Sunday, March 21, 2010


Bruce Strachan is competing in this June event! At least he doesn't have to walk behind the plow. He sits up high on his machine with his camera case slung over his shoulder.

I'd be interested to know whether West Favelle has plowing matches these days -- maybe with tractors. In Oregon horse-team plowing and logging have come back to life and I've watched those big old horses turn the ground over. Actually, those were feather-footed heavy horses, but these look a little lighter: utility horses, so to speak. So they can pull the wagon and buggy as well.

The names of these horses, left to right, are Inez, Polly and Judy. Inez is a little unusual for a horse name. None of them looks very Spanish. Maybe Polly and Judy are the matched pair and Inez is the dark buggy horse, a little fancier. Actually, they all seem more "dressed" than one is used to seeing. There must be briars or sapling whips in the grass for them to be wearing pants on their front legs. The dark horse also has a hanky on her nose to repell biting flies and the middle horse appear to be wearing a hat! One generally plows with mares or geldings. People in this time and place kept no stallions but a man with a good stud would tour the country doing the honors. Richard Kroetch's marvelous novel, "The Studhorse Man," tells the story.

My father was a steady and calm man in the early part of his life. There appears to be just a glimpse of what Charlie Russell called a "skunkwagon" barely in the photo on the left. Of course, being a cowboy, his opinion of plowing was not very high. He called it "turning the prairie upside down." The horse in the middle appears to have found herself a switch to chew up.

These furrows earned Bruce Strachan second prize. I expect the whole family took pride in that, since that's generally how they reacted, like a sort of mini-clan.

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