Saturday, May 8, 2010

Guest Blogger: Francesca Prescott--PULLING POWER: Look who’s Taking out the Rubbish!

I'd like to welcome back my dear cyber friend, Francesca Prescott. Francesca and I met on a fanfic site many years ago. Over the years, we've critiqued each other's work, met in San Francisco, and corresponded on all sorts of things, especially horses. Francesca lives in Europe, rides dressage, and writes  wonderful, entertaining stories. Be sure to check out her website and her book.
The new rubbish collectors just clip-clopped past my house. Yes, clip-clopped! Our village has recently set-up an eco-friendly rubbish collection system using good-old horse power. Every Wednesday morning, Maée and Quito, two sturdy Comptois horses, are harnessed to a specifically-made carriage to spend a couple of hours combing the country roads surrounding my village, collecting things people no longer want.

I think it’s a wonderful idea, not just because I’m a hard-core horse fanatic, thrilled to have horses grazing in the fields across from my house, nor because it revalorizes various breeds of heavier working horses long-appreciated for their pulling-power, nor simply because recent comparative studies in France and Germany (where horses have also been reinstated in certain cities on a much larger scale) have proved that horse-power beats motorized power hands down when it comes to carbon emission (who’d have thunk it?!).

The way I see it, having a horse-drawn carriage clip-clopping down country roads is also beneficial on a social level. It’s a charming event that draws people out of their houses, incites interaction between total strangers, makes people smile. It also slows down traffic, forcing all the speedy Gonzalezes to ease their feet from their accelerators far more efficiently than the hundreds of sleeping policemen and mini-roundabouts installed at great expense in this area over the past few years.

On another level, this initiative is also yielding great results among young people having experienced social difficulties, and who in working with these horses have found equilibrium, self-respect, a place in their community, and developed new marketable skills.

The person behind this great idea is Marco Mora, a gentle-natured social worker with a longstanding passion for horses. One of his horses, a formidable bay Percheron called Popeye (check out the size of his feet!), has been involved in cleaning up after Nyon’s Paleo Music Festival for a number of years, and has become quite a local celebrity! Marco hopes that the urban use of horse-power will catch on, leading to other villages jumping on the heavy-horse bandwagon.

Considering the wonderful impression it’s making around here, how could it not?

Lots of love,

Francesca Prescott

May 2010


Linda Benson said...

Francesa - thank you so much for posting! What a wonderful idea! I loved this post, and wouldn't it be wonderful if this would catch on in other areas? For so long we have been strictly an "automobile culture" - I'm all for slowing things down and letting horses do some of the work again. Great stuff!

Laura Crum said...

What a charming idea. Wish it would happen here. Thanks for the guest post, Francesca

Francesca Prescott said...

Thank you, Linda and Laura. It was such a surprise for me when all these heavy horses moved into the fields across the road from my house; previously the place was an organic chicken farm. Needless to say, I much prefer having the horses. But it was an even bigger surprise when they started using them to pick up discarded objects as I'd never heard of anything like this in Switzerland. Would definitely be great to see more of this elsewhere :)

Beth said...

Love IT!! That would be so great to see horses picking up the garbage!

Joy said...

That is just lovely. I wish we could have this kind of thing here where I live. Super!