Farmers step back in time to work fields with draft horses near Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Farmers step back in time to work fields with draft horses near Kamloops

The Ranch, a ranch in Pritchard, held a gathering of teams of drafts horses from Pritchard, Enderby and Armstrong on April 17, 2022.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Rachael Sdouts

Several teams of draft horses were spreading manure and harrowing a 160 acre farm in Pritchard this Easter long weekend.

Farmers from Pritchard, Enderby and Armstrong gathered for two days of fun at The Ranch in Pritchard, using their Percherons and Clydesdales to prepare the field.

This is the first time the teams gathered together, but it won’t be the last, as the owner of The Ranch, Ellen Hockley said it was so much fun, it will now be an annual spectacle.

“A small group got together to have fun,” she said. “I have some equipment here and some other guys brought manure spreaders. We don’t do it completely old fashioned, we used skid steers to load the manure spreaders instead of loading them by hand.”

Draft horses spreading manure on a ranch called The Ranch in Pritchard, April 17, 2022.
Draft horses spreading manure on a ranch called The Ranch in Pritchard, April 17, 2022.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Rachael Sdouts

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The group started on Good Friday, April 15, and spent Saturday and Sunday spreading manure and having fun in snow, wind, rain and sun.

“We are up on the end of a dead end road and not too many people knew it was happening,” Hockley said. “It was a spur of the moment thing. Next year we will let more people know ahead of time so they can come watch the horses work, it is an amazing sight to see.”

Hockley said some farmers in the area still do all their work using their draft horses, including logging, haying and plowing, while the majority stopped in the 1920s when tractors became more easily acquired.

Draft horses getting loaded up to spread manure on The Ranch, a ranch in Pritchard, on April 17, 2022.
Draft horses getting loaded up to spread manure on The Ranch, a ranch in Pritchard, on April 17, 2022.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Rachael Sdouts

The Ranch uses horses to provide commercial sleigh rides during the winter and to train new horse drivers, and is home to 50 head. Hockley said she thinks the horses are happy to work no matter what they are doing.

“They have to work to eat the grass we feed them,” she said. “They love it because they feel useful. We use our horses to harrow the pastures at least twice a year so our horses get exercised and our fields get raked.”

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Kamloops area photographer Rachael Sdoutz joined the fun gathering with her camera ready, and captured some incredible photographs. 

“I love photographing these horses and their drivers,” Sdoutz said. “First for the power and beauty but even more for the work and dedication that goes into making these horses do a job that has long been taken over by modern technology. There is a connection to history, hard work and other living beings that is palpable.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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