Horses have been an important part of human history. It is believed that they were used to fulfill dietary needs by early humans, but were later domesticated when humans started to settle down and farm. For years, we have been relying on horses for some very important tasks, such as traveling, fighting wars, power generation, and agriculture.
With the advent of modern vehicles and powerful machinery, horses nowadays are rarely used for any of these purposes. However, there are still some people who recognize the significance of horses in our history, and are trying to keep traditions like horse ploughing alive.
The Clydesdale – A Farmer’s Best Friend
The Clydesdales are traditional work horses. They are easily recognizable as they usually stand at over 6 feet tall and have long hair around their ankles. They are relatively larger and more muscular than most other horse breeds. Clydesdales are bred to pull heavy loads and are often used for farming. Since the advent of tractors and other such machinery, their numbers have gone down significantly, as people don’t find much use for them anymore.
A Skill Lost with Time
The purpose of ploughing is to turn the upper layer of soil and bring a fresh layer from underneath to the top. This allows more nutritious soil to reach the seeds that are planted after the soil has been ploughed. Plough designs have varied throughout history and changed according to the geographical locations.
Unfortunately, the skill of ploughing has been lost over time because modern farming equipment has made the work easier and faster. There was once a time when the farmer and his animals ploughed in the fields all day, leading to the birth of a relationship between them that is hard to find these days.
The city of Pirongia in New Zealand, is trying to keep the tradition of horse ploughing with Clydesdales alive by holding an annual horse ploughing event to raise money for the local ambulance foundation. The people who come to the event, albeit in small numbers, belong to areas far and wide.
The visitors show an interest in horse ploughing and describe witnessing the experience as very unique. Standing behind the majestic animals lets you feel their sheer power as they trudge with the equipment that parts the earth beneath their feet. Horse ploughing competitions are held in many parts of the world, like the United Kingdom, and more people are taking a keen interest in them. These competitions help to keep the tradition of horse ploughing alive.
Humans have used horses for centuries for farming and other tasks to make life easier. Clydesdales carry a very important position in that history and many people endeavor to keep that history alive today. While there is no need to practice something that is less efficient than using machinery, sometimes you just need to slow down and reconnect with your past. Clydesdales have always been a farmer’s best asset and we should not forget this. In a world taken over by gadgets, keeping traditions like horse-ploughing, alive is more important than ever.