowledged the event’s importance by sending their big horses to visit.

Once a destination is decided upon, three 50-foot tractor trailers transport the team and its colorful wagon to waiting fans.

The big horses ride on thick rubber flooring in trailers with air-cushion suspension. Cameras in the trailers and monitors in the cabs let handlers keep a watchful eye on their precious cargo. The team stops each night for rest at a stable.

There are five traveling hitches of Budweiser Clydesdales, covering a total of 100,000 miles a year in their special big rigs.

The Budweiser Clydesdales are scheduled to arrive in Grass Valley on Tuesday, September 18th.

The famous horses have represented the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company for 70 years.

Originally from Scotland, the Clydesdale takes its name from that country’s river Clyde. Farmers in the 19th century, along the Clyde’s banks, bred the Great Flemish Horse, forerunner of the Clydesdale.

Their ability to pull loads of more than a ton at a walking speed of five miles an hour quickly spread their reputations beyond Scotland’s borders.

Six performances will present competitions between the most talented drivers and best trained draft horses as the Gentle Giants perform crowd-pleasing maneuvers in pairs, three, and four abreast.

They’ll skid logs, pull classic antique farm wagons, and demonstrate how the draft horse started American farming.

Performances start Thursday evening, September 20th at 6:30 p.m. Following performances are Friday, September 21st at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 22nd, 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday, September 23rd at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Budweiser Clydesdales will impress draft horse fans with their tremendous teamwork in all of the evening performances and in the Sunday late afternoon performance.

News Link:

Link:  Grass Valley, California Draft Horse Classic

Budweiser 180 degree team rotation demo