Draft Horse Work Hardening
January 2, 2013, 9:21 pm
Filed under: January 2013 | Tags:
Resting, but ready to go

Resting, but ready to go

                                                            January 2, 2013

     The horses are a bit soft since last falls harvest. I have begun to get them ready for the maple syrup season. They will soon be pulling the sled loaded with the sap tank. It will tire them some, but I try to get them ready like an athlete. We start out with everyday work, light loads at first with a good pull or two now and then.

     The horses like to work. They are bidable and willing. When the going gets a little tough, they just hunker down and keep on pulling. I need to work them steady but not over do it just yet. Their muscles and lungs need to get fit for the work ahead.

     We cut firewood when there is no other job. A good wagon ride down the road will also help get them ready. Hauling the sap sled takes about three to four hours a day when the sap is running. There may be snow, but last year it was a daily pull through the mud. They handled it well.

     I must keep in mind that the spring work of field preparation comes just after or even during the maple sugar harvest. The horses must also be tough enough to pull the plow, fertilizer spreader, drag or anything else that comes up. By starting now, it gets them ready by work hardening.

     I should walk more myself, rather than ride, I could use a little work hardening myself. I too have become soft. My off-farm job has me riding a desk too much. I need my muscles and lungs to be ready for the upcoming work too. My hired man has taken much of the work out of my daily routine. The only thing expanding is my waistline! I got to get that in check!

     My youngest son has taken a renewed interest in driving and working the horses. He is a good teamster. He practically cut his teeth on the butt lines. He does well, the horses listen to him and he applies only the pressure they need on their bits or their attitude. His helping me is very good for the horses and both me and him. Between the two of us, we will all be ready to go. It’s only six weeks away…the syrup season that is. Time will fly now as we head for that sweet time of year 😮


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