Gentle giants and furrows

by Heike October. 18, 2018 2520 views
Hello folks!

Hello folks!

I've been wondering my whole life, which heavy horse team may plow the most accurate furrow. You too?? ūüėĀ

Of course, I'm kidding. I have to admit, furrows never really interested me. Sometimes, while driving to the office, I notice them on fresh plowed fields, because of their structure, but usually my eyes are (beneath the traffic) more focused on movement in the fields, hoping to discover some birds of prey, or rabbits, or - against all propabilities - some grizzleys.

But there are obviously more people all over the world, than I thought, who pay attention to accurate plowed furrows. How do I know ? Because in several countries ploughing-championships take place. There are even world- championships existing. Some with horses, others with tractors. Ploughing matches became very popular among country folks in the 19th century. They started as a result of challenges between ploughmen to see who could draw the straightest furrow, and developed into the very complex competitions.
Last weekend I visited the 'German heavy-horse-ploughing-championships'. I don't think I would visit a ploughing-championship only with tractors, because my interest in tractors is really limited, but hey - I'm a girl, it's understandable that I prefer horses, or?

The competition was organized by the 'Hessenpark' in cooperation with the 'Interessengemeinschaft Zugpferde E.V.' (Sorry, I have no idea how to translate 'Interessengemeinschaft Zugpferde'. I think, 'dray-horse interest group' matches best. Unfortunately they only have a german website.)

The Hessenpark offers numerous different events during the year, it's a very popular open air museum in this region. Click on the link, if you like to know more about it, or wait a while (a few month or so ;)) until I publish a post about the park, it really deserves one.

But in todays post, I want to introduce you to this adorable and beautiful gentle giants and their human counterparts.

Isn't that a cool straight furrow?

Isn't that a cool straight furrow?

Concentrated at work

Concentrated at work

You know, I can't live without editing :)

You know, I can't live without editing :)

Brownies

Brownies

Stylish hair

Stylish hair

Hesse-Team! See the little coat of arms at the horses forehead? It's the coat of arms of the state of Hesse.

Hesse-Team! See the little coat of arms at the horses forehead? It's the coat of arms of the state of Hesse.

Backsides!

Backsides!

Team Baden-W√ľrttemberg. (State Capital is Stuttgart)

Team Baden-W√ľrttemberg. (State Capital is Stuttgart)

Kaltblut Team. (Cold blood team)

Kaltblut Team. (Cold blood team)

Turning around

Turning around

Relaxed

Relaxed

When I arrived around 11 a.m., the heavy-horse-teams were already on the field. All together there were 23 teams. The weather couldn't have been better, the sun was shining and it was warm enough to wear shorts and sandals. (Got a light sunburn during the day - very unusual, mid of october in mid of germany !!!) The horses were all 'dressed up' and decorated and looked very pretty.

Lovely horses in lovely light

Lovely horses in lovely light

Young generations, old traditions

Young generations, old traditions

Light and shadows

Light and shadows

Bavarian Team!

Bavarian Team!

Bavarian lady

Bavarian lady

Beautiful 'Schimmel'. Could be a Percheron, but I'm not sure.

Beautiful 'Schimmel'. Could be a Percheron, but I'm not sure.

Have you ever touched such softness ?

Have you ever touched such softness ?

Each team got a staked area in the field, which had to be plowed in a special time. At the end, referees examined the furrows and distributed points. The final furrows must be straight and run exactly parallel to the back pass. Also the depth of the furrows have to be equal, no green should be visible anymore and several other criteria have to match. Believe me, I never thought, that the creation of furrows is such a science.

Single plower without a driver

Single plower without a driver

At work

At work

Communicating with the horses through the lines

Communicating with the horses through the lines

Hehehe, have I already told you.....:)

Hehehe, have I already told you.....:)

Portrait

Portrait

Heavy horse teams can be with - and without a driver. The 'driver' is responsible for the communication with the horses thru the lines, body language and voice commands. The plower is responsible for the ground driving and the line adjustment to the field - and another thousand things, I've no idea about.ūüėČ

Team Hamburg!

Team Hamburg!

They looked so lovely!

They looked so lovely!

The two lovely young ladies in the photos above, attracted all visitors with their traditional dresses. (Team Hamburg) Watching this young women working with their horses, was like being transported by a time machine into the beginning of the last century. During my research for this post, I read, that there are meanwhile several young farmers, who again practice the traditional plowing with horses.

Little rest

Little rest

During the time of plowing, I circled the field once, to watch all the teams, so I got different natural light settings, what I really enjoyed. For nearly all photos above, I used my Canon EF 300mm f/4 L lens. It's heavy ( 1.165 kilo = 2 pounds), but when I watched the results in the evening, I was mega happy, that I decided to carry it with me. The photos are freehand - no tripod, because I don't have a donkey who carries all the equipment.

After all the teams finished their plowing, the participants took care of their horses and the referees examined and evaluated the single areas.

Whatever they see, I don't see it :)

Whatever they see, I don't see it :)

The final award ceremony took place inside the Hessenpark. The best plower was 'tatata' : Daniel Hoffmann with 96,81 points. Team Hessen

Winner : Daniel Hoffmann (you see him at work in #7 and #8)

Winner : Daniel Hoffmann (you see him at work in #7 and #8)

And here are the winners of the hearts :

Jessica Läufer and her driver. (Unfortunately I don't know her name.)

Jessica Läufer and her driver. (Unfortunately I don't know her name.)

As far as I'm concerned - I definitely will have much more respect in future, when I see a fresh plowed field with it's parallel furrows. (Also when it was done with a tractor!)

Join the conversation
47
There are 47 comments , add yours!
Buster Bruce 1 year, 5 months ago

So special a photographic set and narrative. I spent several viewing sessions on this. With so many great photographers on this site I have to pick the special ones to really concentrate on. You are one! Beautiful work Heike. Eventually, I will get back to all your historic postings.

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Buster Bruce 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm flattered, Buster. Glad you liked this post. It's one of my own favorite posts.

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Buster Bruce Replied to Heike 1 year, 5 months ago

blush

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Gary Luker 1 year, 5 months ago

Heike, I have just now come across this presentation and find it magnificent ! there is "something" about horses I can't quite describe.  Maybe it's their size and power, but capability to be gentle and beautiful..I don't know.  These are great photos that show that size and power and gentleness...super job!

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Gary Luker 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you Gary. Glad you liked it. I really like all horses very much, but the heavy cold blood horses are my favorites. I love their even-tempered and quiet disposition. They do their work so relaxed and concentrated, it's such a pleasure to watch them.

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Stephen Penfold 2 years, 2 months ago

Great blog ... really enjoyed it :-)   I used to really enjoy going to the 'country shows' here in Kent .... but alas due to costs, health & safety rules, and mainly event organiser greed they are no more :-(

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Stephen Penfold 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you very much Stephen! Around here this kind of events are also very rare. It's a pity, because I recognized that a lot of people are interesting in it.

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Laurie Madsen 2 years, 2 months ago

Grand collection!
Love your cover shot of the black teams headshot!
Great work!

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Laurie Madsen 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks a lot, Laurie. smile

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Agnies Agnies 2 years, 2 months ago

Really beautiful pictures Heike!

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Agnies Agnies 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks you, Agnies!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Marij Bär 2 years, 4 months ago

beautiful pictures

2 years, 4 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Marij Bär 2 years, 4 months ago

Kind thanks, Marij!

2 years, 4 months ago Edited
Pete 2 years, 4 months ago

I love the series. well done

2 years, 4 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Pete 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks a lot, Pete! Glad you liked it. smile

2 years, 4 months ago Edited
Pete 2 years, 4 months ago

Excellent photo

2 years, 4 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Pete 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks !! grinning

2 years, 4 months ago Edited
Björn Roose 2 years, 5 months ago

Wirklich großartig ! What a great series of photos of those beautiful animals and their human "commanders".

By the way, this type of horses is used too for pulling cutdown trees out of the woods in regions where the woods are hard to enter by tractor (like the Ostkantone in belgium). And yes, there's championships for that too smile

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Björn Roose 2 years, 5 months ago

Thank you, Björn!!! Yes I've heard they also use horses in the woods again, because they are not so heavy like tractors and that protects the ground. Concerning the championships: It seems nothing is impossible... smiley

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Ho Kim 2 years, 5 months ago

As I used to do, I enjoyed all the posts! I never thought in my life there is such an event as plowing competition, even world championship! Hhhh~ In most of Asian countries they got help from bulls rather than horse to plow. It's quite an experience to see horses plowing field. Quite unlike racing horses or wild horses in the prairie(which are familiar to me), those plowing horses look like creatures from old myth to me. Thank you. And I love your 'dark room works'. Please keep doing it as you like. smile

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Ho Kim 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Ho!!! I think, there are more strange competions existing, than we can think of. Read Camellias post about the cow-dung-throwing-competition smile ( https://www.photoblog.com/camellia/2018/08/07/energy/) . For me, that was the most incredible competition I read of so far. grin

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 years, 5 months ago

#4 - Same here smile Love the strength, edit and composition of #1. Great work throughout Heike

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Antonio Gil 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Antonio! Editing is a part of photography imho. smile Although I know a lot of 'photographers' who disapprove it, but I don't care about them. Even analogue photographers have retouched their pictures.

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil Replied to Heike 2 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. That's what I always say

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 2 years, 6 months ago

If I could put more than one heart up there I would. Heike these photos, the entire series are out of this world beautiful. I went through them twice. Your edits, PERFECT! your captures AWESOME! Seriously I don't think you could have done any better.
I really thought we were the strange ones to have cow chip throwing contests, but now I see that ploughing a straight furrow is also something to have a contest. Although, quite honestly I think your contest is more interesting to me than the cow chip one. Anyway, so glad you shared this series with us. Definitely worth carrying that heavy camera :)

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Camellia Staab 2 years, 5 months ago

Thank you Camellia, your kind words mean a lot to me! Honestly, if I would ever hear from such a cow chip competition in this region, I would be the first one, who takes out the camera. smileI always try to imagine, how such competitions comes to life, and I really have no doubt, there was some alcohol involved and a lot of laughter! smile

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 2 years, 6 months ago

Wonderful subjects and camera work! Most to my faves! Bravo! Thank You!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Jay Boggess 2 years, 5 months ago

Thank you Jay, glad you liked it and thx for the fav's!

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Heike 2 years, 5 months ago

My pleasure....Thank You for sharing!

2 years, 5 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski 2 years, 6 months ago

Lovely, lovely photos and a great post to go with them. The lighting and detail is perfect. Thank you for sharing!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Bethany Plonski 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks a lot Bethany. Happy you liked the photos and the post. smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Amisha Shukla 2 years, 6 months ago

#22superb pics !! I hope someday I too would be able to take such type of picsūüėÄ

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Amisha Shukla 2 years, 6 months ago

What a lovely compliment! Thank you very much ! smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Greg Blaney 2 years, 6 months ago

Heike, you've taken an amazing set of photos (and wonderful descriptions to inform the viewer). These heavy horses are magnificent animals - I always wonder how their owners can handle such huge beasts. You've really set the mood with your pictures. I feel like I'm right there with you. Thanks for sharing.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Greg Blaney 2 years, 6 months ago

Glad you liked it, Greg. I think, to handle this horses, you have to be as relaxed and friendly as they are. When the Hamburger girls reached the end of the one furrow, it seemed, that the horses didn't know, what to do, so the driver girl shoutet to them 'Turn around, turn around'. Immediately the plougher girl disciplined her 'Don't shout at them!' grinning  So I think, it's necessary to give them friendly commands, than they are doing whatever you want.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Russell Smith 2 years, 6 months ago

Quite a lot of horse power in these shots. It amazes me how the #28 The field looks better than if a tractor plowed it. Also I am glad to see that with the youth participation this is not a dying art .

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Russell Smith 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank for your comment Russell. They told me, that this way of plowing protects the ground and I can imagine that. It's always interesting, how old traditions find their way back. It's somehow reassuring to know that...

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
George Kunschman 2 years, 6 months ago

Well done! Lovely shots, and a great dialogue. I think it's amazing that the tradition is not dying off and the younger generation is involved! Thanks for sharing.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to George Kunschman 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks a lot, George ! Yes I was really happy to see, that this traditional way of farming seems to be attractive to younger generations. That gives hope...smiley

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Joe Zink 2 years, 6 months ago

Jeez, "Interessengemeinschaft Zugpferde "...it must be really hard to play Scrabble in Germany grinning

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Joe Zink 2 years, 6 months ago

Awful or? I can understand, when foreigners don't want to learn german. But it must be funny to hear how an english native speaker pronounce it. smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Joe Zink Replied to Heike 2 years, 6 months ago

But in the American game Scrabble, you only get to use 7 letters to make a word, but in Germany you have words like "Rindfleischetikettierungs√ľberwachungsaufgaben√ľbertragungsgesetz" smile¬†
And no, I can't pronounce it.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Joe Zink 2 years, 6 months ago

Sure, minimum once a day I use the word: 'Rindfleischetikettierungs√ľberwachungsaufgaben√ľbertragungsgesetz'.¬†smile smile

I played scrabble only once, and the couple I played with was seriously thinking about divorce during the game, because they never could agree whether the word their partner used really exist or not...

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Francesc 2 years, 6 months ago

Excellent horses set....Great document

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Francesc 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks a lot Francesc, glad you liked it! smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 2 years, 6 months ago

A great post,never seen a competition like that. Takes you back in time

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike Replied to Berckmans Peter 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Peter. I only heard about it by accident (my luck). grinning

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
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