Quick change from horses to tractors. Around 1953-55. All changed in a couple of years. Tractors had sparred wheels – no rubber.
Couldn’t go on the roads with these. Then rubber wheels came in. Andy Rattray had a horse a long time.
At Chapelton (Jimmy), the horses were called Sally and Jock. Sally was good. Jock was young and ran off when trying to get his
collar on. Harness was wrecked. To put a collar on it had to go on upside down which was high to reach and heavy for the children
who had to do it.
Bill worked with Prince who yoked many a young horse. They were yoked with him and worked alongside him. A horse started to
work at 3 years old. They were trained then sold. Training dogs and horses, you need to be fair but firm. They know if you’re
scared. It has a lot to do with trust.
Most people bred their own horses and sold some locally. A boy came round with a stallion that was ‘squealing for miles’. A Suffolk
in Clatt. The stallions were usually walked. Jimmy Philip had two in a float. Everyone else walked. They walked from Auchindoir to
“When did you stop ploughing with horses? About what year did you change over to tractors?”
“Well, we had horses at Deskie. Deskie was a good few years with the horse. And then there was a tractor
come home. But I wouldn’t like to say when it was. Well, I was 19 when I got into the army and it was all
horses when I went away and when I came back from the army three years later there was no horse. They
were all gone.”
“Was it a quick change?”
“All making changes at that time. All Fords. Yellow Fords and spade wheels. No rubber tyres. “
“Was it bumpy?”
“Not really. We didn’t get let on the roads with them, you see. No no, you could cross a road. “
“What happened if you had two parks quite separate from each other?”
“?????? Opened a gate and went through. Then the rubbers come in. “
“The friend who I was visiting in Tain has a tractor from 1943.”
“When I came here to start I had no horse. Bought a Fergie tractor. Everyone I knew bought a Fergie
I was in the army from 1953-1955. And when I came back the horses were all gone. There wasn’t one. Oh
well, Andy Rattray maybe – he had a horse a long time. “
“Just because they liked them?”
“Well, it was … you just kept a beast.
We had a horse at Chappers [Chapelton?] when I was young. Two, we had. Sally and Jock, he called them
– aye, that was their names. And many a time the two of us was working there and Sandy and me were
going to yoke this horse, we were going to put on the harness on these horses. Old Sally she stayed in this
field and we put on the harness. And Jock was a young horse and we had a job getting on his collar, myself
and Sandy. Putting on this collar and he was just out of the bloody door and ??????? What a sound it was.
Harness all cut to ????? We’d hardly put on the collar.“
“Must have been quite high for you, when you were a child?”
“We’d the collar to put on upside down you see, unless you got it over the side you’d to turn it round.
Because the wide end is at the left.“
“Must have been quite heavy for a child?”
“For a 10 year old anyway.”
“I suppose the horses would have all had names though, would they?”
“Oh, they nae had names. Just Sally and Jock. And Prince – I had a horse called Prince and he yoked a lot
of young horse with him. To train them up. You nae yoke a young horse till he was three years old. He had
to be three year old. You brought him up from a foal, you see. Kept him with a three year old and then you
yoked him. Then you sold him on.“
“And they just had to walk alongside the horse that was working to get into the way of working?”
“It’s better to yoke with another one in case they don’t do what you tell them. No, they kind of please
themselves a wee bit.”
“I suppose they’ve got their own minds, really?”
“Working a dog and a horse is a wee lot the same. You have to be firm and good to them before you get
results. If you’re always good to a dog it’ll ??? you and horses the same. A horse kens if you’re scared of
him or not. ????? First class work horse.Just a topper. And Bert told my brother to take it. ??? It was a
topper of a beast it was. And dogs work just the same. Be good to them and still be firm with them. Keep on
top of them.”
“But also to have their trust, I suppose?”
“That’s just the way of it, as you grow up, you see.”
“When I think of the changes that I’ve seen in my lifetime – especially mobile phones and everything else.
And you must have seen double, triple, huge changes.”
“All this new-fangled ???? I can’t do nothing about it. I’ve enough to do to work my mobile phone, like. But
as for computers and things, no use to me. Just no use to me at all.”
“Last Christmas we gave Dad an iPad. And we taught him a wee bit on it then left him to it and now he’s
never off it. He’s just taught himself. It’s just if you’re used to it.”
“He looks up, if we’re watching something on the telly, and there’s an actor or actress or something and he
says, “Oh, I wonder where they’re from,” and gets his iPad and ‘beep beep beep’ and he says “Oh, they
were in such and such. They came from wherever.” And he’s not watching the thing we’re watching – he’s
busy looking up the actor on this thing.”
“Speaking about the horses, Jimmy bought them. ????? Up the hill with him. The day they were home one
kicked me in the ear and I saw him ?????? Jimmy ??????
There was lot of horses. “
“Did people just buy and sell them between themselves?”
“You bred them. More or less. There was one there and she was put in foal. There was a boy came round
with a stallion. You used to hear him ‘squealing for miles’. Came along the road squealing. Knowing he was
going to the mares. Bided in Clatt, Jimmy. He’d a Suffolk. He used to squeal along the road.”
“But they walked them, didn’t they? There were no horse floats or anything?”
“Jimmy Philip had a two float. Everybody else just walked them. ??? told me that his uncle ??? left a
stallion and ?????. His father put her along with the stallion down to Clatt. And he said the stallion was
swinging his feet out and he was all cut to the leg. All cut to the leg with this horse swinging his feet out. He
was trotting beside him and oh ….
They walked from Auchindoir down to Clatt. His father left him there the night before.”