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Northstar Draft Horse Association Inc.
Farming with Horses
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Time to get the field work done.  We have Jack and Jim mowing hay.  Horses pull all kinds of farming implements they do the plowing, discing, fertalizing and seeding.  When fall comes its time to cut the hay down and get it in for the winter.

Fall harvest
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Couple more rounds boys.

Bad weather brewwing.
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Jack were going to get wet if we don't pick up the pace.

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This is a club spring plow day where we all get together with our horses at a club members farm and plow a field together.  Our new members work together with our experienced members to learn how to set up a plow.  They also teach us how to use a walking plow and drive the horses at the same time. 

Here's a team of Percherons
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I'm telling you Percherons can out work Belgians!

When the early settlers came to our area all the work was done with horses and oxen.  The forests were cleared away to make room for fields to plant crops.  The horses were used to pull the trees out of the area.  The trees were then used to build houses and barns.  In our area where we had many Finish settlers the first building to go up was the sauna.  The sauna is still a very popular this area. 

Bud and Sid plowing
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Hey Bud were just about through here!

Once the fields were cleared of trees, horses and oxen were then used to plow the ground to get it ready for crops.  Seen here are walking plows.  Walking plows got their name because the farmer would walk behind holding the handles to keep the plow in the ground and turning it on its side when they reached the edge of the field.  There are also sulky plows, the farmers rode on them.  They have foot pedals and levers to raise and lower the plow.   Walking plows came first but as farmers wanted to till more acreage the sulky plow was invented, a farmer could have 2 or 3 teams and change teams every few hours so they could stay in the fields for a longer period of time.  As things went on 2 bottom plows came about.  They could till more ground faster but it also required 5-6 horses to pull.  Many of the fields the settlers cleared back then are still in use today.

Heres Jack and Jim with Bernie at the lines
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Ok boys keep in the furrow

Horses back then were a good commodity.  They reproduced at little or no cost to the farmers.  This meant that they would always have horses to work thier fields or sell.  The horses didn't cost much in upkeep.  Everything the farmer needed to sustain thier livestock was grown right there on the farm.  They didn't need gas or oil, no broken parts that needed to be replaced.  Horses were much cheaper to use but of course not as fast as tractors.  The growing population and demand for more crops finally made farming with horses obsolete, tractors could pull larger equipment go faster and get more done.  In a time were quantity is important the horse just couldn't compete. 

Two members learning the walking plow
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