Up until the early 1920’s, draft horses were the tractors on every farm, and they pulled everything from the farmer’s plow every spring to the wagon that hauled the harvest every fall. These horses were normally between five and six feet tall at the withers, weighed around two thousand pounds and were bred for one thing and one thing only – pulling a load. With their massive hindquarters, heavy shoulders to support a collar, and deep chest, a draft horse was considered a good horse if it could pull twice its own weight.
One of the other characteristics of horses came into play if the farmer wanted to increase the land he farmed. He’d need more horses, but he didn’t have to buy them. All it took was putting a receptive mare with a stallion and about eleven months later, the farmer would have another horse. In a little over ten years, a team of two mature mares and their mare offspring could produce a theoretical total of thirty more horses, fourteen of which would be old enough to be working. It just took time and knowledge of training horses, both of which the farmer had.
The stallion was the only problem most small farmers faced. Keeping a stallion only to breed a few mares was not economical because stallions could not generally be used for work with other horses. Draft stallions are very large and strong, and can be difficult to handle if there are mares around. A stallion requires the same daily care as a working horse, and would consume feed that could have been used to feed a working horse. Another problem was a stallion could not usually be used to breed his own offspring or any bad characteristics might be accented. As a result, most small farmers relied on the “stud man” to furnish the stallion to breed their mares.
The “stud man” was a man who roamed the countryside with a draft stallion. He would stop at every farm and ask if there were any mares that needed breeding. If there were, the farmer would pay the stud man’s fee, and the stud man would then let his stallion breed the mare. Paying the stud man was cheaper than keeping a stallion for a whole year.
The stallions were often of uncertain lineage, but were always very tall and heavy with well muscled hind quarters and deep chests and thick necks. This was because as every horseman knows, a horse inherits the personality and manners of the mare, but the conformation of the stud. The bigger the horse, the more load it could pull.
The stud men themselves were usually large and strong as well. It took a large and strong man to handle a stallion because even a well trained stallion would become difficult to control if he smelled a mare in season.
This is the story of one of those stud men, a man named Jacob Connors, and Katherine Sykes, the wife of a farmer.
The huge, dappled grey stallion plodded slowly on the grass beside the dirt road, his nose in the air and searching for the scent of a mare in heat. He knew when he saw the farm in the distance why the man on his back had turned him down that road. At that farm would be more horses, and possibly a mare ready to breed. As soon as he caught her scent, the mating scent she’d laid down when she broke water, his shrill neigh would split the calm of the countryside and he’d break into a trot. It had been this way many times, so many times the stallion had learned what buildings in the distance meant.
The man sitting on Sampson’s back was a match to the stallion. Jacob Connors was a very large man, over six feet tall and weighing almost two hundred and eighty pounds. Dark brown, almost black hair covered his head and hung down to his shoulders, and more coarse hair peered through the open neck of his shirt. The neck of the shirt was open because that was the only way he could get it buttoned around his broad shoulders, broad chest, and muscular neck. More muscles in his thighs tensed into cords when Sampson broke into a trot, and he pulled gently on the halter rope.
“Whoa, Sampson. We’ll find you a mare soon enough. No need to go faster than a walk.”
Jacob was in no hurry to get anywhere because he didn’t have to be. His life was one of the roads and forests. He traveled the roads during the day, calling at farms for any mares that needed breeding, and unrolled his simple bedroll under the trees at night. It wasn’t a life most men would have wanted, but Jacob loved it. He had no one to tell him what to do and no one to criticize him for doing as he wished.
He preferred cash money for Sampson’s servicing of a mare, but often accepted food for himself or a little grain for Sampson instead. Sampson didn’t really need any feed besides grass because he wasn’t working hard, but the horse liked oats and every farm had a bin of oats. Jacob liked Sampson so he treated him when he had the chance.
This was their first visit to this farm. He’d missed it the past year because the lane was little more than two bare strips of dirt in what looked like a field. The year before, the bare tracks of a wagon hadn’t been there, so he’d passed it by. The farmer two miles south had told him the farmer, William Sykes, and his wife Katherine had started farming that farm that spring. He said William had two teams, one team of geldings and one team of mares and William had said after church that Sunday one of the mares was in season.
Jacob smiled because Sampson already knew there was a mare in season at that farm. He always did. If Jacob could see the mare, he could tell if she was or not, but Sampson could smell her from a distance. He just hoped the mare would be ready. Mares gave off that smell for several days, but on only one or two days would she accept a stallion. Any other day, she’d kick the stallion when he tried to mount her.
Jacob didn’t have to guide Sampson into the farmstead. The big horse had his eyes on the two horses standing beside the barn and started to trot again. Jacob let him trot up to the fence and then watched as one of the mares walked over and touched noses with Sampson, then turned her back to them and lifted her tail. She opened and closed herself a couple times and then a little milky fluid dripped to the ground. If she wasn’t ready, she was close. He used the halter rope to turn Sampson toward the house.
“Come on Sampson. Let’s go introduce ourselves and see if they want us to settle that mare for them.”
Jacob was half way to the house when the door opened and a woman stepped out. The woman of the house was the one who usually met him. On almost any day it wasn’t raining every farmer would be in the field doing something at this time of year. Usually they were either cultivating their crops or hand weeding them. The wife was left to do her own work at the house and care for the flock of chickens every farm had.
What was unusual about this woman was she was prettier than most of the farm wives he’d met. Her dark brown hair was done up in a bun to keep it out of the way, but Jacob thought it was probably long enough to reach the small of her back when she let it down. She had soft, blue eyes, and sensuous lips.
Like most women on the farms, she didn’t wear shoes. Shoes were expensive and feet would wash. Shoes were for church on Sunday and for the rare trip to the nearest town. Her figure was mostly hidden by the housedress she wore, but Jacob could still imagine how the soft curves of her breasts and hips would probably look.
She smiled as she walked up to Jacob.
“What can I do for you, Sir?”
Jacob slipped off Sampson’s back, but kept a tight hold on the halter rope because Sampson wanted to go back to the mare.
“I’m Jacob Connors, and Mr. Jenkins down the road said you might have a mare needing to be bred. I’d be happy to let Sampson here do that if you have a dollar.”
The woman frowned.
“Jesse is in season and William wants her bred, but we can’t spare a dollar. I heard from one of the women at church you stud men sometimes take a dozen eggs or rooster. Would that be enough?”
Jacob smiled. He liked this woman. Most would have thought for a second and then said they’d wait for another stud man, but this one had started to bargain as soon as he told her the price.
“Can’t carry a dozen eggs, but a rooster sounds good. You go bring that mare over to the fence and we’ll see if she’s ready.
Jacob expected her to say she couldn’t, but the woman didn’t. She just walked to the pen beside the barn, opened the gate, and walked to the bay mare. She had to stand on her toes to catch the halter, but once she had it, she clucked to the mare and then led her to the wood rails that formed the fence around the pen.
Jacob took his bedroll and bags of food and clothes from Sampson’s back, and then led him toward the fence. As Sampson got closer, his nostrils flared ,he screamed and began dancing around. Jacob held the halter rope tight and stroked the horse’s neck.
“Easy there, Sampson. We got to see if she’d in the mood first. Don’t want to get kicked in the head do you?”
When they got to the fence, Sampson stuck his head over the top rail and sniffed under the mare’s tail, then began nuzzling her flanks. The mare didn’t kick. She just squatted down and moved her tail to the side. Jacob backed Sampson up to the gate and said to the women, “You’d best get on this side of the fence. Sampson won’t stop for anything when I let him go.”
The woman stepped through the gate and then held it open while Jacob un-snapped the rope from Sampson’s halter. The big stallion trotted over to the mare and began nuzzling her flanks. The mare again squatted down a little and pulled her tail to the side.
The woman gasped at the long and thick organ that dangled in an arc between Sampson’s rear legs. Jacob chuckled when she said, “Lordy he’s big.”
“Yeah, but he has to reach in a long way to get the job done.”
The woman couldn’t take her eyes off the two horses, and she caught her breath when Sampson reared up to mount the mare. As his front legs caught the mare around the flanks, his organ stiffened straight, and he probed at the mare for a few seconds. He found her entrance and pushed in, and then clamped his teeth on her neck and walked up to the mare and embedded himself.
When his long, thick organ was fully inside the mare, Sampson began making quick, short thrusts, and less than a minute later his body jerked several times. The big horse then backed away from the mare as he pulled out, and when his organ slipped free, a trickle of white dripped from the tip to the ground.
Jacob had been watching the woman. She’d stood there with her mouth agape during the whole thing, but when Sampson dropped to the ground and stood there with his sides heaving, she looked up.
“That didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Are you sure he bred her? It looks like a lot of his seed is leaking out of him.”
“Sampson’s never failed me yet. What you see there is only a little of what he left inside the mare. She’ll take unless something’s wrong with her.”
The woman’s face looked flushed when she smiled.
“I’ll go get that rooster now.”
As Jacob caught Sampson and snapped the rope onto the halter, he was still smiling. He’d seen other women while they watched Sampson breed their mares. Most were interested, but few had ever acted like this woman. Usually, they just waited patiently while Sampson mounted the mare, and then once he was done, paid him and went back inside. This woman seemed to be a lot more interested for some reason.
As the man who called himself Jacob Connors rode back down the road, Katherine went back into the house to finish preparing the rooster she’d killed that morning. William liked his supper hot and ready when he came in from the fields, and after the rooster baked all afternoon, it would be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. As she stuffed the cavity in the rooster with stale bread, onions, and half an apple, she thought about watching the stallion breed Jesse.
It was such a simple act, and an act she’d witnessed many times growing up on her father’s farm. Reproduction was something every farm boy and girl knew about and understood from an early age. Every spring, the bull would roam constantly through the herd of cows, and when one was ready, would mount the cow and stick his organ inside her. The next year, a calf would be born. The same thing happened with the rooster and his hens and with the hogs her father had kept.
Her mother had explained the details when Katherine was at the right age, but she already knew most of them just from watching the animals. It was so simple for the animals.
It should have been as simple for her and William, but it hadn’t been. After the first time, the time when William had burst her maidenhead and made her a woman, Katherine had wanted to couple often with William until she was pregnant. She longed for a baby to cuddle and nurse, to birth sons to help William with the farm and daughters to help her with the washing, cleaning, and cooking.
After six months, she was in despair. All her friends from church had married and were pregnant within two months of their wedding night. Only Elizabeth was different, but that difference was Elizabeth’s daughter was born seven months after she and Johnathan had stood in the church and said their vows. Katherine knew what had happened was wrong, but she could not condemn Elizabeth as did some of the older women. She was envious that Elizabeth was suckling a baby while she herself was barren.
William didn’t seem to be upset. He just said maybe they were trying too hard, and if they coupled only Sunday and if they prayed enough, the Lord would bless them.
Katherine refused to believe that faith had anything to do with making a child. Horses didn’t have faith and neither did chickens and pigs. They were just animals and did what God made them to do – make more of their kind. They could no more pray than they could recite phrases from the Bible like William did.
She continued to lie quietly on her back every Sunday night while William stroked away, and when he jerked and then rolled onto his back, she closed her legs tightly to keep his seed inside her. At first, she prayed then too, but after another two months, just held her legs closed and hoped.
When that didn’t happen, she came to the conclusion that either she or William was not capable of producing a child. She didn’t tell that to William though. He would have just said her faith wasn’t strong enough.
It was two weeks later that Katherine heard an unfamiliar neigh and went to the kitchen door to investigate. When she opened the door, she saw the stud man, Jacob, sitting astride the dappled gray stallion. She walked outside and smiled.
“What brings you back, Jacob?”
“I’m just checking to see if Sampson bred your mare. He’s never missed before, but there’s always a first time. Can you bring her over to the fence again?”
“No, I can’t. William has all four of our horses in the field and he won’t be back until almost dark.”
Jacob was still smiling.
“Well, I just thought I’d check. If she isn’t bred, she’ll be in season in about another two weeks. I’ll be stopping by Mr. Jenkins’ farm then, so if she acts like she’s in season, or if your other mare is, let him know and I’ll come by again.”
With that, Jacob rode back down the dirt road, and Katherine watched him until the trees blocked her view.
A week later, on a Saturday, William said he thought Merle, their other mare, was coming in season, and in another week, she’d probably be ready. He said he’d tell Mr. Jenkins at church to send the stud man by because he wanted Merle bred and asked Katherine if she had another rooster she could spare to pay for the breeding. Katherine said yes, she did.
All that week, William walked to the cornfield down in the trees with a hoe to weed the crop. The corn was tall enough by then the horse-drawn cultivator would have bent over the stalks, but any remaining weeds would lessen the yield so they had to be hoed out by hand. All that week, Katherine waited in the house for the neigh that would tell her the stud man had arrived.
On Friday, he did, and when he said Mr. Jenkins had told him their other mare might be ready to breed, Katherine said she thought so and she’d go catch the mare.
When Katherine brought the mare to the pole fence, Sampson did as he always did. He danced around, sniffed under the mare’s tail, and nuzzled her flanks. Jacob knew the mare was ready when she didn’t kick at the fence, but squatted and pulled her tail to the side. He turned to Katherine.
“I think she’ll breed. Let her go, come out, and I’ll let Sampson in with her.”
Katherine watched as Sampson trotted up to Merle, nuzzled her flanks, and then reared up. His organ stiffened and he plunged it into the mare, then made the same fast, short strokes she’d seen him make inside Jesse. When he pulled out and stood there heaving again, Katherine knew in about a year, they’d have two new foals, one from Jesse and one from Merle.
She looked at Jacob then.
“Are you going to check Jesse to see if she’s bred?”
Jacob shook his head.
“No need. If she wasn’t bred, Sampson would be chasing her by now. She’s bred. If you’ll get my rooster, we’ll be on our way.”
Katherine had agonized over the decision all week. She was at first shocked that she’d even had the thought, then condemned herself for thinking about what was surely a sin. There, standing outside the pen and watching Sampson breed Merle, she’d remembered a passage from the Bible William always quoted when something went wrong – “The Lord helps those who help themselves”.
“Mr. Connors, if you could, there’s one more thing I need you to do.”
Jacob looked around.
“You have another mare that needs to be bred? I don’t see one.”
Katherine looked at the ground.
“It's not a mare. It ‘s me. I…I need to be bred.”
Jacob stared at Katherine for a moment. She looked serious, serious and a little like she was pleading with him.
“Ma’am, you’re married and you should be saying that to your husband, not to me.”
Katherine stepped in front of Jacob, looked up, and put her small hand on his arm.
“We’ve tried and tried, but it hasn’t worked. One of us can’t make a baby and I have to know if it’s me. I want you to do it to me. That’s the only way I’ll know.”
While the idea was appealing to Jacob, he tried to tell Katherine he couldn’t.
“Ma’am, your husband will find out and throw you out of the house. I can’t be responsible for doing that to you.”
Katherine took Jacob’s hand.
“He won’t know because he’s in the field and I won’t ever tell him. Come in the barn with me.”
Jacob followed Katherine into the barn and then to the side of one of the stalls. Katherine unbuttoned her dress and pulled it over her head, then smiled.
“If I lay down, I’ll get straw my hair. Take me like your horse took Jesse and Merle.”
Jacob watched as Katherine bent over to hold onto the top board of the stall and then spread her legs apart. He saw her hair covered lips pushing out from between her thighs and the way her breasts hung from her chest and both made him want her just as badly as Sampson had wanted the mare.
Katherine watched over her shoulder when Jacob unfastened his trousers and let them fall to his ankles. She shivered a little when his rigid organ bobbed free. He was long and thick, longer and thicker than William, and the head was swollen taut and so dark it was almost purple.
She put her head down when she felt his big, rough hands on her hips, and thought for a second about stopping him. When the tip of his organ probed between her thighs, those thoughts left her mind and were replaced by sensation of being penetrated.
Katherine caught her breath at the pressure of his organ against her entrance, then gasped as he entered her. She felt stretched open, stretched like she’d never felt before, and just as she realized how big the man was, she felt something else. It was a sensation she’d not felt before, a tightening in her belly that caused her to moan.
Katherine had assumed he would do her like his horse bred a mare – push his organ deep and make a few quick strokes. That’s what William always did, but this man wasn’t doing that. Once he was deep inside her, he began stroking in and out slowly.
He bent over her back then, and Katherine felt his muscular arms on her sides and then the rough hands that lifted her breasts. She smelled the man with his chest touching her back, smelled the odor of his sweat, and that smell made her mind reel with another feeling she’d never felt before. It was a feeling of needing to feel his organ throb and fill her with his seed. When he stroked her nipples, Katherine shuddered and without thinking, pushed her hips back.
It was nothing like what her mother had described, and nothing like what William did. With William, Katherine had felt the satisfaction of knowing she was pleasing him, but that was all she felt. With the stud man, she felt herself growing tense inside, the tension building to an ever higher level as he stroked his thick organ in and out.
That tension became her body’s craving for more, craving to feel his organ reaching deep inside her and then spurting his seed to make her pregnant. The craving built quickly until Katherine was gasping and pushing her hips back into the slow, deep thrusts. Her belly tightened, then relaxed a little, then tightened again as the quiet cry slipped from her lips. When the man lightly pinched her nipples and then pulled, her cry was louder, and it felt to Katherine as if her body was going to explode.
When Jacob groaned and rammed his organ deep and then jerked, Katherine did explode in a flurry of rocking hips, little cries, and the clash of all the sensations racing to her core from her nipples and stretched passage. She gasped as she felt him push deep again and then jerk three more times, and when he started to pull out, she murmured, “No, Jacob, leave it in so none comes out.”
It was almost a year before Jacob again rode Sampson down the dirt road to Katherine’s house. There had been no need before that. Neither mare would be ready to breed again until they’d dropped their foals.
He had stopped by the Jenkins farm because the mare Sampson had bred the year before should be ready. As he and Mr. Jenkins stood by the fence and watched the gangly foal run away from the mare only to run back, stick his nose under her flank and suckle, Mr. Jenkins, grinned.
“He’ll make a big, strong gelding. I wish he’d been a filly, but maybe next year, she’ll give me one. Missed her foaling heat, but she’ll be ready in about a month, I reckon. Oh, William told me one of his mares just foaled and he wants her bred again. You might want to stop by there today and see if she’s ready. Ought to be, I reckon.”
Katherine walked out of the house as soon as she heard Sampson’s neigh. She’d been expecting Jacob because she knew William had told Mr. Jenkins that Jesse had foaled.
Jacob saw her walking toward the barn and smiled. Katherine was a little more filled out, but that would be because of the baby she carried on her hip. She grinned when she walked up to him.
“Jesse had a filly. Isn’t she beautiful?”
Jacob wasn’t looking at the filly. He was looking at the baby. He knew it was a girl because of the pink ribbon around her mostly hairless head.
“I guess you and your husband had a filly too.”
“Yes. We named her Emily and she’s already almost two months old.”
“Mr. Jenkins said your mare is ready to breed again.”
“I think she is. She’s been doing what she did before anyway.”
“Well, it looks like Sampson thinks so too. You got another rooster for me?”
“Yes, I do, and after Jesse’s bred, there’s something else I need you to do before you leave.”
Jacob knew, but he asked anyway.
“What might that be?”
Katherine looked at the ground.
“What you did last year.”
“Are you sure?”
Katherine looked up and smiled.
“Yes, I’m sure. William can’t. I know that now, but he doesn’t. He thinks Emily is his and I’m not going to tell him any different. He wants a son next. I want you to give me a son.”
Over the next ten years, William Sykes cleared trees and expanded his farm as his herd of working horses grew. His three sons weren’t old enough to do much yet, but they were learning and he was proud of them. Jason, the oldest boy at nine, could already drive the wagon when William harvested corn. He didn’t really have to drive the wagon. Jim and Jack knew to walk through the corn stalks that had already been stripped of their ears, but Jason still held the reins and talked to them like he was driving.
Katherine was happy with her two daughters. Emily was a big help. Even though she was just ten, she took care of the chickens and gathered their eggs. Rachael was just seven, so she couldn’t do a lot of things, but she did watch her two younger brothers so Emily and her mother could do their work.
Katherine was proud of her boys too, and she was secretly proud of herself even though she knew pride was a sin. She’d done what was expected of a wife. She’d given William three sons to help with the work on the farm.
The women at church were a little amazed at how big the boys were for their age. They said all the boys looked a little like Katherine in the face, but it looked like they were going to be a lot bigger than their father. Katherine smiled and said her grandfather had been a really big man so that’s probably where her boys got it.
The women at church thought Katherine’s daughters were beautiful and also looked like her except their hair was a lot darker. Katherine just laughed and said that was because her great-grandmother had black hair and that her great-grandmother’s father was a Cree Indian man. That set the women to talking about how it wasn’t right for a God-fearing woman to take up with an Indian man, but it did take their minds off Katherine’s daughters.
Jacob still stops by the farm every spring when Jesse and Merle are ready to breed. The first filly was ready to breed after the fourth year, but Sampson couldn’t be the stallion to breed her, so Jacob told another stud man to stop by the farm in another month or so.
When Jacob rides Sampson up to the farm, Katherine always walks out to greet him. She smiles and asks how he’s doing, and then stands there with her daughters and two youngest sons and watches as Sampson covers one of the mares. She knows it isn’t too early to teach them where babies come from. They need to know what happens so when they’re old enough, they’ll better understand what happens when a man and a woman get married.
When Jacob rides away from the farm, she’ll lead her children back to the house and then smile. She’s remembering the time Jason was five and said he wanted to be a stud man when he grew up. She’d patted him on the head and said if that’s what he wanted to do, he could do that but he’d have to work for it. She’d smiled to herself then and said, “Remember Jason, it’s like your daddy always says, The Lord helps those who help themselves”.