Pulling Together

There were six horse teams at the National Ploughing Championships at Thornbury, Southland, New Zealand. These are the four horse teams that I haven’t yet featured in my posts. Photos taken when we attended on Saturday 14 April.

Two-Horse team resting. The ploughman has left for a short break.


The Six-Horse team has finished a furrow and they now need to execute a turn in order to cross their site and then plough a furrow back to the far end of the field. Turning requires a lot of co-ordination when there’s six horses involved, and it looks a bit like a dance when they do it, all side-stepping neatly together.

The names of the six horses are Logan, Ceri, Ben, Tom, Bella and Sam. They pull a Boothmac three furrow plough manufactured in NZ in the early 1920’s.



A Four-Horse team is resting – they’ve just finished a furrow. The driver gets them going again and they move across their site to get in position to pull the plough back up to the far end. I just managed to get a shot of the driver on the plough, very poor but you can see that the driver is working both the horses and the plough.




Another Four-Horse team is pulling their plough in a turn so that they can work their way back up to the far end of the field. The shot of the plough is slightly better this time.



Text by Liz; first photo by Nigel, other photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)


9 thoughts on “Pulling Together

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  1. Benjamin and I are in agreement here : “WOW!” His favorite is the 4 horses pulling the plough with the driver. It must take quite a bit of co-ordination to manage 4 or 6 horses and the plough. I would imagine that it takes some time training the 6 horses to pull and turn together too. Both of us have enjoyed the National Ploughing Championship photos. Thank-you x 2!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very happy you and Benjamin have both enjoyed these posts. Its really wonderful to see that there are people willing to put in the effort to look after and train the horses, and work them in the old way, and keep the skills alive.


  2. don’t know much about agricultur in NZ, what is the background to have this horse ploughing competition? I though developed country like yours using machine for agricultural.

    we are in Prambanan, Yogyakarta we use machine tractor for ploughing now. the farmer used to have cow to plough their land. not anymore. govt gave kind of loan or cooperative sytem to use machine for the farmer group.

    love to see the hair in the foot of the horse. kind of cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The horses are just part of this competition, there are also three different categories of tractor ploughing. Most work on NZ farms is done using machinery.
      But some people own draft horses – the heavy horses that can do this sort of work, and train them to pull the plough. Its important not to lose the old skills and to keep the old breeds that can do the work. Some of these horses do other work too like pulling wagons.
      I’m sure the people who compete enjoy the challenge of competing with other teams, and spectators like me love to watch the work being done the old way with the animals.
      When oil runs out the old ways of doing things may become very important once again!


    1. I can guess at the answer Ellen. While I know nothing about the technicalities of horse ploughing you’ll notice in my text that these horses are pulling a three-furrow plough. The two horse team I posted about the other day were pulling a single-furrow plough. So the six-horse team is completing three furrows in one pass of the field compared to the two-horse team doing one furrow in one pass.

      Liked by 1 person

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