On Saturday, Tiffany, Caitlin, Angus & I went to the International Plowing Match. Cait’s friends, Courtney & Heidi, were competing with Jock & Tucker, two of The Big Boys that she loves so much.
So we went to see them – and all the other draft horses there. Jock & Tucker are show horses, and looked so handsome & fancy, but there were also teams of work horses of mixed breed, and quite plain. Both kinds are the old faithful that helped turn the land from forest to farms, fields to crops.
When you watch the contestants wrestle the plow, and coax their horses to a straight furrow, you can’t help but think about how things used to be. Feeding the nation was an arduous task, taking all of your strength and stamina, with no guarantee of success.
It’s not so physical today, but the risks are still the same. But today you have tractors that go exactly where you point them, don’t get tired, moody, or lame.
When you watch these plowmen working with their horses, you are reminded how valuable a good horse was to your life, back in the day. Now the plowing match is a novelty, but back when your life depended on it, there was great effort put into training your horses, and keeping them healthy & strong. The plowman was practiced, and took pride in the furrows he and his team could create. It all went toward growing a better crop, for a better return, for a better life for his family.
It’s good to be reminded of the old ways…to see again the link between work and life. In the clutter of 21st century gadgets, activities, luxuries, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals, and get too caught up in things that are trivial and peripheral.
A man, his team, his hands and the land…and an expectation of making a better life.
That’s the American Dream.