In the early 1900s, as southern Idaho pioneers built the area we now call home, “Up at dawn and down at dusk,” was more than just a saying – it was a way of life. Children would be rousted from their slumber to help work in the fields, plowing, planting, harvesting and whatever needed to be done. Keeping the farm alive was a family affair, and is a legacy that has built the area we now know and love. Agriculture has always been a way of life in southern Idaho, but long before the technological advances of later years were available, much of that work was done with the help of horses and mules.
The Southern Idaho Draft Horse and Mule Association work to ensure that the rich heritage of our area is not forgotten. The local association works to “preserve the art of using teams of draft horses and mules to pull wagons and to farm using horse drawn equipment.”
On April 23rd, the Association will host its annual Spring Planting Day. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will showcase what it took to build the Magic Valley, says member Eric Lee. Members will showcase how their teams of horses and mules helped plow and plant in the early pioneer days. Located at 1700 E. 4000 N. in Buhl, the event is open to the public, with free horse drawn wagon rides and a BBQ after the hard work is done. Guests are encouraged to bring a potluck dish and chairs and join in the fun.
Lee says the club has about 55 members, with 15-20 teams of animals. “It’s a great family-oriented club to share what we’ve learned about how the Magic Valley was built in the early 1900s,” he says. In existence for more than 20 years, the club has members varying in age from their early 20s to some in their 90s.
The association holds many events throughout the year, and many members are involved in public service, including rides for schools and churches, weddings, funerals and more. Lee says it’s always an honor to participate in funerals offering someone their “final ride.”
For more information on the Southern Idaho Draft Horse and Mule Association, or the April 23rd Spring Planting Day, Eric Lee may be contacted at 208-539-7080.