Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Farmer's Horse:
A Hallow's Workshop

I am quivering with excitement as I write about this! This October 27th the Saturday of Hallow's, Cold Antler Farm and Livingston Brook Farm are co-hosting an all day workshop on the Farmer's Horse. A whole day dedicated entirely to equine draft power for field, road, and pasture!

The point of the workshop is to learn the basics of taking on a horse, pony, or mule as a beginner farmer. Whether it is a farm pony like Jasper or a bigger draft like Steele, this is a day for you to gain some hands-on experience and get your questions answered, farmer to farmer, about the realities of working and living with horses.

This is not a horse-training demo, professional clinic, nor is it driving lessons. It is a friendly first step towards working with horses in your own life. It's an introduction to the broad-backed basics of working horses. The breeds of horses and work, the equipment and harnesses, and will end with a lecture by a seasoned Natural Horsemanship trainer's advice on choosing a horse of your own some day.

The day will start out at Cold Antler Farm where you'll get to meet Jasper and Merlin and learn the basics of housing, fencing, and keeping a horse on small acreage. We'll talk about riding your horse, and the kinds of saddles and styles of bridles, bits, reins, and tack. We'll talk about what to realistically expect cost wise and how I manage to do it here at Cold Antler. We'll harness a horse together, going over all the pieces and parts of that complicated beast. Learn what those strange words and straps mean, and how it all fits together and what they do. Lead Jasper along with a stack of firewood on the back of a stone boat. Learn about curb chains and blinders with Steele. There will be discussions on how to proceed in your own area, too: mentors, local draft clubs and such.

Lunch will be brought, bagged. Please bring a picnic style spread for your own enjoyment. We'll most likely break sometime in the early afternoon.

After lunch we'll drive a few miles over to Livingston Brook Farm where we'll meet Steele, the Percheron with power, and see the same stuff on a larger scale and enjoy some time in the back of a cart. Patty will talk about her own experience with her horse, how they learned together. She'll give you rides and show us her different vehicles (cart, sleigh, and forecart) and talk about the uses and advantages of all.

After all that a Driving Specialist/ Natural Horsemanship trainer will be there to give an afternoon lecture on selecting the right horse for you, and what to look for when you are ready to grab the reins. This will be a chance to really ask the hard questions. A nice wrap-up to our day of Draft School 101.

When the workshop part is over we'll dismiss and those who want to stick around can stay for a cookout/campfire are welcome! And get this, we'll end things right. With the light of lanterns and jack-o-lanterns we'll enjoy a campfire reading of excerpts from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and sip hot cider and warm stews under wool blankets around the flickering light. And if you never heard the tale of our own New York State's Headless Horseman after a day with horses around a campfire...well, you best come and find out!

If interested, please email me at Jenna@itsafarwalk.com to sign up. Half of the workshop fee will be needed upfront ($75) and the second half paid the day of the class. Discounts for couples and groups, as always. Mark your calendars and get out your deerskin gloves, we're going grab those reins!

13 Comments:

Blogger DarcC said...

Wild horses couldn't keep me away! Payment sent, calendar marked :)

May 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger ebwhite said...

In an earlier piece you talked about a rototiller for the garden. Can Jasper or Steele pull a plow rather than wood or a cart?

May 2, 2012 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

oh, this sounds amazing!

May 3, 2012 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger kimberlesk said...

This sounds fantastic!! I wish I could make it. Someday I definitely will! I love the idea of sitting around a crackling fire listening to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow -- my favorite tale!!

May 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anyone looking for a draft horse who is just starting out...
Please mention that a terrific place to find a well trained, experienced working drafthorse is from a horse rescue. The amish dump their 12-13year old workhorses at slaughter auctions when they can no longer put in a 12-14 hour day in the field. Draft horses easily live 25+ years. These animals are well trained and make wonderful riding and driving partners. The rescues evaluate the horse and will tell you about any health problems and what the horse is trained to do. Adopting a drafthorse saves a life!
Heather in PA

May 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Jenna, I'd probably go because it sounds great, but I think the charge is a bit high for a day. I've gone to many workshops with excellent leadership that charge $50 to $75 for the day, not $150. I am from upstate NY and have been to workshops all around the US.

But if you have success with this, that is great!!

Since this is your work now, pay attention IF the numbers of participants go down and how you will handle that.

I want to be clear that this is not a criticism, just an explanation of my perspective. Also, not being part of a group or a couple, your discounts did not apply to me, which I understand but also makes me more aware.

June 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I also accept trades, barter, silver coin, lessons, skill swaps and such. The 150 fee is to cover the expenses, two farms participation, and the food. Get a group together to join us and the fee goes down more.

Workshp[ participation is at its highest levels ever, and I am happy to have a full house now through antlerstock, with more events on the way through winter.

June 13, 2012 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

who will be giving the lecture?

June 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Field fence and Farm Fence said...

your blog is really very interesting.

June 15, 2012 at 1:32 AM  
Anonymous H said...

How does the fee cover the food if it's "bring your own"?

July 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

The fee covers the event, two farms, and the day of workshops and speakers. Dave or milt will be there to do the evening talk.

As for food, you need to bring a lunch but once the workshop is officially over there will be a private party with the campfire and such.

I will amend the post to help with any confusion

July 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely photo of Jasper! Merlin gets all the attention but that beautiful dappled Jasper is my favorite!

Nancy

July 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Sassafrass said...

I MUST share a cosmic thing that happened. Since one of your last posts I suddenly want to get on a horse (never b4 in my life have I done this!) So I let it roll in my mind and kind of asked a question -to the universe, to the trees, to myself; should i??? I mean why would I ever think I could EVER one day be able to purchase/financially take care of such a thing? I arrived at work THE FOLLOWING MORNING and skimmed through the paper - HUGE ARTICLE a large number of Arabian Horses were saved in PA by an type of extension of the Animal Rescue groups - they would be coming up for adoption. I stood there quiet. O the beauty of potential as it roots and the recognition of a question answered!!! Maybe not today, 2mrw, or even next year...But YES (!!!) it would be possible! There was the silver glint in my shadow of doubt :)

July 26, 2012 at 8:18 AM  

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