My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Horses for Sale

I love looking through the classified ads in “The People’s Exchange,” which is a biweekly local Amish-centric publication.  My favorite is the horses-for-sale section.  Here’s an example (phone numbers deleted):

But what does all this mean?  I decided to find out. 

Below is a list of terms I often see in these ads.  I talked to a couple of Amish friends to find out what they mean… 
  • Stands to hitch and at corners:  It’ll stop and stay until you tell it to go
  • Traffic safe:  Not afraid of traffic and big trucks
  • TSS:  Traffic Safe & Sound
  • Been to church and town:  It’s well trained and safe
  • All pace:  Pacing means two left legs step, then two right legs – faster
  • All trot:  Trotting means front and back legs work diagonally – steadier
  • Dark bay w/ 4 whites, star & strip:  Dark brown horse with white feet and a white patch above the eyes and a thin stripe down the front of the head
  • Gelding:  Male horse who’s been “fixed”
  • Good headset:  The shape of a horse’s head tells a lot about its intelligence
  • Upheaded:  Holds his head high
  • Ready for the miles:  Ready for long trips
  • Lots of snap/lots of grit:  A faster, more energetic and aggressive horse
  • A little hot:  High strung; may balk – handle with care
  • Sticky starter:  A balker.  (My friend said, “I wouldn’t buy it!”)
  • Watches stuff beside the road:  It might lurch out into traffic if spooked
  • Chunky:  More muscular
  • Needs miles:  Needs to be used regularly to continue and maintain training
  • Average 10 mph:  This is a bit slow; 12-14 mph is better
  • Nice big stretch mare, drives w/ tight lines: Hang onto her – she wants to go fast!
  • Broodmare only:  Too old or injured to do work (or never trained to)
  • Women driver:  Very well trained
  • Boys’ horse:  Faster and more energetic and perhaps not as well trained
  • Safe for dawdi and school kids:  Very well trained; very safe; probably very slow
  • Babysitter pony:  Very tame and good around kids
  • Would make good produce team:  Draft horses which are well trained for a wagon 

There are lots of levels of “broke,” as my friends explained: 
  • Not broke:  Very young with no training
  • Green broke:  2-3 years old; trained well enough to pull a buggy
  • Good/well broke:  Typically 5 years old; most anyone could drive it
  • Broke for women:  Very well trained, and expensive to buy.  Not the fastest, though
  • Broke for anybody/dead broke:  A “dawdi horse” – good for the elderly
  • Broke, broke, broke:  A very slow horse!
  • Good broke to ride, green to drive:  A saddlebred riding horse which learned to pull a buggy later on
  • Broke to all machinery: A draft horse, usually a Belgian but perhaps a Percheron

I saw some other phrases in this week’s ads that I liked…  How about this one?  “Skittish in the barn, but get him out on the road, he’ll go all day, no problem.” 

So the next time you see an ad that says, “Dark bay w/ 4 whites, star, & strip,” you’ll know what that means!