Below is another image from the book, Visage de la Touraine. It shows a farmer at harvest time working his team of two horses in the countryside around the Touraine village of Truyes.
Truyes is near the town of Cormery and lies between Tours and Loches in the Touraine. The image itself comes from the 1940s when, during the Nazi occupation of France, many farm horses were requisitioned by the invading army for transport or food. Horses that were used on a farm were traditionally a male preserve, and it is generally considered, the male farmers of France were close to their horses and got great pleasure out of working them. So they were particularly resentful when their beasts were requisitioned. During the Second World War there was a significant decline in the numbers of farm horses (and tractors for that matter) in France, not just because of requisitioning but because many male farmers, who had had the responsiblity for and knowledge of breeding and training horses and were able to provide the attention to maintain optimal health, were either dead, prisoners of war or deported as labour to Germany. This was one of the many reasons why French agriculture was slow to recover after 1945.Source of information used: The excellent book The Unfree French: life under the occupation, Richard Vinen, Published by Penguin Books, 2007. Click here to look inside. There are many more images of old Truyes (including a very grusome road accident involving a horse) at the town’s official website.