This weekend we had the pleasure of attending a workshop on a young farm in Sebastapol, CA. New Family Farm is run by Adam and Ryan and worked by horses instead of tractors (a pretty rare thing here in California), and they, along with WHOA (Work Horse Organic Agriculture) hosted a workshop by Doc Hammill on driving and farming with. . .horses! We were shocked to find out there was such an opportunity in our state and deigned to use some of our precious savings in order to attend. It was absolutely worth it.
We got to check out some really splendid horse-powered farm equipment, including the new Pioneer Homesteader, which just came out last year and has interchangeable implements (Pioneer is an Amish-engineered, modern, horse-powered equipment company out of Ohio) . The Annie’s All-In-One is a California-designed, horse powered tool that would be awesome for smaller farm situations, smaller draft animals and larger gardens.
Doug “Doc” Hammill, a draft horse and teamster (somebody who drives horses instead of riding them) trainer from Montana, is an awesome and compassionate teacher, and the workshop was fascinating, super educational, and a very good introduction to what it takes to work with horses as a driver and farmer. All those leather straps and lines aren’t quite as complex as they look to put on and remove, if you take your time. But, the fitting of the collar and hames is an art form that will certainly take some study. I loved driving, to put it simply. It was challenging and satisfying–something we could see ourselves doing every day as part of our farm work.
In the future we plan on saving up to all attend the week-long workshop at Doc’s Montana farm, girls included. But the House Fund and the Farm Fund must come first. . .