During recent weeks our family TV viewing in the evening includes a YouTube program entitled WORKING HORSES WITH JIM – favorite and nostalgic episodes about a farmer in upstate New York using two pair of draft horses to farm his land.

Jim raises a mix of beefers along with associated family and fodder plots and including active local timbering and a related sawmill works where he pulls and mills his own logs and also contracts labor and services for nearby clients, many including a community of Amish families – and where a local bartering system is still a necessary neighborhood way of life during these confusing times.

Why we are so drawn to this program centers around our admiration for the large and gentle draft horses and the close relationship associated with those working horses and their knowledgeable owner.

Our Dad worked with large draft horses here in the local Ten Mile River Watershed and we enjoyed many a carefree open air wagon ride through the streets of Attleboro and I recall three locations where the horses were called upon to display their pulling power beyond the call of duty.

The wonder of it all was being a wide-eyed youthful passenger with literal hind-sight and watching the anatomical back ends of those amazing animals pulling us and the wagon and related farm gear up and over a few steep grades here in Attleboro.

These extreme pulls included the old odd-angled east grade of the Thacher Street Bridge and the canted grades of the old Lindsay Street bridge, both bridges main rail crossings. And the other steep maneuver included a tricky hairpin turn from our pitched Thurber Farm driveway – and a hard right inclined turn up and immediately over the old Thurber Avenue rail bridge. 

No symphonic hall has ever contained the percussive beat of the cadenced thumping of heavy-horse-hoofed echoes struck on old wooden bridge decks.

No other melodic tempo exists in our world – and we attended those concerts admission free. And we cheered the victory each time our skilled driving-conductor  coaxed those gentle giants as they pulled us over and beyond dangerous and challenging grades, thus our current family admiration for WORKING HORSES WITH JIM.

Watch and you may understand our wonder.

Don Doucette

“Ten Mile River Rambles”

Friends of the Ten Mile and Bucklin Brook