‘Horses stopped at gate from full gallop’

From our January 2013 issue

By John Olech – Peterborough, Ont.

We farmed section 15, 640 acres and the north half section 16, 320 acres. The northwest quarter was in a wheat crop and the southwest quarter was in a oat crop and the east half was last year stubble so we were summer fallowing here.

This all took place during the war years. My oldest brother got called up to the army. I also got called up for the services but was postponed until further notice because father had a very bad ulcerated stomach and couldn’t work.

One day I was ploughing with a two-furrow gang plough on the east half. When my shadow fell straight behind me that told me that it was noon. I always unhooked the horses and walked them home to get watered and fed.

I saw that the plough shears weren’t ploughing properly so I decided to take the plough home and change the shears with new ones while the horses were fed.

I was riding the plough along the top of this steep hill. Along the side were poplar trees. The singletree of the right-hand horse caught a root of a dried poplar tree that was about 10-feet tall and threw it on top of the four horses. They all took off on a full gallop.

A short distance away was a 90-degree turn downhill. As I came to the turn the plough started to lift to the right I expected that I was going to flip over with the plough, but as the horses were going full gallop downhill, the plough righted itself onto its wheels.

From the bottom of the hill, the elevation was about 45-degrees to the gate. I envisioned us going through the three-wire fence, however, the horses stopped at the gate from a full gallop.

On the way back to the field I made sure that we stayed a good distance from the trees.