Third generation swing plough requires easy-going team
Turning around at the headland.
The pair of Comtois horses, Pilou and Pasha, harnessed up. Dafydd Roberts bought these two horses from a farmer in France, where horses of this type are primarily bred for the meat market. Since it is considered unlucky to rename a horse, Dafydd decided to keep their French names.
Pasha in the field on a frosty December day, looking even stockier than usual in his thick winter coat. It’s easy to see from this picture that these horses aren’t bred for speed.
Dafydd's muck cart.
Dafydd harrowing a recently manured field with a pair of heavy cobs.
A Shire horse out in the field, displaying characteristic white feathers. As you can see the Shire is a much longer-legged creature than the Comtois.
The muck cart shedding its load. The manure is tipped into piles and spread in the time-honored way with a fork. Of course we do have muck spreaders and tractors here, too, but it’s nice to see a horse earn its keep once in a while, and it keeps the old traditions alive.
The swing plough that originally belonged to my grandfather. After 50 years abandoned in a hedge, it was restored by my brother Dafydd. He and his son, Damian, plough with it now, although only ploughing matches in Ireland and Scotland have classes for this type of plough. Most competitive ploughing features ploughs with wheels.
Rear view of the pair at a ploughing demonstration in the summer of 2008. Pictured between the plough handles is my daughter, Lili, having a ploughing lesson from her uncle Dafydd. Such antics wouldn’t have been possible back when Dafydd used to plough with his cobs (heavily built, medium size horses), as they liked to move a lot faster than the Comtois pair.