Saturday, July 10, 2010
All In the Name of Progress
Last week I had the opportunity to spend a day at Horse Progress Days in Topeka, IN. Okay, so it may not quite be on the same plain as the upcoming Word Equestrian Games, but it is a pretty fun event. It is traditionally the Friday and Saturday before the 4th of July. The event draws in excess of 10,000 people each day. The idea behind Horse Progress Days is to showcase innovations revolving around the use of horses in agriculture. Because of that, the annual event has a strong Amish influence.
There are not a lot of places you can go anymore to see a hitch of 18 horses pulling a 4 bottom plow, or a hitch of four abreast baling hay, or a team dragging a 30 foot log. Horse Progress Days is the place that affords those opportunities. There are also many seminars throughout the day on draft horse related topics. Attendees also are give the opportunity to drive a team of horses, regardless of past experience. Of course there is also a large trade show of numerous vendors showcasing anything and everything related to draft horse and farming with horses. The highlight of the event is the breed presentation at the end of the day. This showcase gives all those is attendance a brief history and demonstration of almost all breeds used for draft, including some light horses, like Morgans, Arabians, Saddlebreds, Dutch Harness horses, and pretty much all of the draft breeds- even the fairly uncommon ones.
The ‘homemade’ ice cream is always a crowd favorite. The reason I put ‘homemade’ in quotes is that, as you can see in the picture below, the people in the tent are tending to the ice cream machine being powered by horse on a treadmill, and the dozen or so empty boxes of GFS soft serve ice cream mix!
This really is a fun, family friendly event that gives the opportunity to see how farming with horses really works. Next year’s event is in Lancaster, PA. For more info check out horseprogressdays.com