I have been working with horses since 2015 when we got our first horse called Major from an amish friend. Before that I took a couple of horse courses with Ken laing of St. Thomas Ontario. As of April 2021 we have four belgian horses. I did have a Suffolk Punch from Ken Laing but unfortunately he died of colic which was very hard for me to face as I had spent a lot of time with him in training. Certainly he was the best horse I have ever encountered and he is very much missed.

Mat plowing with Chief and Ginger

After about 6 years of working with horses I still feel I do not yet fully understand them. I have certainly learned to command them and get the work done but each horse is so different and they seem to change. Theses changes are confusing to me. For example Chief has been one of the most dependable steady horse over the last couple of years. Lately he has taken to pulling too hard on a team so I relegated him to single horse work like pulling the sled with the chainsaw up to the woods. But today I decided that he would work with Jim as a team and together they did very well spreading manure. Jim has had a rough time last year. During the fall hay cutting Jim decided to suddenly spook and headed out to the road with two other horses in harness with the Sickle mower in tow. Luckily no one was hurt and the damage to the mower was minor. The sickle mower could easily have been trashed. I put Jim in pasture for a month or two then decided to work with him again. I have been spending a lot more time with each horse this winter and Jim has certainly calmed down a lot so that I have been using him in various tasks and even used him with Chief today to spread manure on a field. Jim and Chief did a .great job.

Suzie and family

Ginger is our newest horse. After Flynn died I started looking of a new horse and found that there were few to be had. After a number of tries I found Ginger from an Amish horse seller. She is 13 years old and I found out that she probably had never been in harness so I began the long chore of training her. We worked together almost every day and eventually I was able to put a bridle on her. There were a number of anxious moments, sometimes for seemingly no reason she would spook but I stayed with it and in a number of cases stuck with the out of control horse to rein her in and continue the training. She is constantly looking and following me around now and a few days ago I decided to team her with Duke to do some plowing with Ginger in the furrow. It was a bit of a hair raiser at first but successive days she got much better.. and I improved too by also making adjustments to the plow. I have taken it quite easy doing only about 45 minutes of plowing a day and some days are really good and I need only a light touch on the reins.

Mat Packing field mar 2021

Working with our horses is always a challenge as to what they are capable of and who to match them up as a team.

Mat getting firewood mar 2021

May 11 2021

When Ginger decided that she did not want to wear hr halter I had to devise a method to convince her to trust me. So I used the rope around the head and without pulling lead the horses using verbal commands. This method really worked well. The horses now walk beside me as I click to get them going and then say whoa... Each day gets better. This has enticed Ginger to partake in this exercise to getting her halter back on. It has taught me a lot too as I spend more time with the horses every day doing more exercises. Ginger looks on and many times wants to be part of the fun.

Mat with a new technique of teaching the horses verbal commands.

Agatha and friends visiting the horses

I encourage people to walk the horses and then brush them

Dorothee and I put a fence around our east garden but the winter kill cover crop did not do what I wanted so I had to plow it. To avoid more soil disturbance I decided to pack the garden and the best thing I could think of for packing it was a couple of horses with myself which makes it a 10 foot packer. May 25 2021

When I am finished in the fields i need Dorothee to help unhook the horses and take off the harness. She is there when I return from the fields and takes over taking the horses to the hitching post. It would be quite impossible to work with the horses without her.