Over 6 Feet Tall and Weighs in at 2000 lbs.

I love to see the big Draft horses and the Six Horse Hitch is my favorite. So on Saturday August 3 my husband and I set off to see them compete at the Canadian National Draft Horse Show. We arrived well before the class so I would have time to walk around the stabling area and see the horses being prepared.

THE PREPARATION

These horses are trained to tie to the wall and stand patiently while the colored ribbons are braided into their manes.

Percheron Draft Horse

They then have decorative pieces attached to the top of the braids.

Belgian Draft Horse

These horses weigh in at over 2000 pounds and they stand at least 18 hh Hands High the customary measurement used for horses with a ‘hand’ being 4 inches and the height is measured at the top of the withers. So these horses are at least 6 foot high at their withers. The people who braid and groom them need to stand on step ladders!

As well as the manes, the tails are also braided up, and decorated. They cannot be long and flowing or they would get caught up in the harness.

The decorations can be quite something! Look at this Clydesdale’s tail.

As it is summer, and flies abound, the grooms were careful to apply lots of fly spray to help keep the flies from bothering the horses. Once the braiding is done the harness, which has been kept on storage racks, is taken to the horses to be put on.

For the Clydesdales ,with their white feathered legs, the legs are kept wrapped till the last moment to keep them clean.

Once unwrapped it was easy for me to see how much work had gone into these leg feathers.

The wagons were also polished and gleaming, ready to go.

Now the harness is put on and the horses are ready to be hitched up. Notice how the Belgians’ hooves have been carefully polished.

The Belgians
The Clydesdales

THE PEOPLE

As I walked around the stabling area I saw that the crowd at the National Draft show was a very different one from the crowd at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. At the Royal there are lots of city people who come to the stabling area eager to see the big horses. Despite the many warning signs, they get very close to these big horses often pushing a stroller with a small child in it right up beside the horses. However…. as soon as one of the horses takes a step forward and the big hoof clatters on the cement floor the stroller is hastily pulled back.

But this show was all country horse people. I spoke with several of them . I told them I just had a “small” horse of only 16.1 hh. They smiled and accepted me as a horse person even though I only had a ‘small’ horse. They all were devoted to the horses and looked after every need their horses might have. A extra drink of water? A snack? No problem.

My husband and I had lunch and took our seats to watch the competition. There were nine teams ! I will be posting a separate post about the competition tomorrow. I hope you will come back to see who won! Was it the beautiful black Percherons? The Clydesdales? Or the Belgians?

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Alli Farkas says:

    I used to go to the MIchigan Great :Lakes Draft Horse Show and Pull held in October at Michigan State in East Lansing. My main purpose was to promote my horse portraits, but I could always find time to sneak away from my booth for a while and do just what you did–watch the horses get prepped and watch them compete. After painting one pair of a 4-horse hitch I was just glad I didn’t really have to know how all that elaborate harness went together, although it probably would have been easier to do the painting if I had been really familiar with the harness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The harness is a puzzle if you do not know it well. I look at it when they have it hanging up and I cannot make head nor tail of it. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. iScriblr says:

    Superb!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Irene says:

    Amazing! Looking forward to todayโ€™s post. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gentle giants for sure. Interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will be happy when all of them won ๐Ÿ˜Š, though I like the first in this pic black Percheron the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Well ,tomorrow the post will be going up with the competition and the winners!

      Like

  6. They are so stunning!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think so too. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  7. Emma Cownie says:

    I loved the photos and your explanations. Every time a question came up in your mind, you answered it. I love the patience these big beasts have too. Clearly there’s a strong bond between horses and people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      They are very patient. Ther8is the occasional foot stomp but they are trained to stand quietly. But once in harness the lead horses are pretty pumped up about it. Well behaved but clearly full of enthusiasm.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        Nice to know that they enjoy these outtings!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Those stats make me feel skinny

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      They make me feel tiny standing beside them.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a nice post, Anne, gosh these are some spiffy-looking horses. My hair is never combed that neatly! There are Belgians and Percherons on some of the farms in the Genesee Valley of New York, where one of my grandmothers lived, and all over western NY. Sometimes I’ve been walking down a road in the country, and they’ll run up to the fence to socialize, very friendly, and they never seemed to mind my Lab at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think they are friendly and like to socialize. Also they may hope that you have a bit of apple or carrot for them. I’m glad you liked the post . The final post, about the competition, goes up tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. dprastka says:

    So BEAUTIFUL! I’ve never been to one of these horse shows. What a delight, and I can’t wait to see how the competition turns out. They are all so beautiful in their own way as I don’t know who’s my favorite breed! I love them all. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿดโ™ฅ๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree with you Diana they are wonderful. It was a treat to see them. The next post with the competition will go up on Saturday morning.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jeff Rab says:

    Beautiful horses, maybe even more so with their great size!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes Jeff there size is most impressive.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sandra J says:

    My most favorite of all horses. I raised shires, I do miss them. So beautiful. I will have to try to see a show this summer yet. Thank you for sharing the photos. There is nothing like them hitched to a wagon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post Sandra. I like the Shires very much but there were none in this competition. But if you like the Deaft horses I will be putting up another post tomorrow or Saturday with photos of them pulling the wagons for the competition .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sandra J says:

        I would love that, I am not anywhere near places that have shows this year. I do miss going. There are not to many shires present at shows anymore, unless it is shires only. I love all of them. I will look forward to seeing more.

        Like

        1. anne leueen says:

          I’m putting the next post , of the competition , up on Saturday.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sandra J says:

            Great, look forward to seeing it.

            Liked by 1 person

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