The Brabant, A Horse For the Working Man

Brabant At Work I am an equine photographer and one of my favorite breeds is the Brabant draught horse. This horse is tall and massive and made for work, yet has the most docile attitude of any breed of horse I have ever been around. Good thing with the size of their feet and body they could easily be the boss.

I live half of my life in Belgium with my husband who is from here (long story I will get into in later posts) but since I have been here I have taken thousands of photographs of these horses. I am  always looking for the next event or gathering of the men that are trying to keep the tradition of working with horses alive. I seen them plow fields, log in the woods, pull caravans, fish in the ocean, cut hay, and just be the babysitter in the family. Pound for pound you get your moneys worth with these gentle giants.

Recently my husband read me an article in the local paper ( I would have read it myself but it is in dutch) the article stated how the government is subsidizing the farmers who are breeding these horses because their popularity is falling off and they want to preserve this original Belgium breed. They are paying 125 euros  for each foal born. The numbers are dropping today I suspect because of modern life. Computers are a lot cheaper to feed.

This is the governments way of hoping to keep the breed from becoming extinct or low numbers as they did when they shipped many off to the US after the war.

The Brabant comes in a variety of colors from sorrel, bay, blue and red roan, their feet are feathered with long hair, that can cause them problems here in all the moisture and sand.  They use to dock their tails but now they have passed a law against it. Some of the old farmers do not agree, but that is another post.

I ride my bike around our small village and know where every Brabant horse is in the area lives and have taken many photos of them at some time or another.

Photographing horses is a passion I have since I have moved from my passion to owning and showing them.  But I must admit the Brabant along with the Ardennes breed has become my favorites to photograph. I love these horses, and hope to have one in my back pasture one day. That's if  I ever quit traveling.

There Are Differences Between Us

I was thinking this morning about all the differences between people who live remote and people who live in cities and towns. Besides the obvious of the size of our property or what type of transportation we drive there are some little things that get overlooked. I suppose the first thing would be fashion or style. I am sure you in town folks think that many country people have no style, which I must say few of us do think about it much. We do not look forward to the latest fashion magazine, we are more interested in when the seed catalogs are going to arrive in our mailbox.

We could care less about designer jeans or the latest color, we shop your leftovers at the Goodwill store because most likely those jeans are going to get caught in barbed wire by the afternoon.

We do not have to decide between flats or heels today, more like rubber boots or work shoes.

Are meals do not look like they came out of a 5 star restaurant, they consist of meat, potatoes and vegetables dug out of the garden, a meal that can feed and satifiy a working man.

You will seldom see us in pet stores buying doggy coats, beds, or retractable leashes, our dog live outside, grow their own coats, and come when they are called. They also are quite talented at dodging an oncoming tractor or a kick from a flying horse hoof.

Our cats are just as beautiful as most, but have never seen a can of fancy feast, or have exotic cat toys, they eat what we give them and are always busy chasing the mice around the barn or stalking the birds at the bird feeder.

We seldom visit the dry cleaners, our clothes are usually hanging on the clothes line in the back yard, and we all love the person who invented permanent press material.

I know on occasion we run into you at  a variety of events and we always try to dress up with what ever we have in our closet, and you can be sure we have checked to make sure our shoes have no manure on them when we enter a room. But we can feel your stares at our fashion choices and we have grown use to the snickers behind our backs. But then again we know what your thinking because we have had the same thoughts when you announce that you didn't realize that milk and eggs did not come from the grocery store.

Here are some photos I took of some country people in Belgium enjoying a day together last fall.