“Tom” is a 4-year-old bay-colored gelding, and “Jeb” is an 11-year-old chestnut gelding. All indications so far are that these horses are perfect gentlemen—they are well-trained and get along well with the other horses.
Tom and Jeb weigh 1,500 to 1,600 pounds each, which is slightly smaller that Jack, Chester, Bill, and Jess, Howell Farm’s other workhorses, who weigh 1,700 pounds and up. It was always the opinion of Halsey Genung, Howell Farm’s first horseman, that these slightly smaller horses were more historically accurate to a 1900s farmstead. Their smaller sizes made them good all-purpose horses—they could perform farm work, serve as driving horses, and also be ridden.
The new team is taking the place of Barney and Mac, who spent many years pulling a walking plow at Howell Farm. Now aging into their mid-twenties, the inseparable pair will spend their retirement roaming the pastures of a horse farm in Andover, New York. Old horses heading “out to the pasture” might sound like a euphemism, but in this case it’s really true. Howell Farm director Pete Watson and Howell Farm historical farmer Jeremy Mills recently took the ride upstate with Barney and Mac and delivered them to Jim and Dana Kruser at Greenwood Hill Farm. It was a reunion of old friends. (When Jim and Dana were Howell Farm volunteers from 1995 to 2001, Barney and Mac were the horses they used to drive carriage rides for weekend visitors.)