Farmer remains hands-on at 79

April 26, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Charles Lindsay says he loves his Belgians because they are gentle, easy to train and nice to be around.

"I don't know what I'd do without my horses," the 79-year-old southern Franklin County farmer said. "Besides, I like riding behind nice rumps."

Lindsay has been living on the same farm on McDowell Road near Greencastle since he was 9 months old. "At least that's when they told me I came here. I don't remember it."


Belgian work horses have been part of his life ever since. "My granddaddy had 'em, my daddy had 'em and now I got 'em," he said.

He used to do serious farming with his horses. Now he hitches them to old time farm equipment for fun, but he still takes his Belgians seriously. He hitched three of them to a farm rig Thursday and paraded around his fields.

Horses and teamster seemed to enjoy the outing.

Lindsay breeds, raises, trains and sells Belgians. "I got 11 now. The oldest is 21, the youngest is 10 days old," he said.

Lindsay and his Belgians have been seen at many Tri-State area events - from fairs to horse shows to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, Pa. His teams have pulled rigs in wagon trains that often cross through the region in the summer. They've also pulled sleds at horse-pulling contests, although Lindsay said he doesn't have that much enthusiasm for the event. "I've pulled at a few," he said.

Donald Metz, a friend, neighbor and protg of Lindsay, said Lindsay is one of only a few people left in the area who can drive a six-horse team with a single set of reins. He drove the three horses Thursday with a single line.

"There aren't many left around who can still do it," Lindsay said.

One of his favorite events takes place Saturday at the Silver Star Saddle Club grounds just a few hundred yards beyond Lindsay's driveway on McDowell Road.

It's the 2002 Pennsylvania Draft Horse and Mule Association Hands-on Working Field Day. It's also the date and site of the organization's semi-annual dinner meeting.

Lindsay is one of its oldest active members. He said he joined in the mid-1950s.

Registration runs from 8 to 9 a.m. followed by three hours of demonstrations of horse-drawn farming practices from plowing, discing and harrowing to harnessing teams, to driving carts. There will be lessons in how to braid manes and tails, too.

Donna Zinn of Newville, Pa., is on the association's board of directors. She said the organization has about 200 members.

She said horse and mule owners from several states will participate in Saturday's events.

The event is free to the public, but parking is $2 a car.

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