Getting ready for Horse Progress Days

John Henry Yoder is expecting over 130 vendors to set up booths at Horse Progress Days next week.

The 19th annual event will be held at Gateway Acres, the Alvin Yoder farm on Colonville Road June 29 and 30.

“The vendors will all be related to farm equipment and farm supplies,” John Henry said. The venders will set up in the field nearest the front of the property. The first of two tents, a 40 foot by 60 foot canopy, will hold 20 booths and the second tent 60 foot by 150 feet long will hold 36 booths. In addition 50 to 60 booths will be set up outside in the same area.

Some of the venders include equipment for horses, feed minerals, fertilizer, seeds, harnesses, outdoor furnaces, heating stoves, shoes and health products. There will also be solar powered equipment for electricity and water pumps.

In addition four food tents and several food wagons will be at the site with everything from homemade ice cream to barbecued ribs and chicken sandwiches available. “All of the money raised through the food sales will help support the five Amish area schools,” John Henry said.

Sam Miller is in charge of the food wagons, he added.

A wide variety of venders is only a small part of Horse Progress Days. The event will feature displays and demonstrations of ways to farm with horses, and a long list of seminars about care and feeding of animals, raising crops, organic farming, dairy technologies, orchard care and even bee keeping.

Besides hosting the event, Alvin Yoder is in charge of the general equipment. “We will be setting up on Wednesday and Thursday next week,” he said, “and testing equipment on Thursday. All of the equipment will be demonstrated with ‘horse power’. For some people this will be a step back in time,” he said. “For others it will be a leap forward.” He said they are expecting two ladies from Africa, one with the Food Resource Bank and one a farmer. “We want to make people aware of what they can do to improve their farming skills and how to be more self-sufficient,” he said, “to be able to feed their families.”

Horses, of course, are needed to pull the equipment and someone has to manage them.

Horse Wrangler Mose Yoder and a crew of three will help arrange a series of horse demonstrations and match up horses with the equipment. “We will have about 100 draft horses plus donkeys, ponies, draft ponies and even oxen,” he said.

Breed presentations will be held Friday evening at 6 p.m. and on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. “We will have a Belgian six horse hitch, two Halflingers (small Belgians), a six horse Percheron hitch team, spotted draft horses, a Shire team, a Suffolk team, donkey and mule teams and even a pair of oxen and even a six horse spotted mini pony hitch.

Different styles of hitches featured will include Unicorn (two horses in back and one in front) Dutch harness horses, and a four-horse team of Fjord horses.

Mose will also handle nine shuttle wagons with teams to bring people from the parking area to the events. He also was Horse Wrangler when the Horse Progress Days was held in Clare in 2006. A farmer for 34 years and now semi-retired, Mose raises colts.