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Sunset on Ridgewind Farm in Floyd County

Taking the Best of the Past to Make a Better Future! When asked to write a short story and submit photos about animals for their livelihood and survival. This history is important to a farmer that decides which animals what we do, my first thought was, how can all the things we do with our horses be combined in a short piece. Fortunately, we were able to to husband. Making new history with the horses today is the most include some photos because they tell a thousand words at a glance important reason we have this breed, because they are the best horses and that at least saves some writing and illustrates the experiences to help with the work we choose to do. Our small farm produces the Suffolk Punch foals and trained horses as a primary product, but beyond text. For over thirty years we’ve been raising, keeping and working the work that the horses do for us, is the function that follows the Suffolk Punch Draft Horses on Ridgewind Farm in Copper Hill, form of this breed both physically and mentally. We use our horses Virginia, in northeast Floyd County. Although I have been the in an integrated power system with tractors to produce some of their forage and grain. We grow hay, oats and primary person involved, nothing I’ve done grow open pollinating, non GMO corn for with our horses would have been possible our horses, with the help of our horses. We without my family, friends, neighbors and also make a large garden and raise some the community. In this reality the horses are specialty crops such as sorghum. The most “our” horses in a very real way. income producing work the horses do for The Suffolk Punch is one of the oldest us is logging. Not just pulling logs out of the and rarest of the major draft breeds in the woods, but being the ultimate low impact world. They originated during the 1500’s in overland extraction method for our specific Suffolk County of England where the land form of restorative forestry. is fertile and flat, much like the plains of the Restorative Forestry is imitating nature U.S. and served as the bread basket of the Draftwood Specialty and selecting trees on a “worst first” basis. country for hundreds of years. This breed Forest Products, Black Locust Decking. The forest improves rapidly when the was developed to tend that land and work low quality, damaged, diseased and poor the heavy clay soils of the region and earned performing trees are removed. This is a the name of “the horse in the furrow”. They surgical type of forest management and is have been selected exclusively for farm work precisely where the Suffolk Punch horses for hundreds of years and many generations. excel. They are able to remove the trees ripe They are a plain horse, always chestnut or for harvesting, while protecting the most red in color with nothing fancy about them. productive trees from logging damage. The They have very few white markings or long impact on forest soil is minimum. The result hair like the Clydesdale or Shire, but have is an improved forested resource, protected similar very thick and powerful bodies. The water quality and a beautiful aesthetic Suffolk Punch efficiency and movement is Imported English woodland. It is the hard way, doesn’t make the guiding influence in their confirmation Suffolk Punch Stallion standing the most money quickly, but over the long of body shape and type. They are the second stud at Ridgewind run, will make the most money from sites oldest registered breed of horses in the world, Suffolk Farm in Copper Hill, Va. that will remain forested for the long term. next to the thoroughbred, by only a few years. The horses are the perfect power source for Our experience is that the most important thing about these horses is not visible at a glance but this work and they love doing it, just like a border collie likes to herd understood by horsemen as their disposition or mind. They are the and a coon dog likes to hunt. It’s what they do. This short story wouldn’t be complete without listing all the easiest horses to work and train, which is also a result of hundreds of years of selective breeding by people that actually depended on these public activities our horses are a central part of. We work with a public

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Fall/Winter 2014-15

F2014 floydmagazine  

Floyd Virginia Magazine is a small town publication designed, published and distributed by four talented individuals. Publisher, Luis Garcia...

F2014 floydmagazine  

Floyd Virginia Magazine is a small town publication designed, published and distributed by four talented individuals. Publisher, Luis Garcia...

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