Like ghosts from the past

By David F. Rooney

Ghosts of the past were brought to life at the Selkirk Saddle Club on Friday morning as Dan Boltwood and Barry Ozero harnessed their four huge Percheron horses to a century-old steel plough and began preparing a field for hay planting this spring.

“Once upon a time this would have been a common sight on the Prairies,” Ozero said. “Not any more.”

He and Boltwood are planning on using a team of horses to plough, disc and harrow the field at the west end of the Saddle Club grounds this week. They planned on having all of the ploughing done today (Friday, April 9), with Ozero doing the discing this coming week.

Here are some images of the two men with their plough horses at work:

Dan Boltwood (left) adjusts the harness on one of the four Percheron he and Barry Ozero (right) are using to plough, disc and harrow a field at the Selkirk Saddle Club grounds. David F. Rooney photo
As big as they are the four heavy horses, Diamond, Granite, Len and Hero, are tractable and obedient animals, especially Ozero's team, Granite and Diamond who are seven years old. The other two are just four. David F. Rooney photo
One of the boys was very curious about the camera and was not at all shy about having his picture taken. David F. Rooney photo
Seated in the metal seat of his antique steel plough, Dan Boltwood prepares to give the team of four horses their marching orders. David F. Rooney photo
Sights like this — working animals ploughing a field — were once common in rural Canada but are now rare as hen's teeth. David F. Rooney photo
According to Barry Ozero, who will be discing the field next week, the Saddle Club will seed the field with hay. David F. Rooney photo
Blue sky breaks and Friday morning's snow vanishes as Dan Boltwood rides his plough into the distance. David F. Rooney photo