Bob and Duke were our first work horses. My dad had hired a friend to run hayrides on the farm for a few fall seasons, but he decided he wanted to get his own team. Bob and Duke were Dapple Gray Percherons, and they were also full brothers. Duke was the older brother and they had been a team ever since Bob was born a year later. They were 6 and 7 when we got them. Dapple Gray Percherons are unique because they are born very dark and their dappled color is the process of turning white as they age. My dad always says they are born black and die white.
Bob, Duke, my dad, horse-trader Chubby holding the reins, my brother Jonathan, and me in purple and pink
I was in fifth grade when we got Bob and Duke, and I can remember being so excited. I’m sure my fifth grade class got sick of hearing about my new horses. I remember my dad building the hayride wagon, pictured above, and we eventually painted it white and green. The process of harnessing the horses and hitching them to the wagon seemed to take forever when I wanted to go for a hayride.
Bob, led by my grandfather Pa Rose, Duke, led by my dad and ridden by my brother Jonathan
From the very beginning, Jonathan, Nathaniel and I adored Bob and Duke. We would occasionally ride them, but only if my dad was leading, since they had not been trained for riding and we didn’t yet know wagon commands.
Duke, the big brother and the powerhouse of the team
I remember how much the kids who visited our farm loved to go on hayrides, and I felt especially lucky that Bob and Duke were mine. Over the coming years, Bob and Duke came to be symbols of our farm. Children learned their names and loved to go on hayrides. I’ve really enjoyed reminiscing about Bob and Duke and plan to share more of their stories in future Horse Tales posts.