Celebrating Old Fashioned Farming Principles Through Modern Innovation

The Horse Progress Days are coming to Lancaster County!  This popular event features many ways to appreciate horses and draft animal farming.  It moves around; sometimes it is held in Ohio, sometimes in Indiana, and sometimes in Pennsylvania.  Next year, it will be in Michigan.  We are very pleased to say the 2024 version will be right here in Lancaster County, PA on July 5 and 6.  It won’t return to Pennsylvania again until 2030! 

Horse Progress Days is an annual event, now in its 30th year, which basically started as a way for horse and draft animal farmers to encourage farm equipment manufacturers to remember their existence and respond to their needs. 

Essentially, most big-name manufacturers of farm equipment had long since stopped making tools for horse and mule teams and had instead focused wholly on tractor-based applications.  The Amish, and other horse-power enthusiasts, were finding it harder and harder to find equipment for their small-scale farms.  While Amish farmers use “old-fashioned” power to pull equipment through the fields, the equipment they hitch up to the horses is ideally state of the art. 

The first iteration of the Horse Progress Days was held on an Amish farm in Lancaster County in 1994, where a small gathering of Amish farmers had assembled in order to woo manufacturers to acknowledge the niche of modern equipment designed for horse and mule use. 

Today, the event still offers this collaboration between farmers and agribusinesses, but has expanded greatly to include events, activities, and seminars for various interests, such as beekeeping, soap-making, homesteading, logging, backyard chicken husbandry, bread baking, grazing sheep, goats, and cattle, in addition to small-scale dairy operations.  The goings-on offers both things for adults and also for children. 

Attendance runs 30,000 or more, mostly Amish and Mennonite, but also including English enthusiasts, over a two-day span.  “To show that Draft Animal Power is possible, practical, and profitable.”