Before cars and trucks, airplanes and trains, horses got us from here to there. In the villages and cities, horses pulled the milk wagons, hauled the beer wagons, toted everything that needed toting, including people.
On the farms, by the 1850s, draft horses began replacing oxen, those docile critters that did the heavy work of plowing and hauling heavy loads, and providing transportation for people as well. But they were so slow. It’s claimed that if a family with oxen wanted to arrive on time for Sunday church, they had to leave home on Friday.
Soon draft horses were pulling the plows, the hay mowers and hay wagons, the grain binders and everything else that needed pulling.
For many farmers, horses continued doing the heavy work through the Depression years of the 1930s, and through World War II as well, when tractors replaced the steady steeds.
Want to learn more about horses and horse-drawn equipment? Travel to the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Stonefield Village, near Cassville, where next Saturday, September 29 you can see horses being harnessed and working. And you can hear me talk about the history of horses on the farm at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
If you want to learn still more about horses in our history, check out my book HORSE DRAWN DAYS, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When you farm with horses, you never have to worry about them starting on a cold winter morning. Tractors are not that dependable.
September 29, Stonefield Village, Cassville, WI. Horse Drawn Days.
October 3, 6:00 p.m. Onalaska Public Library, Rural Wit and Wisdom
October 4-6 Midwest Booksellers, Minneapolis. Book Signing. RURAL WIT AND WISDOM and my new novel, TAMARACK RIVER GHOST.
October 13, 9-4. The Clearing. Writing Workshop: Writing From Your Life. (Still some openings. Go to www.theclearing.org for information. Click on workshops.)