By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
MONTGOMERY — Members of Daviess County’s Amish community came to the Produce Auction barn Monday to discuss road conditions with the Daviess County Commissioners. namely, the rock on county roads.
Many of the men at the special meeting believe the rock on the road is causing horses to come up lame.
“It’s serious, those horses cannot roll on the rock,” Steven Stoll said.
Stoll, and many other Amish men like him, believe the size of the rock, known as No. 5, is too big for the horses to trot on. He said if a horse steps on the large rocks the right way, the horse could develop bruises to the soft tissue of the horse¹s hoof and cause it to be lame.
Veterinarian Matt Lyons agreed with Stoll, saying he has seen an increase in lamed horses due to bruising on the sole of the hoof. He said he only sees horses that need treatment local farriers could not provide.
“It’s really heartbreaking to tell a family who has a great driving horse not to use it anymore,” Lyons said.
And for the Amish, a lame horse means a lot. It means their primary means of transportation is not available.
“For an Amish family, a good horse is something important,” Stoll said.
The Amish men in attendance believed a smaller rock would be better for the community’s horses.
The commissioners listened. Commissioner Larry Wilson felt the amount of rock on county roads in his district, Barr, Reeve and Van Buren townships, was from his direction.
“I have to take the biggest part of the blame,” Wilson said. “I wanted to have more rock on the roads because there is nothing more aggravating than driving on muddy roads.”
He went on to say he did not know what type of rock was being used but wanted to help.
“I feel bad about it and I¹m going to solve the situation,” Wilson said.
County Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius brought several buckets with rock samples to the meeting. He said that although No. 5 rock has been in use for years and it is the county’s preferred rock, he wondered if improper road grading was also to blame.
He said the smaller rock does cost more, but as to how much will not be able to be determined until it will be used.
“The problem in Barr and Van Buren townships is there are roads that carry a lot of traffic,” Cornelius said.
Several Amish men looked at the stone, mixing the smaller rocks on top of the larger No. 5 stones. Everyone came to the conclusion the No. 8 stone, a smaller rock, would be good for the horses.
One Amish man asked if paving or chip and seal treatment could be used on the roads. Cornelius said paving is expensive and harder to maintain.
“I don’t ever foresee all our roads being paved,” Cornelius said.
The commissioners and Cornelius said they would use the smaller stone in areas where there is a lot of horse traffic, but it could take time to get every road in the Amish community.
“It’s going to take some time,” Cornelius said.
He pointed out some roads that could use the stone immediately, like on CRs 775E, 550N and 1225E. He also believed better grading practices will help.
“We’re going to start working on it,” Commissioner Tony Wichman said.
In a show of respect, many of the Amish men thanked the commissioners for not just helping with the rock situation, but also coming up to the produce barn to speak with them.
“Thanks for coming up,” many of the men said.
The 20 to 25 Amish men in attendance also heard an updated on the road project on CR 900E. Cornelius said water lines are currently being moved on the Odon-Cannelburg Road and construction will begin later this year.
“The remainder of the project from CR 550N will be completed next year,” Cornelius said.