26 December 2010

Dick Sparrow RIP

Some people are famous in small circles. I suppose Dick Sparrow was one of them. I read about him many years ago back when I subscribed to the Draft Horse Journal. His obituary in the Des Moines Register pretty sums up the most tangible result of his tact, timing, talent, and experience:

"Elmer R.'Dick' Sparrow, 1929-2010: Zearing Farmer Hitched up 40-Horse Team"

A photo of Sparrow driving a forty horse hitch accompanies the obit, but this one from the Draft Horse Journal is more spectacular.

As if that weren't enough, Sparrow went on to put together a forty-eight horse hitch that got him his Guinness World Record.

I'm sorry I never saw him drive. I'm also sorry so few people have even a remote clue how difficult driving even one horse is.

03 December 2010

Trees and the Forest

When the Obama Christmas tree was delivered by horse to the White House, it struck me as a pleasant but contrived photo-op because the delivery was made by a carriage company, and they haul people, not trees, although obviously they are willing to make exceptions.

On the other hand, when Prince Charles received his tree, the message was far more motivational. The story "Horse Power Delivers Charles's Christmas Tree" says,

Charles has been a supporter of the working horse industry for a number of years and met Ella [the Percheron mare pulling the cart] a few years ago when he visited Cornwall to learn about the work of Mr Joiner, [the driver] who is a professional logger and woodland manager.

There are logging horses working the in the US as well. So, while I liked the horse delivery to the White House, I would have liked it better had the horses actually represented the non-luxury, non-decorative working horses still functioning today in the US.

Oh well. At least there were horses.