Monday, June 1, 2020
Nineteen-month-old Maddox Anderson and his grandmother Coleen Peterson say hello to a couple of beautiful Belgian horses that came to the Jeff Witt farm of rural Blooming Prairie.

Turning up dirt the old-time way

It's like not being able to wake up from a dream that takes you back in history to years past.

That's what it seemed like last Saturday for many motorists who traveled by the Jeff Witt farmstead on Highway 218, just about seven miles south of Blooming Prairie.

After cool and rainy weather cancelled out some old-time farming practices a year ago, Jeff Witt and His father Ivan were intent on having the farm history recounted with some horse plowing. Jeff Witt has 140 farmable acres just west of Highway 218.

An invitation went out to Bob Johnson of Sauk Rapids to bring two of his Belgian horses to the Witt farm. They also sent an invite out to Mike Berthuime of Rockford, and to Lisa Ringer of Long Lake to bring their six black Shire horses to the Witt farm.

Johnson hitched his two Belgian horses, Frank and Gus, to a one-bottom plow. Don Copa shares in the ownership of the Belgians.

The six-horse Shire team owned by Berthuime and Ringer pulled a two-bottom gang plow.

Both teams of horses showed that they had done this work before and done it well. 

"Isn't this fun to see!" Ivan Witt exclaimed.

Little Maddox Anderson, 19 months, was enthralled by the size of the Belgian horses and got a chance to pet Frank and Gus, with the help of his grandmother, Coleen Peterson.

The Belgian Heavy Draft horse stands between 16.2 and 17 hands (66 and 68 inches, 168 and 173 cm). 

Wikipedia says on average the Belgian grows to weigh slightly over 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds). Most American Belgians are a light chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. The head is relatively small and well-shaped. American Belgians in North America are not as large as the European Brabant but are of a similar build, Wikipedia states.

The Shire, Wikipedia says, is a British breed of draught horse. It is usually black, bay, or grey. It is a tall breed, and Shires have at various times held world records both for the largest horse and for the tallest horse. 

The horses were taken off stage on Sunday, Oct. 21, and enter some old tractors, which were used to finish some plowing on the Witt farm.

The plowing of farm fields has most recently been replaced by modern tilling practices which can be seen by touring the four surrounding counties of Steele, Dodge, Mower and Freeborn.

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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