The good news is the Heavy Horse Project has been given the go ahead. Much joy in the horse department and carrots all round.
As part of the planned enhancing of the HHD’s contribution to the estate and the visitors enjoyment (and knowledge of the magnificent Shire Horse) we are planning to show off the troops agricultural skills this year.
I guess pretty much everybody will know that you can’t just stick a plough on the back of horse and tell it to pop off and do a few straight lines. Training is needed for the horses and for the “driver(s)”.
The boss (Emma) has spent some time at Gressenhall learning how to Harrow, Roll and Plough with their resident Suffolks. Recently 12 of the HHD volunteers went with Emma to spend the day at Gressenhall and have a go. http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/Visit_Us/Gressenhall_Farm_and_Workhouse
Here we all are waiting on Richard Dalton, Gressenhall Farm Manager, to tell us how to steer a straight line behind the horses. There are two Suffolks harnessed up nearest is Reg the most experienced and the biggest at a metric ton .On the other side of Reg is Jimbo who is a tad smaller.Reg is standing in a furrow and Jimbo is on the ledge. For those of a certain age it helps to remember how they filmed Alan Ladd and his leading ladies. The two different sized wheels are adjusted to change the height of the furrow.
Below is what it’s meant to look like.
Apparently in the good old days the horses and the ploughman – or woman my mum did this in the war while in the Land Army- would plough 11miles in a day. One furrow and I was cream crackered, well almost.
As well as ploughing we had a go at harrowing – no I am not going to say it. That was a bit easier. I went first on this and I particularly enjoyed after the first turn being told to overlap on the previous run while maintaining a straight line. It was at this point that I told the instructor that I couldn’t see the previous run. Luckily Reg could see the last run so we went off in the right place and I managed not to take him too much off the straight and narrow. That’s not me below by the way.
All in all we had a great day and are all looking forward to putting some of the more charming agricultural methods on display at the farm.
The boss is going to start with rolling and harrowing which will be the easier ones for training to start with, I am assuming she means for training the horses but she was looking at me when she said it.