In biodynamic practice, each farm aspires to become a self-contained organism. The farm’s diverse organs — soil, plants, animals, and human beings — create, circulate and regulate biological material, thereby building and maintaining the health and vitality of the farm and its produce.
To achieve this ideal, the farmer obtains as much material as possible from the farm itself. Large animals that graze on the farm generate manure that the farmer composts and applies to the fields, making use of the fact that grazing animals have the genius to give in their manure exactly what is needed for that spot.
Captain and Paris, the Pfeiffer Center’s team of Haflinger draft horses, provide horsepower for tillage and bed preparation in Crown Field, Pine Field, and Horse Field (click here for more about our gardens and fields). Their manure is composted and applied to our fields and gardens, enhancing soil fertility, while their grazing enhances the productivity and beauty of our fields. They are popular contributors to our children’s programs, and they star in our workshop, “The Role of the Horse in the Farm Organism.”
Using implements designed and built by Pfeiffer Center Program Director Mac Mead, our horses support ongoing research on field-scale raised-bed vegetable production. Our interns learn metalwork and shop skills by maintaining and refining our plows and harrows, while everyday care of the horses allows interns to develop the respect, skills and understanding needed to care for large farm animals.
Haflinger draft horses come from the Tyrol region of Austria and northern Italy, and the breed dates back at least to the Middle Ages. Always chestnut in color, Haflingers were bred for field and forestry work in alpine terrain, and they are noted for their quiet, kind temperament.