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Monday, 16 August 2010 12:21

25 Years Ago Spring/Early Summer 1983

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From general news sources and the Summer 1983 Draft Horse Journal)

The Summer '83 DHJ featured this registered Shire mare, Folly Farm Miranda, with her 1982 filly foal, Big Little Moonshine. Miranda was one of three Shire mares belonging to Audrey-Lyn & Jerry Stockton of Fort Collins, Colorado, at the time. They said the origin of the stable name was in the expression, "big ideas and little money." Here it is 25 years later and there is still quite a lot of that going around.

This is also a back-door way of paying tribute to another wonderful old friend of ours–Sue Wilson, who started the Stocktons off with their first registered Shires. Her enthusiasm was boundless and we enjoyed her company very much.

Ronald Reagan was president of the U.S. at that time and he presented a new idea for national defense. The national threat most feared was the Soviet Union. Reagan's view of the world was made up of two heavyweights, with China sort of warming up on the other track. President Reagan's idea was to stop thinking in terms of massive retaliation, but to create a missile shield that would enable every American citizen to sleep soundly every night. It was based on "Star Wars" technology. His characterization of the Soviet Union or "the evil empire" or, as he put it, "the focus of evil in the modern world."

Since both we and the Soviets are still around maybe it actually worked. Sort of.

Things have changed a lot. For instance, the price of oil reached $35 a barrel 25 years ago. However, a new agreement with the Saudis was cutting the price of crude to $29 a barrel. OPEC action was brought about only by a steady demand due to conservation measures and sharp price increases.

I am going to pass on one more thing from that year. A German magazine called Stern (really-how Teutonic can you get?) had acquired a 60-volume diary said to be written by Adolf Hitler during his thirteen years in power. Fortunately for them, it was never made into a publication.

The reporter who came up with this gem admitted that he bought a diary from a calligrapher from Stuttgart who had written it himself. The con artist wisely fled the country. I presume the reporter got canned. For all I know both may now reside in your town–or you may spot them at one of the fall horse sales. They would be quite old by now, probably speaking with heavy accents and throwing in a "Sieg Heil" at inappropriate times. Do not call us.

And now–the Summer of 1983 Draft Horse Journal.

It was a 164-page issue (good-sized for that period) and a very pleasant walk down memory lane for us. We have had a wonderful relationship with our horse and mule friends from Missouri from day one. Two professors at the University of Missouri at Columbia, Dr. Mel Bradley and his side-kick, Duane Dailey, were running all over the show-me state doing interviews of old jack and mule breeders. I believe those taped interviews still exist. They resulted in two fine books which are probably still available through the University. They are entitled The Missouri Mule: His Origin and Times Volume I & II by Melvin Bradley.

The first long feature in that issue was a leisurely trip through the Dover, Ohio, area with Howard and Glenna Johnstone, the "decal people" and Belgian breeders from Kansas. Great company and great horse country-mostly Belgians at that time. Still is, I think. Since it was 25 years ago and we've pages to go, I'm going to restrict our coverage to just one of the six stallion photos that we used and a picture I took of Howard at one of our many side stops. I am sure no one was ever blessed with more congenial fellow travelers than those of us who were lucky enough to do some traveling with Howard and Glenna.

I'll also throw in a photo of the shoeing stock taken at the Christ M.A. Miller farm with a stallion's hind foot in a position to work on. As we old relics say–"Those were the days.

This was followed by one of our earliest pictoral judging contests. This was our third class and consisted of four Clydesdale mares. Where did we take the pictures?–at Budweiser in St. Louis, of course. With a generous thanks to the memory of Berry Farrell and his crew who took a day out of their busy lives to make this happen.

We are now on page 30 as we amble through that old issue and find ourselves with the Allebachs and their Windermere Percherons in Pennsylvania. The Windermere Percherons had, in just a few years, become a power to reckon with at places such as the Farm Show in Harrisburg and the Ohio State Fair. Owned by Abe and Mary Allebach, they had carved out a substantial niche for themselves in the Percheron breed, all the while getting established in farming, milking cows–like good Pennsylvania farmers and raising kids. Their children took to farm life and the black and grey horses.

I'm going to run just one photo from that story. It shows Abe with a pair of his mares cutting wheat. If he still has this machine, it is now better than a hundred years old.

The Draft Horse and Mule Association of America was scheduling draft horse and mule mini-tours just about whenever they could whomp one up. They were pushing tours in Daviess County, Indiana, and another in eastern Ohio.

That issue must have been way too much fun to put together because on page 37, I found a picture of Dave McCafferty's six-up of all white horses. Here is how it happened. While taking photos of the high-selling horses at the Columbus sale in February, this man came up and introduced himself as Dave McCafferty from West Farmington, Ohio. He asked me if I had ever seen any white draft horses. Ever the smart aleck, I said, "Sure, I see them every day I'm home–old grey Percheron mares that have turned white." That is not what he had in mind. Nor are albinos what he had in mind.

And with that I better think seriously of closing this shop up before it is much too big. The rest will be in brief blasts.

Other items from that issue are the report that for the second consecutive year the volume of business in registered Belgians was at an all-time high. In the twelve month period ending on October 31, 1982, a total of 4,065 registrations were recorded by 1,500 breeders, an increase of 153 over the previous year. Transfers totalled 5,677, an increase of 301 over the prior year. Ohio led the way with Indiana in close pursuit with 653. Transfers were completed for breeders in 42 states. Let the good times roll!

The Clydes were also on a roll, a smaller one, but a roll nonetheless. The largest turnout at an annual meeting, 225 people, heard Mrs. Betty Groves report the good news. President Parke Brown did an excellent job of chairing the meeting. Happy days are here again!

What was the premier sale of 25 years ago? There was no question about it. It was the 35th annual sale held in conjunction with the Spring Stallion Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, was, in many respects the epicenter of the great draft horse revival of that period. We will close this column with the pictures of the four champions and top-selling horses of that venue.

 

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