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Nine Abreast

Excerpted from the "Small Farmers Journal"

Dear Lynn,

First let me say how very much I enjoy SFJ. I have subscribed now for about three years and I have enjoyed each issue immensely. At first, I was merely an observer of the use of horses and horse power as I owned no horses myself. As an involuntary participant in corporate America's down sizing I found myself "early retired" last November and I bought my first horse in thirty years. Cele, is a registered Haflinger mare and I have since bought her identical, full sister Cally. As draft ponies I expect to use them for pulling small implements and equipment.

While on a trip this last June, I had occasion to be in the Arthur, Illinois area with my friend A. P. Ison (from Texas) and Jim Holt (from Hanover, Indiana), whom I had bought Cele and Cally from.

While in this area we happened to see this unusual and magnificent hitch of 9-abreast Belgians discing and harrowing a field. The young Amish man driving the hitch was very gracious and allowed us to take some video footage and some snapshots of the hitch.

We were unable to get a picture of the driver and the team in motion. But, it was just breathtaking to watch this hitch work. The driver had lines on only the two middle horses. The rest were connected at the collars with "Jockey-Sticks." When he stepped up on the standing platform, he picked up the reins and the two middle horses just leaned into the collars and, as if in slow motion, the other seven horses slowly leaned up and into the collars like a peacock opening its' tail, and the discs and harrow were set in motion without a single rattle of trace chains or singletree, nor was there any jerking of the equipment. It was as if the scene had been muted of all sound.

I may never get to see such a hitch again and perhaps others of your readers have never seen such. At any rate, I wish to share this with you and your readers however you best see fit

(closing statements by author, etc...)

Small Farmers Journal, Winter, Vol. 20, No. 1

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