Draft Horse Days and United States Plowing Contest

We attended the plowing contest during September 2009. The competition was held in fields on the grounds of Carriage Hills Metropark Farm near Dayton, Ohio.

Carriage Hill Metropark Farm
Carriage Hill Metropark Farm


Plowing with Mules

Teams from other states competed in the competition. The objective is to plow a perfectly straight furrow, with a consistent depth. Also, the sod should be inverted with no grass showing when you are finished.

Team of Three Mules Plowing
Team of Three Mules Plowing

2-way Plow
2-way Plow

The plow above is a 2-way plow. Most plows throw sod to one side only which works well for narrow strips. This style permits the farmer to turn around at the end and return in the same furrow using the other plow. This does require that the team is comfortable with this as they must shift position (who walks in the furrow and who walks on the sod) as they reverse position.


Matched Teams Plowing

The team of horses above are not only fine horses, are well trained, and wear fine harness. The driver spoke infrequently to his team as they seemed to know in advance what was expected of them. Note that the plow above throws sod to the left while the plow below throws sod to the right.

The teams were permitted a short rest at the end of the field which seemed to be a motivation to get to the end. Speed was not part of this competition.


Walk-behind Plow

This is the kind of plowing Jim remembers doing in the late 1940's on the hillside farm where he grew up in West Virginia. It takes practice to control the plow. Raising the handles causes the plow to plow deeper and moving the handles to the right makes the plow go left. It was obvious that these plowmen had lots of experience at this task. In the image below, a judge measures the depth of furrow for consistency.