This is my contribution to the Harvest. Dried hydrangeas from the Cottage garden.
September is the time for harvest and in our small town that also means that the giants come calling.
These giants do not live at the top of beanstalks. They are not part of an NFL franchise or a San Francisco baseball club. They walk on four feet instead of two. They are the beautiful and powerful draft horses.
Every September, Grass Valley plays host to the Draft Horse Classic. It is the most beautiful display of horse flesh that you will possibly ever see in one place. These horses are the working backbone of times gone by and are still used in many farming communities today.
"The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never."
Old Yiddish Proverb
These wonderful animals do not answer to pretty names like most other species of their breed. They have been christened with common names, such as Jack, Bill, Dolly or Bess. Good, simple and strong, just like the humans that work alongside them.
"There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it."
Clydesdale, Double Hitch
A draft horse is a large horse bred for heavy tasks, such as plowing and other forms of farm labor. They are strong and patient, and they were extremely valuable before the Industrial Revolution. Today, they are used mainly for crossbreeding, although some are still in use.
"Its' always been and always will be the same in the world: The horse does the work and the coachman is tipped."
Humans needed to domesticate horses to use them for work, such as farm work and carrying heavy loads. While they used light quick horses for transportation, they needed an animal that was strong, calm, and patient for pulling these heavy loads.
I don't think they were talking this light weight!
In the 1800's before the railroad, the heavy work horse was invaluable and in high demand. This even carried through to the early 1900's, as draft horses were used during World War I to help the military effort.
Percherons come in black, white and any color in between.
At that time, draft horses were being imported from Europe into the United States - from Belgium, France, England and Scotland. The most numerous of these breeds in America were the Percheron from France, with 40,000 broodmares by 1915. The American Cream Draft breed was developed as an American draft breed.
"He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.
Unfortunately, due to the Industrial Revolution in the 20th century, the internal combustion engine greatly reduced the demand for the draft horse. After World War I, the tractor began to replace the draft horse on the farm. Many breeds became depleted after horses were sold to slaughterhouses for horse meat.
Can you believe that this big guy was ever this small?
Today, some smaller farms still employ the draft horse in both the United States and Europe. The Amish and Mennonite farmers especially use horses for their power. Outside of that, draft horses can be seen at pulling shows and competitions, or used as exhibition animals.
A lot is involved in the upkeep of these beautiful animals. Both male and female undergo the same stylish transformations and it's not an inexpensive ordeal either.
They do love their bubble baths.
And they are known to frequent 5-Star restaurants.
They definitely have to keep regular beauty parlor appointments.
They are quite proficient in the art of dance.
And it would appear that they are foot wear aficionados.
And, of course, there are hired body guards.
Or, in this case, maybe fired body guards.
But when it comes to their style of dress and all their trappings, this is where the real expense comes in.
The white piece of paper tacked to edge is a For Sale sign. The sun washed it out but it states that this cupboard of equipment is being offered to anyone interested for the price of $5,695.00....USED!
"Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined,
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient."
Ronald Duncan, "The Horse" 1954
This is a wonderful annual event, set amongst the tree-covered 100-acre Nevada County Fairgrounds, and I'm proud to bring you along...Judy
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
The Gentle Giant
Picture taken in the spring when the dogwoods were blooming.
I would also like to share with you the Sierra Sunset on the first day of Autumn, 2012.
P. S. I just got a message from Shannon at Cozy Home Scenes. She has had to quit her blog and has opened a new one. What a shame, she had such a great following and did so much with her special features and was so helpful to me when I had a problem, and now she has to start all over again. Please visit her at A Cozy Place Called Home, which looks magnificent, and start fresh with her again. She also comes highly recommended by Mr. Buddy. After all, she was instrumental in his stairway to stardom!
I'm sharing this week with: