Mae and June, the draft horses on loan from True Love Holsteins farm in North Rupert, make a pretty sight here at the farm.
These ladies are not just for show, they are also here to help out Merck Forest’s working farmscape. This winter, the team of Belgians will help pull the sleighs. While the sources differ on how much weight a team of Belgians can pull, it seems relatively safe to say that a draft team similar in weight and size to these two pretty ladies can pull at least twice their weight (so, if Mae and June each weigh close to 2,000lbs, they can each pull 4,000lbs individually, and 8,000lbs total as a team).
That makes the sleigh rides seem like a cinch, even the group sleigh weighted down with 12 people wrapped up under wool blankets. Our horses, Ellie and Daisy, and these newcomers, are shod with winter shoes, which give the horses better stability on snowy slopes. Their thick winter coats are extremely warm, and if the horses do sweat during a sleigh ride, they will be given good care so as to ensure they do not cool down too quickly.