Days gone by

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

Just take a look at this handsome team of Belgian Draft Horses [see photo right] as they wait their turn for a go at the stone boat. I really like the old-style draft horse types with the stocky necks, wide chests and big butts. I like the higher tail set, also, and not the goose rumps commonly seen on today’s draft stock. These two look nice and hingey at the poll and are really beefy looking all-around.

This shot was taken several years ago when I was at the annual Conneautville Homecoming Days, at the draft horse pull event.

The Springboro and Conneautville areas have long been noted for draft horses and draft horse farms.

The Shadeland Stock Farm was quite famous back in its day, and was home to draft horses, Thoroughbreds, sheep and cows. It was featured in the March 1882 edition of “The Western Rural,” which spoke about the cleanliness and elegance of the farm and the honorable natures of the gentlemen who owned it.

The three Powell Brothers are listed as advertizing in “The Ohio Farmer” (1) and standing the imported Clydesdale Stallion, “Prince of the Machars.” (2)

Trains pulled into Conneautville on a daily basis, and the Erie Extension Canal added to the transportation of goods, people and animals.

Sadly, the Shadeland Manor House was burned in a controlled atmosphere by the local fire departments years ago due to safety concerns.

Sadly, Conneautville Homecoming Days have been canceled, due to lack of help.

Looks like they have gone the way of the do-do bird, the ‘69 Z Camero, pure silver coins and a lot of other great things that ain’t never comin’ back.

Passenger trains coming into the Conneautville area are also a thing of the past as is the Erie Extension Canal.

Perhaps the plodding sounds of ghost mules that hauled lumber, coal and hay can still be heard on long, hot nights during the Dog Days of summer, along with the lonely, mournful echoes of train whistles or the excited cries of Civil War soldiers returning from the battlefields down south.

Take a long, slow sip of lemonade and ponder these things from days gone by to the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1: The Breeder’s Gazette, 1922

2: The Western Rural, March, 1882