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Farm uses horses in a blend of modern and traditional practices

Young farmers passion for horses keeps traditions alive
Horses Hay Bales
Kevin Volpatti incorporates both old traditions with modern technology in his farming practices near Preeceville. He uses a team of Percherons and a small tractor to load and haul bales from the field to his yard. Walter Hughes, Preeceville farmer, was driving the tractor

PREECEVILLE - Kevin Volpatti and Jessy Cawston have managed to keep up with the changing times while holding onto the traditional farming aspect. The young couple farm 22 kilometers southwest of Preeceville and incorporate traditional with modernization in their ranch.

"I am a firm believer that hard work, dedication and passion for what you do will see you through the hard times,” said Volpatti. “I believe in incorporating the ways of the past with some modern practices. We use horses to do a lot of the work around the ranch but find through some necessity that we have to use a tractor to put up silage for feed for the cattle. Using horses is very time consuming but very rewarding. Financially they are cheaper than diesel and they give back much more that a piece of equipment could.” Volpatti has been working with drafts for 12 years now, he used to drive horses with his grandpa when he was younger so he had experience prior as well. The only breed that the couple have is Percherons.

“We use the horses when we can because it’s an important part of our history that we are trying to preserve and keep alive and it’s how we prefer to do things,” shared Volpatti.

“Our kids are very involved and enjoy the horses as well, Sam helps with chores and Dawsen drives, Lilly absolutely loves the “hooeys” as she calls them and wants to be right at the front of the sleigh or wagon where the action is. We don’t get to use the horses as much as we would like to in the summer and fall so it was a nice opportunity to get some work done with them. We use them all winter and spring to feed cows and haul firewood and in the summer we can haul bales and cut some hay with them.”

Volpatti trains teams for other people in the winters because it’s a time when they are needed every day so they get lots of experience and miles put on them. He primarily trains for his own use on the farm and other people but the couple hopes to breed their own registered horses in the near future.

He has already had people as far as Montana and the Chilcotin in B.C, asking if he has teams for sale.

If their wagon was bigger they could easily pull five to six bales but the wagon can only hold two at a time. Walter Hughes, who farms 10 miles southwest of Preeceville has been a good friend and mentor to Volpatti, and is an excellent horseman and well respected in the Percheron world. He is also the Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Percheron Association and the young couple has acquired most of their horses from him.

Volpatti, originally from British Columbia, realized his dream of creating his own ranch was not a goal that he could reach in B.C. Previously he had worked as ranch hand on a few ranches and had always a passion to own and operate his own ranch. While in B.C. he worked and attained his heavy duty mechanic tickets in Kamloops. "I worked two mechanic jobs and a snow removal job in B.C but never seemed to be getting anywhere.”

He managed to save up enough money and when the opportunity came up he purchased land in the Buchanan area in 2009 but didn't move his young family to Saskatchewan until 16 months after he purchased the land.