Up close with the gentle giants

The early days of Vermont agriculture, when horsepower was really horse power, will live again in the fields of historic Shelburne Farms as draft horse teams and their drivers gather for the annual Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day on Saturday, July 28.

From 11 am to 2 pm there will be demonstrations of traditional farming methods and a chance to admire the Percherons, Clydesdales, Shires, Belgians and other breeds that some Vermont farmers are using to do work – from logging and sugaring to plowing, planting, harvesting, and spreading manure.

The Field Day is an easy walk from the Welcome Center at Shelburne Farms, and will also be a drop-off point for the regular shuttle between the Welcome Center and the Farm Barn. The Field Day is a casual day with lots of opportunities to meet the farmers who use draft animals on their home farms and for innovative work off the farm.

There will also be horse-drawn hayrides, and demonstrations using draft horses to pull logs and move huge round bales. An antique threshing machine powered by a tractor will separate the grain from the straw of oats that were harvested using an antique reaper binder pulled by draft horses in anticipation of the Field Day program.

There will be food for sale at the site of the Field Day demonstrations.

Admission to the Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day is free with admission to the Shelburne Farms property: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children 3 to 17, free for members of Shelburne Farms and children under 3. This includes use of the many miles of walking trails on the property, visits to the Children’s Farmyard and watching cheese being made in the Farm Barn.

For information call (802) 985-8686.

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