Here is a picture of my grandfather-in-law with his team of horses, and I read in the newspaper the other day that some, not necessarily many, but some farmers are beginning to use them again. Environmentally friendly, cheaper than the big machines to buy, to run, to service, they last for many years without going out of fashion or are superseded by a newer model, they are companionable, have character, and passers-by love them!
The farmer in the article doesn’t just use the horses in the spring and autumn to plough, but for many other duties such as sowing, harrowing and rolling the land. The farmer feels that using his animals keeps him ‘in touch’ with the land; as he walks behind them he is not insulated and detached from the elements by windows of a cab, or distracted from the sounds around him by the noise of an engine. The horses he uses are Percherons, a breed which goes back to the eight century… how wonderful to imagine our Anglo-Saxon ancestors using such animals!
An extra advantage a horse has over a machine, it can self-replicate by breeding… the farmer reckons he makes over £5000 per trained horse that he sells… you couldn’t breed and train a tractor!