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Horses Heads and Fly Chaser Harness


Horses Heads and Fly Chaser Harness.jpg

Dave and I were eager to get to the 2009 Elgin County Plowing Match. Everyone was looking forward to hosting the 2010 International Plowing Match here in Elgin County and this was like a dress rehearsal. All kinds and ages of tractors, horses and plowmen showed up to strut there stuff and show off their tractors, equipment and teams of horses. One plowman, Ken Laing, from Sparta was there with his light Suffolk Punch draft horses and what drew everyone’s attention was the very unique harness on the horses. Besides the regular harness there were thin strings of harness hanging down the sides of each horse. When questioned, Ken explained it was a method of keeping the flies at bay. Every time the horse shivered or moved a muscle these thin strips of leather vibrated and chased away the flies. What a creative approach to pest control. Orchard Hill Farm is a small (80 acre) organic farm powered by Suffolk Punch draft horses, established in 1979 by Ken and Martha Laing, located on a ridge northwest of the village of Sparta (Ontario, Canada), near the north shore of Lake Erie. The farm is tended to by Ken and Martha Laing, and seasonal apprentices who come to learn skills related to organic farming and gardening, and how to work with and drive heavy horses. Martha is the sixth generation of her family to steward this land. Currently, the farm produces vegetables and small fruits for around 200 families in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) garden, grain and hay for eight Suffolks.  Ken and Martha also raise and train Suffolk horses to sell, and offer three day Draft Horse Workshops to teach people about working with horses. They aim to reduce the use of petroleum products on the farm by the use of the Draft Horse (also called Work Horse or Heavy Horse). For more information about Ken his farm please contact him at:     Orchard Hill Farm – Ken and Martha Laing (519) 775-2670 –

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