Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Community of Interest › Community › Les Barden passes
- December 29, 2014 at 9:19 am #84435Carl RussellModerator
Yesterday evening Les Barden passed away. He had been working hard over the last few months to fend off the inevitable. Les was in the company of family, in the home he built, from timber he grew on his Barden Tree Farm In Farmington, NH.
He was not a man of pomp and ceremony, so the most appropriate memorial from the large community of people who learned from him about working the land with draft animals, will be to continue to explore and apply the vast knowledge, guidance, innovation, and example that he shared with us over the last 50 years.
CarlDecember 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm #84437dominiquer60Moderator
He was a great man, not just because he was such a well disciplined teamster of both equines and bovines, and not because he was an award winning steward of a forest. He was great because he chose to share his skills and knowledge, to help keep this working animal culture alive and continuing on farms and in forests throughout the land. Thank you Les for sharing, and thank you for inspiring so many, Rest in Peace, we’ll all make sure the chores get done.December 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm #84438Kevin CunninghamParticipant
It amazes me how much the passing of these great teamsters that I never knew except through legacy and reputation affects me. Last night I must have been feeling something because I was compelled to look for a copy of his book online to no avail. I am a green teamster searching for these great leaders and I am grateful that his legacy and others lives on in the knowledge that is passed on as it always has been. Still I can’t help but feel regret that I never met the man.December 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm #84440mitchmaineParticipant
i only met les once at a dapnet event in tunbridge. his wisdom and knowledge were clearly apparent, but i was taken mostly by his kindness and humility. we started talking about harness but ended talking about farming and weather and just having a good chat. i am so sorry i never got another chance to see him. my sincere condolences to all of you that knew him better and his friends and family. there is a guy who will be greatly missed.January 2, 2015 at 7:27 am #84455Brad JohnsonParticipant
I linked to Les in that the horse and farm mentor I started with, Mark Albee, stated working horses with Les at his place. Much of the information Les imparted during his “Sunday Sessions” made its was to me thru the teaching Mark gave to me. Mark would frequently start a lesson with, “Les always says that…” I never did get to know Les that well, but I know that his knowledge and expertise still informs that way I use my horses in the woods and here at home. His wisdom and teaching will be greatly missed, and I extend my best wishes to his family.
-BradJanuary 2, 2015 at 9:31 am #84458Does’ LeapParticipant
I had the pleasure to meet Les on several occasions. He not only endured my endless questions when I started working with horses, but cheerfully imparted his wisdom casually and generously. He welcomed my enthusiasm and made me feel comfortable to contact him again and again…..
We had numerous phone consults about plug yoke construction, harness fit, and scoot modifications among other things. His approach to working animals, attention to detail, and innovation has helped me immeasurably. He has been and will continue to be an inspiration to both “up my game” and share what meager knowledge and experience with others hoping to work with horses. Rest in Peace.
GeorgeJanuary 2, 2015 at 10:12 am #84459Carl RussellModerator
Thank you all for the replies…… I am pulling together a short testimonial to post in the high-profile mags, highlighting some of his contribution to the community of interest, and just letting folks know of his passing.
Later I hope to pull together a more comprehensive collection of his work, philosophy, and innovation. That should get underway during 2015, and I would very much appreciate any other testimonials, or insights into his impact as a teacher/mentor/inspiration.
To me there is a thread that runs through many of your comments that I think really encapsulates Les and his contribution to the working horse. Of course there are the standards that he set, the attention to detail, the precise innovations that many have found valuable. There is also the free and generous way that he shared his points, not as advertising, or for personal gain, but because he really took his role seriously as a land steward, animal husband, and craftsman.
A well adjusted harness didn’t reflect to him your ability, or achievement, but the comfort and functionality that it affords the horse. Those attentions to detail were not dogma for him, they were the expression of his art. He made it clear that serious thought and caring is at the root of working the land with animals, and I believe that was really what he shared.
Most of us reached out to him for specifics, but I know for me, and from what I read above from you, that what we came away with was the inspiration to think, to understand, to strive to improve understanding, and to put that into play as we perfect our craft. For him it wasn’t enough to have information to share, it was that the information he shared led to uncover the great commitment he made to his land, his animals, and to the equipment that connected them.
Thank you all…. Work hard…. and do a good job.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Carl Russell.
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