"Farming With Horses"

Threshing was a good time for all neighbors to get together and visit. When the threshing ring (number of neighbors depending on one threshing machine) got too large and the grain started to sprout on the plant, my dad and a neighbor bought a threshing machine together. We used basket racks to haul bundles to the machine. It was hard work, but we soon got used to it.

One of the hardest parts of farming had to do chores after working all day in the field. You had to unharness the horses and feed them. As soon as they finished eating they were turned out. Every once in a while you had to give them a good curry and doctor their sore shoulders. I felt sorry for those horses that had large sores on them caused by the weight of some machinery. Through the hot summers of the 1930's, they hardly cooled off before the next day. I liked to work horses, but I was glad when the tractor came along to replace them in the fields. With the horses, you could plow three to four acres a day. With the tractor, you could plow at least forty acres a day.

When we were farming 400 acres with horses, we could go to the field with four, four horse teams and still have some horses left in the barn. Along with the horses we had 15 or 20 mules of all ages that we raised. We didn't like them, so we didn't train them to work in the field. The only horses you see now are for pleasure riding. I had a Shetland pony that I rode all over the farm. Having the growth of timber and the creek on the farm gave me an opportunity to play. We would swim in the creek and herd the other horses through rough areas and play cowboy. When I got home from school and did all the chores I would ride everywhere, even to Divernon. Sometimes, the pony would rub on its bridle and I would have to walk home. These were busy times with something to do every minute so we didn't have time to get into trouble.

David W. Dickey, Sr.