Guess who’s in charge of the barnyard?
It would be Cindi— a Suffolk Punch draft mare, retired from active farm work from Horsepower Farm in Penobscot Maine because of a touch of arthritis in one hip. She’s living out her retirement as a pasture pet. There are about one thousand Suffolks, from the farms of northeastern England, left in the world.
The Suffolk is the only draft horse breed which was developed by farmers in England specifically for farm work. Her body conformation is perfect for farm work with a broad chest, short body, large feet and incredible strength. They are a particularly calm horse. Suffolks were likely developed in the 1700’s and the breed society was formed in 1877. The foundation stallion was Crisp’s Horse of Ufford. Canadians first imported Suffolks in the mid-1800’s; Suffolks came to the U.S. a few decades later. They are critically endangered particularly as farms have become mechanized. Suffolks are cross bred with riding horses to produce powerful jumpers. That may be a mixed blessing. It creates another use for the breed, but some breeds of livestock have been crossed to extinction.
Jake is a donkey, Donkeys are the most numerous working animals world wide. Donkeys are certainly not endangered. They are small and tough with some living up to 40 years. Some donkeys are good at protecting sheep and goats from coyotes, but this doesn’t seem to be Jake’s calling.