At least one of the comments on one of my Christmas posts made me start to think about horses. The post isn't going out of my mind even if it's past Christmas.
The person said they would like to have a Christmas sleigh ride. I imagine people who want a sleigh ride at Christmas are thinking about lively horses and fancy sleighs.
However my sleigh rides were not of the fancy kind.
The Canadian prairies suffered more than most areas during the 30's. The depression was bad enough but then there was a drought that went along with the depression.
So we were still using horses until after the second world war. We didn't have enough money to buy tractors in the 30's. We couldn't buy tractors during the war and couldn't buy gas so the horse was important and used until after the war. .
The horses used were not the huge draft horses. They were known as the prairie horse. They weighed about 1000lbs and were willing workers. They were easy to keep. When the harvest was over most of these horses were turned out and let loose for the winter. These horses were able to find food and were able to get enough water from the snow. About 50% of the area was not developed so they could paw the snow back and get at the native grass. There were also straw stacks from the harvest that they could use but the straw was not that nutritious. Horses know what's good for them.
Roads were not kept open in the winters. There wasn't antifreeze at that time for cars. We didn't have snow removal equipment so we used horses to get us to town in the winter.
These were the same tough little horses we used to get to our cousins for Christmas. We didn't have fancy sleds. We used a heavy farm sleigh with a grain box on the sleigh. We used them to get from one place to another. It wasn't fancy. It was tough as it was cold.
I can't find my photo of Queenie and Daisy who were the last horses we had on the farm.
For some of you this will make no sense at all. This was agriculture on the Canadian prairie. It was tough but, the people who survived were proud.