our work horse
Artù is the name we have given an important co-worker in our fields. Our Comtois-breed draught horse was once again an essential part of our olive and grape harvests this year.This docile horse has incredible strength. He is ideal because he lets us work either uphill or downhill, even when the ground is wet.
Artù’s assistance in the fields, including when we need to bring the crates of olives or grapes to the winery, prevents the need to use a tractor and breathe exhaust fumes while harvesting olives or grapes.
Artù, like all Comtois horses, was bred to work in steep, narrow and cramped settings, which is exactly the type of environment where our vines and olive trees are planted.
Even though these powerful, intelligent animals are less common on farms than they were 50 years ago, work horse breeds like the Comtois still exist.
Specifically, the Comtois was bred in France, in the region of Franche-Comte, which borders the Canton of Jura in Switzerland. Frequently, due to low demand, animals that are not physically perfect are sent to slaughter, given that even as colts they are very large and heavy!
Artù is one of these horses. Fortunately for him (and for us), he was saved.
We were able to save him thanks to an organization that operates in Italy (Vigone, Province of Turin) called SAVE THE WORKING HORSE (www.saveworkinghorse.it). We also trained him, thanks to Tony and Micky (www.estanciaditonyemiky.it), preparing him to work in the fields and allowing us to enjoy long rides through the area on his back.
It is a joy to work side by side with an animal like Artù. His sure footedness as he places his powerful hooves on the ground to climb a hill while carrying crates of grapes is a simple given.
No tractor or farm equipment is as high-performance, useful, environmentally-friendly or affectionate as our Artù.
We can say without exaggeration that watching Artù today as he moves gracefully (and believe me, it’s not easy for an 800 kg horse) among the hills in the Marches fills us with joy.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us in this truly touching and enjoyable project.