I love horses and this year at our Brown County Little State Fair, Georgetown, Ohio, we had a wonderful surprise of the big, black, powerful Percheron 6 horse hitch. It was amazing!
Now that it is October, you’d think the September fair would be behind the fair-goers. But it’s not true. The memories that last a life time as the 2019 fair book cover stated go on and on. One of mine this year, that keeps coming to mind, was the magnificent 6 horse Percheron Hitch. Oh, my gosh. It was amazing. Did you see it? I don’t know if it’s the clip-clop of the massive hooves in unison, or the jingle of the double tree chains that sounded like jingle bells, but as they entered the main arena gate, it simply took my breath away.
It was told, during their presentation with the American flags waving from the rear of the wagon, that Juanita Barricklow and her husband Roger, had seen them at Equine Affair in Columbus, Ohio and invited Whispery Pines Percherons to our Little State Fair, several years prior to her passing.
Hitched and waiting patiently behind the historical food tent that stands at ring side and the barn just behind it waiting their cue to enter the ring, I scurried over to see them up-close. I marveled at their majestic magnificence. I snapped a few awesome pictures at dusk. I was awe struck by their massive, sleek, shiny black bodies and my eye level being about their shoulder of their two-thousand-pound bodies. Then I scurried to position myself along the rail ring side waiting the event. My heart skipped a beat when I heard in the distant the approaching clip-clop of their massive hooves and the jingle of the harness as they approached the gate.
And did you see driver Sam asking the hitch to perform the “loading dock maneuver”? With voice and reins he directed them to back the “delivery wagon” into place as they would have done for loading or unloading back-in-the-day. Oh, my! The stillness as we all watched. With voice commands they stepped sideways, attentively listening to their driver. I can’t even think how long and how much training it would take to teach a single horse this maneuver, let alone 6 of them precisely working together to do so. Heck, I often have trouble backing a 2-horse trailer! But they were phenomenally good. And, once he completed his maneuver, the crowd heartily applauded.
The next morning as I entered her barn, Kellie was happy to share tidbits about her horse business while watering her horses. Her husband pulled logs from the woods, had it milled into lumber, then built the wagon box we saw last evening. Each collar weighs about 80 pounds; the harness about 120 pounds. It takes 6 workers two hours to get them harnessed, braided, hitched and ready, not to mention bathing and such.
And did you know there are certain places for the horses selected for the hitch? There is the wheel team with the ability to stop the wagon; the lead, the most reliable and fastest far away from the driver and only his voice and lines to guide them; and in the middle the swing holding it all together. All of her horse hitch are geldings. Wow! Did you know? I sure didn’t.
And such fun when Teresa Siemer rode in the back of the wagon and gave us a live Facebook video feed giving us the feeling of what it was like to be riding in the wagon behind the powerful hitch. So amazing. Even if you aren’t such a horse lover as I am, you would surely freeze in place and watch this as it passed you by.
After the fair, this memory lives on thanks to the Barricklow’s foresight to have them be a part of our Little State Fair. Hats off to Whispery Pines Percherons as they head back to their hometown, Kingsville, Ohio, Ashtabula County near Lake Erie. We loved the horses.
(In case you missed it, visit their website http://www.whisperypinescarriagerideslogging.com)
Sherry is a regular contributor to The Press. Her stories of her life on the farm, both then and now, are sprinkled with peace, love and joy! Her book My Farmhouse Journal: Memories and Recipes is available on Amazon or through the author. You can reach her and follow her blog at www.sherryphillipsmitchell.com