Saturday, August 13, 2011

Howard County Fair: Draft and Mule Show!!!

Whew, what an exhausting couple of weeks!  We're just settling back into our routine after all the prep and showing for the Howard County Draft and Mule Show last weekend at the Howard County Fair.


For those unfamiliar with showing horses, here's a quick rundown of all the prep it takes to get a draft horse ready for a show (and we took eight horses!):

The week before the show:
- Learn how to trot in hand and square up for the judges
- First pre-show bath a week before the show (Sunrise and Penny got their very first baths!)
- Hooves trimmed
- Feathers washed several times the week before the show
- Begin clipping hairs on chin, muzzle, ears, guard hairs, and feathers for Percherons and Belgians the week before
- Thin and shorten manes, tails and forelocks (we use horse-sized dematting rakes)
- Another full bath a few days before the show
- Use hand razors to remove the remaining long hairs on the face and clean up blazes a couple of days before the show
- Go over the whole body with grill blocks to de-shed and flatten hairs (to make them shiny)
- Last full bath the day before the show- tons of deep scrubbing!
- Stalled overnight so they don't go out and give themselves a full-body mud mask treatment

Morning of the show:
- Load and trailer to the show
- Wash the inevitable poo off of everyone's feathers and butts (do they make draft-sized full-body Slinkies?)
- Braid tails (draft buns for docked tails, Hunter braid for long tails)
- Mane rolls for geldings
- Forelock braided, and one braid at the beginning of the mane for mares
- Black hoof polish on Belgians and Percherons (no hoof polish on the Clydesdales, thank goodness!)
- Coat polish spray
- Mineral oil on darker muzzles
- Show in Halter (Adult, Youth Showmanship)
- Those who are broke to ride are shown in English and Western Youth and Adult classes (each requires different tack)
- Those who are broke to drive are shown in an appropriate Driving class (which means we had to bring a wagon with us, too!)


And not to mention the TONS of help we had getting the horses (and riders/handlers) ready!!!  It was hot, it was humid, and despite the inevitable stress-induced crankiness, our volunteers stuck around to help and were so incredibly amazing!  THANK YOU!!!!!


We brought eight horses with us: Manhattan (Belgian), Meadow (Belgian), Texas (Belgian), Whiskey (Belgian), Trooper (Percheron), Sunrise (Clydesdale), Penny (Clydesdale), and Patty (Clydesdale).  Considering that collectively we don't have a lot of show experience, and that we were showing against really big breeders who show all the time, we did very well!

Our star of the show turned out to be Sunrise, who against ALL odds survived a horrific injury to be able to show and BEAT a lot of other Clydesdales at the show!  When we pulled Sunrise and the other Clydes from the kill pen earlier this year, she had a four-inch-long nail buried in her hoof, and the bacteria it injected into her hoof gave her a less than 25% chance of survival.

Sunrise won her age group, she won Junior Champion Clydesdale Mare, and she went on to get Reserve Grand Champion Clydesdale!!!!

She will proceed to show at the Maryland State Fair, as well as the Frederick County Fair.  We're also toying with taking her to Keystone, the biggest breed show on the East Coast!

Other results for the day:

Penny (she doesn't have a webpage yet) won her age group in Halter (3 and 4 and under Clydesdale Mare)

Trooper was 3rd in Adult English Under Saddle

Texas was 1st in Youth Showmanship, 3rd in Halter (Belgian Gelding), 1st in Youth Western Under Saddle, 2nd in Youth English Under Saddle, 4th in Adult English Under Saddle, and 6th in Adult Western Under Saddle

Patty got 3rd place Clydesdale Mare, and was 5th in Adult English Under Saddle

Meadow was 6th in Adult English Under Saddle

Manhattan was 5th in Halter (Belgian Gelding), 3rd in Pleasure Driving

Whiskey was 3rd in Youth Showmanship, 4th in Halter (Belgian Gelding), 1st in Youth English Under Saddle, and 2nd in Youth Western Under Saddle

So everyone went home with a ribbon, woohoo!!

And now, some pics!


Sunrise (Reserve Grand Champion Clydesdale):

Penny (1st Place 3 Y.O. Clydesdale Mare):

Patty (3rd Place Clydesdale Mare):

Manhattan (5th Place Belgian Gelding):

Texas (3rd Place Belgian Gelding, 1st Place Youth Showmanship):

Whiskey (4th Place Belgian Gelding, 3rd Place Youth Showmanship):


Manhattan (3rd Place Pleasure Driving):


Meadow (Left, 6th Place Adult English Under Saddle) and Texas (4th Place Adult English Under Saddle, 6th Place Adult Western Under Saddle):

Patty (5th Place Adult English Under Saddle)

Whiskey (Left, 2nd Place Youth Western Under Saddle), Texas (Right, 2nd Place Youth English Under Saddle, 1st Place Youth Western Under Saddle):

Whiskey (1st Place Youth English Under Saddle):

Trooper (3rd Place Adult English Under Saddle):

For more photos, be sure to visit our Facebook Page!

Again, THANK YOU to everyone who helped out!!!



  1. Draft saddle has the same basic structure as a riding saddle but has ornaments in the place of the rider's seat. It is attached to the horse by the girth and supports two leather loops or tugs at about elbow heights which carries the shafts and support the weight of the vehicle being drawn.
    draft saddles

  2. Zinnia,
    I'm not sure the point of your comment.