Winter Scene ~ Those Beautiful Clydesdale Hooves


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Budweiser Clydesdale Commercials: Remembering Favorites – 2

The Little Donkey That Could

Like many of Budweiser’s Clydesdale commercials, this one aired first during a Super Bowl — in this case, the 2004 edition.

A Dalmatian Channels Mickey Goldmill

This 2008 commercial is an inspirational story with Dalmatians and set to the theme from Rocky.

Winter Scene ~ One Horse Open Sleigh

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Over One Hundred Horse-Drawn Antique Carriages In Historic Christmas Parade

In Lebanon, Ohio the Antique Horse Drawn Carriage Parade has become one of the most anticipated Christmas celebrations. People travel afar to see this time honored tradition.

The unique Christmas parade features more than 100 antique horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets of beautiful historic downtown Lebanon.

Each year, hundreds of horses and thousands of local Lebanon, Ohio residents prepare for the coming of Christmas.

As night falls, historic buildings and candle-lit streets provide the perfect backdrop for this parade.

People of all ages line Lebanon’s charming downtown streets, candles in hand, anxiously awaiting the first of 100 horse-drawn antique carriages to pass by.

Held every year on the first Saturday in December, this Christmas parade has become one of the most unique and beautiful holiday celebrations in the Midwest.

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Source: Examiner News
Photos: Warren County, Ohio

Farmer Lives Yesterday With His Percheron Teams


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The magnificent Percheron horses show their power as they pull the heavy plough across the fields of the Sampson family farm near Ringwood in the southern English county of Hampshire, England

This nostalgic scene could come straight from the pages of a history book.

However, this is just an ordinary working day for farmer Robert Sampson – who has chosen to stay true to the traditional ways of his family by using horses.

The Sampson family has owned Harbridge Farm since 1882 and farming with horses has always been a part of their history.

Mr. Sampson says that ‘using horses is slow but for some jobs they are better, such as rolling crops, because the machine works better if you do it slowly.

‘We have 265 acres of land and the horses work on anything and everything.

Robert Sampson’s determination to remain loyal to the old ways has brought many challenges.

The horse-drawn ploughs can no longer be bought. It is necessary for him to convert all the machinery himself from equipment designed to be pulled by tractor.

He says, ‘I’m doing my bit to save the environment because I am producing my own fuel and I am self-sufficient with the horses’.

Robert Sampson has worked with Percheron horses his whole life. At his farm in Hampshire he breeds Percherons, both pure and part bred; trains heavy horses for agricultural work, leisure driving and riding.  He and his wife have trained 350 Percherons over the years

All the work on the farm is done with their Percherons  even though a tractor is several times faster.  Each day, Sampson and his horses are out to plough and roll the ground, to sow crops and to turn hay.

Robert Sampson says that, at the end of the day, working with the horses is much more satisfying. ‘I do it because I enjoy it, I love it.

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Link: Sampson Percherons

Re-written from news sources:
BBC News
Daily Mail-UK

Pictures:  Phil Yeomans/BNPS

When It Comes To Raising Clydesdales … Age Doesn’t Matter

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 Norm Wilke is proud of his girls.

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“It’s a hobby,” said Norm, who is 75 years old.

He keeps the Clydesdale mares in a stable near his Bargain Barn warehouse in Shiloh, Missouri.

He has raised Clydesdales for the past 17 years. Two mares, “Ruby” and “Babe”, stay at the Bargain Barn.

“Dawn” grazes near his farmhouse off Illinois 161 in Belleville. All three are pregnant and should deliver their foals in early spring. Norm plans to keep these three foals.

“I’d like to raise a few babies again.”

Most are dark brown (bay) with black manes, a white blaze on the forehead and white feet.

“They call those white stockings,” said Norm who grew up in St. Libory and has been around horses all his life.

Norm was asked about the gentle giant draft horses, famed mascots of Anheuser-Busch.

“People from Anheuser-Busch came out to look at it. The width of the white blaze was just right and so were the length of the stockings.”

Being chosen is also referred to as “making the hitch.” The foal’s father is from a Clydesdale farm in Springfield.

Norm was asked how he started raising Clydesdales and how did he drive them.

“I’ve always liked horsin’ around. When I was about 60, I thought it was time for retirement, time to try something new.

I went to an auction and got my first team of draft horses in Columbia, Missouri. They were both females and easy to train.”

Norm uses reins to guide the horses. Usually three are in a line. The middle horse has to be adaptable, able to turn by side-stepping, “To be good, they have to be ground-stompers and pick up their feet and hold themselves up and look proud.”

He drives them in local parades, most recently Mascoutah’s homecoming.

The reporter continued to ask Norm about his his pride and joy … his Clydesdales.

Do you have a favorite horse?
“”Dawn” had a foal this spring that qualified to make the team of Clydesdales at Anheuser-Busch.”

How much do they eat?
“They each eat a gallon and a half of grain a day and go through two-thirds of a bale of hay a day,” said Norm. “I have to keep the trough full because they can drink three to four gallons at a time.”

How big are Clydesdales at birth and how long do they usually live?
“Babies are about 3 feet tall at birth and weigh 125 pounds. Adult Clydesdales are 6 feet tall at the shoulder and usually weigh between 1,600 and 2,200 pounds. Most Clydesdales live to 20-25 years of age.

“Most of the babies are born late at night. I stay up with them, but if I leave for awhile, that’s usually when they have them.”

When can people visit the horses?
 “They can come by anytime we’re open,” said Norm. Sometimes people come by after we’re closed but the horses are still out.” Visitors may pet them but are not allowed to feed them.

Norm is proud to still be enjoying the Clydesdales.
He plans to continue, regardless of his age.

600 Clydesdales From Across America Display Horsepower At World Clydesdale Show This Weekend

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  “Angel “and “Missy” prepare for World Class Show
with Ken and Sonja Airgood

In an American first, the annual world showcase event for Clydesdale horses — the big, stylish breed of draft-style animals made famous by the Budweiser hitch — will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

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“Jake” of the Budweiser Team
gets beauty treatment.

Organizers said they would have felt the show was an unqualified success with 500 horses. Well over 600 stallions, mares and geldings of all ages and from all across North America have registered to be shown in a variety of classes.

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“Flower Girl” and “Penny” arrive from Alberta, Canada
with owner, Allen Gordeyko.

“It’s really a terrific opportunity to have a show of this quality here,” said Ken Airgood of rural Marshall. He and his wife, Sonja, have been breeding and raising Clydesdales for almost 10 years

Classes at the show will range from halter classes, which are like beauty pageants, to pleasure riding classes to genuinely exciting driving classes where elegant rigs pulled by the powerful animals compete against each other.

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The carriages and wagons are powered by as many as six of the huge, high-stepping horses harnessed together, driven by expert drivers who handle up to 40 pounds of reins.

There’s little room for error, and drivers need to be strong, capable and confident to handle horses that average about a ton each.

As they wait for the shiny show harnesses to be carefully attached to the cart, carriage or wagon they will be pulling, the towering horses fairly dance with excitement, eager to be off.

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“The breed has a reputation for being tractable. They are bigger than the light horse breeds, of course, but you handle and train them the same way you’d train any other breed, with consistency, discipline, rewards and praise.  It’s important, though, not to be intimidated,” Airgood said.

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“The draft horse people are so welcoming and really helpful as you begin to learn about the horses,” he said.

“If you are at a show, and you have something break on a harness, for example, three guys will trip over themselves to help you get it fixed or replaced, and these are the same people you’ll be competing against in the next class.

It’s a great community.”

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Airgood believes the popularity of all the draft breeds is increasing.

While there are several other popular draft breeds of horses, including Belgians, Percherons and Shires, the Clydesdales are undoubtedly the best-known heavy horse breed, thanks to the buzz surrounding the Budweiser hitches.

“They have really made the Clydesdales, which originated in Scotland, instantly recognizable.”

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Ken and his wife have always loved the Clydesdales’ appearance.

“They’re just classy-looking to me. They have so much presence and personality,” he said.

Draft Teams ~ Gotta Love Those Names !

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Tom and Jerry

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Lucy and Ethel 

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 Mickey and Minnie

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Ike and Mike

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Molly and Dolly

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Nip and Tuck

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Pete and Repete

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And not to be missed … Mule Teams!

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Sonny and Cher

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Fred and Ted

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Jack and Bill

(Read all about Jack and Bill)

If you know more clever names for teams, please let me know. I’m collecting them.  Would appreciate photos, also. Thanks!

Power Of Draft Horses Captured By Artist, Adeline Halvorson

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 Adeline Halvorson knew at an early age that she wanted to be an artist. In her rural upbringing, animals, especially horses, played a very important role. Her entire working life has been dedicated to her career through experimentation, endless reading and hours of practice. She has developed techniques entirely her own, first in pastel, then in acrylic.

She spends most of her time researching and creating the paintings she markets to a growing group of collectors. She enjoys the variety of diverse subjects – floral, still life, dogs, or a childhood scene, and most often, her favorite equine subject matter.

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Years of riding and grooming horses has given Halvorson a knowledge of anatomy and muscle movement that her painting skills bring to life on the canvas. The shapes and movement of muscle, variety and texture of harness and trappings, as well as the horse and its interaction with its human counterparts provide endless artistic inspiration for one who grew up with a love for one of the world’s most beautiful animals.

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“My growth as an artist is of prime importance to me. I am continually researching new and better ways to approach my painting, all the while keeping in mind that “brush mileage” is my greatest teacher. I paint the subjects that are true to my heart, and definitely believe the words of Sir Winston Churchill:  “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man”.

Among Halvorson’s many Showings, Publications and Awards was her selection to design and paint the Official Canadian Olympic Equestrian Poster for Los Angeles ’84. She also designed the 1998 Silver Dollar for the Royal Canadian Mint, commemorating the 125th anniversary of the founding of the North West Mounted Police.

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View the Adeline Halvorson website to see additional stunning works by this artist and to read about her current showings and achievements.

Link:   Adeline Halvorson Website

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All Halvorson artwork is displayed with the permission of the artist and each holds a copywrite.

Huge Draft Horses Bring History To County Fair

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 Under a sweltering sun,  hundreds of fairgoers sat patiently in the stands of the Washington County Fairgrounds arena, waiting for a time machine.

It appeared soon enough – two powerful draft horses pulling the lumbering wagon and making it seem like a plaything.

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“They are really what made America land of the free. This horsepower did that,” intoned Forest Grove’s Lyle Spiesschaert, the show’s announcer.

The horses on display weren’t just a window into the nation’s history – when dry goods were piled high on carts and wagons – but also a piece of the founding fabric of Washington County, Oregon.

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As suburban development has spread west, the large tracts of land necessary to raise these large animals have disappeared and many of their caretakers have moved south to Yamhill County.

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Duane Van Dyke, the producer of the draft horse show, made the move two years ago after his wife, Diane, made it clear that they needed to buy more land or sell some horses.

That was an easy call for Duane. He couldn’t bear to raise fewer horses, so the family moved south.  “We ran out of room for horses,” Van Dyke said.

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Duane Van Dyke said his father grew up farming with horses and couldn’t wait until they got a tractor on the family farm.

Now his dad has a pair of working drafts that Van Dyke gave him – and he’s settled into plowing with horses again.

The 72-acre Van Dyke farm is big enough to allow him to pasture the animals year-round, and work them as well.

“It’s kind of a way of life for us,” Van Dyke said.

The “us” is the whole family. His daughter-in-law, and niece both drove in the County Fair.  Both snagged top honors in the competition.

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The patriarchs of the three driving teams on exhibition at the fair are all longtime friends.

“Big Mike and I practically came up together,” Van Dyke said.  And Dave Cunningham drove his team of Belgians, all spruced up in gold tack.

“There is no bigger thrill in the world – you’re sitting up on that wagon (and) your leaders are 40 to 50 feet away from you,” Van Dyke said.

“You’d liken it not to a sports car but more like a big diesel rig,” he added.

They’re all bound by the love of the animals and old fashioned horsepower.

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