Ferrier shoeing a horse by A.L. Ensley.  Courtesy Hunter Library Special Collections

Ferrier shoeing a horse by A.L. Ensley. Courtesy Hunter Library Special Collections


Although horses and mules have been replaced by tractors on most American farms, some farmers in Appalachia still use them, and many more remember having worked them when they were young. Mules–prized for their hardiness–and draft horses were used both for plowing fields and for pulling wheeled vehicles, especially wagons and carriages. Horses were also saddled and ridden, and some were specially bred for racing. The Shenandoah Valley was famous in the early 19th century for its thoroughbred horses, and racetracks were established in Winchester, Virginia, and in Charles Town and Martinsburg, now in West Virginia. The advent of the automobile marked the decline of horses and mules in Appalachian life, although some few farmers still raise and work them.

Courtesy Hunter Library Special Collections

Courtesy Hunter Library Special Collections

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