Saturday, March 17, 2012
Clydesdales: the gentle giants of the horse world
Clydesdales have been part of Churchill Island since settlement, in the 1800s. Their docile temperament, impressive size, large shock absorbing feet, and silky flowing feathers all add up to make one of the finest of all domestic animals.
Over the years, Clydesdales have been used to plough the rich volcanic earth of Churchill Island, help with the harvest, and in 1936, build a dam, which is still in use today. They are, and always have been, part of Churchill Island's charm.
Today they give visitors wagon rides, and are also used to work the farm.
Although we've never used horses in our farming career, I love the idea of Clydesdales, but only when they are looked after properly and not worked too hard. They remind me of James Herriot books and films, of a past era when people could make a good honest living milking 20 or so cows, and planting a crop or two using Clydesdales to help plough and harvest.
I don't like the trend towards huge herds of cows and factory farms where the quality of life for the animals has deteriorated. Domesticated farm animals deserve much better than this.
A Clydesdale, carved from wood using a chainsaw, is another attraction on the island.