54 Draft Horses, 9 wagons, 18 Humans.

The Six Horse Hitch! I am a big fan of the six horse hitch and it was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot and with a bit of a breeze. The horses were harnessed and came in to the ring three teams at a time. With a total of nine teams competing they could not all come in together. The lead horses are the fanciest movers and the horses nearest to the wagon, the wheel horses, are the powerful pullers.

The Clydesdales
The Percherons

The three teams would go round the ring and the judge would look at how they moved and worked together. The Drafts are calm horses but the lead horses knew they were at a show!

Expressive trot from the Percheron lead horses.
Belgian lead horses in unison.

The teams go in one direction and then are asked to change direction . The Ring Master tells them which team should go first across the diagonal to change direction. Once the judge has seen enough of them moving they are asked to line up. Then they have to rein back a few steps. My husband who had struck up a conversation with an ‘old timer’ learned that this rein back was a more recent American thing. Seems the Canadians did not ask for this previously but now it is routine. I can tell you that just by observing this it is not a simple matter to rein back a team of six horses.

And if you thought riding with a double bridle with two reins was tricky how about three reins in each hand. Each of the reins, top, middle and bottom are attached to the horses in the lead, middle and wheel positions. It is quite a handful.

Once all nine teams had come in and been seen by the judge they all waited in an adjoining arena. All 54 horses and wagons were lined up and waiting for the judge to decide if there were any he wanted to see again. Can you imagine 54 Warmblood horses standing and waiting patiently like this?

Then the announcement was made. The Judge wanted three teams back in again. Clydesdale, Percheron and Belgian. They all went round again and then lined up while the judge took a very careful look.

The final three; one team of Percherons, one of Clydesdales, one of Belgians.

The ‘old timer’ sitting next to my husband gave him what he thought would be the final standings of these three teams. Would he be right? The Judge walked over to the announcers stand and passed his paper to the announcer.

And the winner is…….the Clydesdale Team of Carson Farm. The lead horses looked very happy with their first place ribbon.

Second place was the Belgian Team of Willowdale Farm and third Glencal Farm’s Percherons. My husband’s new friend told him the Clydesdales had been Canadian Champions last year . They took a lap of honor.

I would like to congratulate all of the nine teams who took part in the Six Horse Hitch. The work involved in the training and the show preparation is enormous and it was a real treat to see them all .

28 Comments Add yours

  1. Awww, I was hoping the Percherons would win. I’ve always loved black horses, and they look amazing in the pictures. Then again, the Clydesdales must have been better movers, since they won.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I don’t know how they are judged but the Clyde’s were very good in all the movements including the rein back. One of the Belgian teams had what I thought was the best reinback, very smooth and fluid with no head banging. The Clyde’s have been Canadian Champions for two years in a row so they have it down. Thanks for commenting Gayle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. By the way, what camera do you use to take these nice photos?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          I have two Canon camera bodies. An EOS Rebel T51 and EOS T3i. I also have two Canon lenses and one long ( 260-600 ) lens.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, neat! I also have a Canon Rebel. Now I just need to find some beautiful horses… πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Your words and the pics gives me the wonderful feel of being there. As you said all the nine teams are the winners. They are doing this they are trying something that makes their life and the horses life beautiful and meaningful. It gives a fantastic feel if I get a chance of having enjoyable ride in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Subbashini! I always appreciate your comments.

      Like

  3. Amy says:

    That is an impressive performance. These horses are so awesome. Thank you for the post, Anne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Amy!

      Like

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    Those Percheron lead horses were certainly putting on a show. Yes, three reins must take a lot of skill!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The lead horses get quite pumped up! And yes the driving is a real skill. Thanks for commenting Emma.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. kunstkitchen says:

    Fabulous to see! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. MAP195 says:

    great photos…nice share

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Irene says:

    Wow! They must have something to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It really is very impressive. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sandra J says:

    Great photos, It was almost like being there. Pretty impressive. I love it when they are in sync on their steps. There is nothing like hearing the jingle of the harnesses as they move about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you I’m so glad you liked the photos. It was fun taking them. I took my biggest lens and also a smaller lens and captured a lot of the horses in action. I was standing quite close to the arena fencing and when they trotted by the jingling harness and the pounding of their hooves was thrilling! thank you for your comment I appreciate hearing from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Got to be impressive to witness. Power and grace on display.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Indeed it is. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. dprastka says:

    YAY for the winners, I think they are all winners!! Such fun to see in person I bet. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos and it is so interesting and WONDERFUL how all these horses and humans make this work together. What a sight to see!! β™₯️🐴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It really is something and when you stand at the ringside and they go thundering past it takes your breath away!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dprastka says:

        Wow, I bet it does. Feeling the Earth move under your feet! Gives me goosebumps!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Robyn says:

    Oh my, that is a handful with all those reins. But the horses are so cool to see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Driving six horses is a real skill. Tha is for commenting Robyn

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Anne 😁 and thanks for joining in. Fantastic post; your photos of the horses and the info about them is brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Jez. I very much appreciate your comment . Have a good weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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