Suffolk Draft Horse Farming

Guide to the Suffolk draft horse bred for work on the American farm, includes information on farming capabilities and physical strength of Suffolk horses, and a photograph detailed with draft horse attributes.

| July/August 1987

Real horse power on the American farm means the Suffolk draft horse. (See the Suffolk draft horse chart and horse photos in the image gallery).

Suffolk Draft Horse Farming

"Come up, gentlemen," says Jason Rutledge. The two red draft horses heave forward into their collars. The field cultivator—called a rear-end wiggler—lurches into motion.

Rutledge proceeds into the cornfield, drawn unerringly down the rows by two Suffolk Punch geldings. As each tautly muscled leg moves and plants a round hoof in the soil, it presses 1,600 pounds into the ground. A prodigiously powerful step, but delicate as these things are measured.

Rutledge holds the reins firm. "You've gotta stay in touch with a draft horse all the time," he says, and they move quietly through the cornfield while Rutledge tells them how well they're doing. Three thousand feet up on Copper Hill in the mountains south of Roanoke, Virginia, where he lives with his wife. Sally, and two youngsters, Rutledge "orders up" all of his 76 acres with these chestnut horses. It is quiet on the mountain, and the team, plodding through the cornfield, evokes idyllic memories, old photographs, times gone by.

But Rutledge will have none of that.

"I don't want to give the impression that I'm a complete eccentric," he says as the draft horses stop for a breather. "These animals have a place on the modern farm. Look down there."

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard