Horse Progress Days Features Horse-Drawn Equipment and More

Horse Progress Days began as a way for implement dealers to hawk their wares, but it’s become a full-blown movement.

| May/June 2012

  • Horse Progress Days Wood Splitter
    A wood splitter powered by Athens Enterprises' horse treadmill.
    Nick Sabo
  • Horse Progress Days Draft Horse Teams
    Draft horse teams are hitched to dozens of implements during the day, powering everything from spreaders to plows, harrows and crumblers.
    Nick Sabo

  • Horse Progress Days Wood Splitter
  • Horse Progress Days Draft Horse Teams

Horse Progress Days is the event to experience for anyone who has ever looked at that acre or two on their horse farm and envisioned row after row of vegetables. It’s for the hobby farmer who is ready to make a go at full-time farming by taking his operation the sustainable, economical route.

This event was created with those in mind who are seriously considering small farming. The 2012 Horse Progress Days is set for June 29-30 at the Alvin Yoder farm in Clare, Michigan.

The genesis of Horse Progress Days dates back to the 1990s, when draft-horse farmers — predominantly Amish — were looking for a central event where implement manufacturers could demonstrate their products. Since then, interest has grown among non-Amish farmers, following a trend toward produce farming to meet the demand for locally grown and organic foods.

However, interest from large farms is emerging as well, according to Henry King, a majority partner in White Horse Machinery.

“Over the past several years, the bigger farms, non-Amish farms, are going to horse farming,” says King, who hosted the 2011 Horse Progress Days on his farm near Kinzers, Pennsylvania. “The movement today is for healthier diets, and people are willing to pay for these kinds of products. In the future, because of the economics of fuel, the viability of the farm may hinge on doing a lot more work with horses.”

Seminars at Horse Progress Days are moving more toward produce, but horse trainers and farm techniques still round out the schedule of events. The highlight of the two-day event is horse-drawn machinery demonstrations, where implements are put to work in the fields.

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