|Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.|
I was asked several questions about our horses, so I thought I would do a post on our horses and buggies. And please feel free to ask me your questions, and I will try and answer them.
Most of our horses come from horse adoption agencies. A while back a local adoption agency had to close a horse farm because the horses were not being taken care of. It was on television and Marilyn called us after she saw it on TV . We contacted the agency and found that they needed several people, like ourselves to take some of them in and care for them-they just didn't have the room for all the horses. David, myself and a few other farmers went to the agency to check the horses out. We ended up having three delivered to our farm for us to take care of. One of the horses was all brown with a black main and tail-that was my favorite. All the other farmers took some, also.
They had all been examined by the vet, but needed care-mostly to be fed correctly as they were all starving. We fed the horses, walked the horses, brushed the horses (hadn't been done for a long time), and more. Finally it came time to return them to the agency for adoption. They never got back to the agency-we bought all three of them. David trained two of them to pull a buggy. The brown one is a riding horse. It was trained before we got it. David, Michael and myself have ridden the brown horse. We are in the process of teaching Edward how to ride a horse.
As we had three buggy pulling horses, after David trained them, someone that lives near us needed one, so we sold it. Now we can use either of the horses for our buggy or both of them for our hauling buggy. Our riding horse is for us to ride. I haven't ridden it since my operation but David, Michael, Susan and now Edward ride it. I hope to be able to ride it soon. We have more people to ride than we do horses, so we are thinking of getting another riding horse.
Are our horses members of the family? Yes, I would say that they sure are. We take of them, they have names and when the times come to put them down Susan and I cry over them. It is hard on the men, too.
It seems that I have always known how to drive a buggy. The first I remember is sitting on my Grandfather's lap and holding the reins. I thought I was driving the buggy, but I wasn't. My grandfather firmly had the reins and was driving it. The first I remember driving was a small cart that we had. Either my Mother or Father were with me when I first drove it around our farm yard. I was about 7 or 8 when I first took the buggy out on the road. Again, one of my parents was with me.
When I was a year or two older I drove the cart on the road by myself to school and back, When I learned to drive the cart back and forth to school my parents taught me how to drive the bigger buggy. Again, they were with me. I was about 9 or 10 when I drove the big buggy alone. We are now teaching Susan to drive the cart. As we are close to the road we are teaching her on David's parents farm. It has more room off the road.
First buggy David owned was the courting buggy that his parents had made for him in Romulus, New York. There was a man there that made them. When we married our buggy was given to us by David's parents and they bought a new one from a man that makes them in Clyde, New York. We are going to have to get a bigger buggy as we have more people that room in our buggy. Some how we fit in-but room is very tight. David and Michael thought of making one, but with farming season we wouldn't get it made very fast.
Right now we are looking to buy a used bigger buggy. We change buggies like Englishers trade cars. Some people with a big buggy want a smaller one as their children have grown, married and left home. Then there are people like us that have a small buggy, but need a bigger one because we have more people in our home now. So we will buy a bigger buggy and sell our smaller one. Like I said, we would like to buy a used one as a new one is very expensive.
I hope this gives you more information about our horses and buggy.
Be With God, Jean