Horses help teamsters break ground and seed

Old-fashioned farming | Group would like to pass on knowledge and skills to a new generation

RAMA, Sask. — Horsepower was on display at a recent demonstration of heritage spring seeding techniques.

Teamsters from northeastern Sask-atchewan gathered near Rama to hitch their big horses to vintage plows, cultivators, discs, harrows and seed drills to plant a few acres of crop as spectators gathered to watch.

For those holding the reins, it was a day to keep alive their long-held love for working horses.

“I’ve been playing with horses all my life,” said Norval Budd of Kelliher, Sask., as he hitched his four horses to a cultivator.

“I started harnessing horses when I was about eight.”

However, a tractor soon arrived on the farm and horses were retired from field work.

“But we were soon back to horses for winter chores,” he said, something he still does.

Rae Rosenkerr of Preeceville, Sask., said he can remember horses at work, but a Ford tractor arrived on his father’s farm just before he would have started working with the big horses.

Rosenkerr still felt a connection to horses, and his family was involved with a local riding club.

He said they had saddle horses for many years and then recently acquired the two working Percherons he drove in Rama.

“It’s the love of horses. Everything’s so nice and quiet (working them). There’s no roar of the tractor and clanging of machinery,” he said.

“I can actually hear the mould board cutting the sod. I’ve never heard that before.”

Duncan Arthur of Preeceville also has a long passion for horses.

“I guess most of my life, Dad always worked a team,” he said.

He still uses horses today.

“Horses are always used for chores and stuff like that,” he said.

“It’s amazing what they can do in some places and no diesel fuel.”

Lloyd Smith of Pelly, Sask., who also grew up with horses, used them to grow nine acres of wheat last year.

This year he wants to do more.

Budd said he has a passion for attending events such the one in Rama.

“I just enjoy working with them,” he said. “We try to take in as many (working demonstrations) as we can.”

However, he and his fellow participants also hope younger people will become interested and pick up the traces.

“I don’t think there are too many to take over and keep it going,” said Budd.

Added Rosenkerr: “We’ve got to get young people interested so we don’t lose these horses.”

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