If you want to eschew fossil-fuel-powered equipment, draft horses are the way to go.
Farming with draft horses is an almost inherently attractive idea. It evokes a certain nostalgia for a simpler time, it embodies bucolic life, and for those of us seeking to improve our sustainability, they are essentially tractors that create their own fertility, multiply, and run on grass not gas.
However, there may be many reasons we might not act on our interest in farming with draft horses. Draft animals generally get work done more slowly than a tractor, and without access or relation to other farmers who use draft animals, it may just seem entirely out of reach—too unfamiliar, too foreign, too big of a hill to climb. That’s why we’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to draft horses for anyone who is interested, but may not know where to start. If farming with draft horses is your dream, you should be able to pursue that dream with confidence.
Choosing Breeds and Buying Draft Horses
The breed of draft horses you choose to purchase should be based on how you want to use them and on what breeds are available locally. Draft animals are a bit like plants in that they do better in the area they are adapted to, though another notable advantage to acquiring horses locally is having someone close by who can mentor you in this farming technique.
Your first horses should be experienced horses. Trying to “break a horse” before you have your “horse sense” can be difficult. Your best bet is to get some training, and then when you’re ready, find a local breeder or horseman and let them get you set up.
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