Belgian Stepping Stones
All of the draft breeds were worse off when World War II ended in 1945 than they had been before it started. The mechanization of agriculture was well underway and breeding was grinding to a halt. The Belgians, however, had retained a larger number of animals, in large part because they'd started with more ... and in particular, more young horses. Interestingly, several stallions from the era have emerged as cornerstones of the modern Belgian breed. Who were they?
Click here to find out!
Nation Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides
One of the most unique draft horse experiences in the country is tucked away in western Wyoming, offering breathtaking views of the Tetons and a rare opportunity to view elk, bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, wolves, coyotes and eagles. This one-of-a-kind operation is located on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming, and has been operating as a government contract operation since 1965, when the Jaycees first offered sleigh rides. Today the sleigh and wagon ride program is managed by Double H Bar through a contract with the Grand Teton Association for the National Elk Refuge. The sleigh rides offer an intimate way to view wildlife since the elk are tolerant of the horses and sleighs.
Read more about about this experience in the Winter 2020-'21 issue!
Steve Andrews — Gentleman of the Highest Bid
In terms of what's changed in the heavy horse scene over the past four decades, it would be far easier to list what hasn't changed. The value of draft horses, for example, has peaked and slumped, risen and fallen, and found new heights yet again. From the highs of the late '70s and early '80s to the lows of the late '80s, all the way through to the current boom, the public auctions are where it's played out most noticeably. It's where the action is and has always been. Through each of these chapters, one distinct voice from the auction block has been a constant. By profession, Steve Andrews of Wooster, Ohio, is identified as an auctioneer, but he is far more. He deserves, in fact, at least part of the credit for the very state of the heavy horse market in America.
Learn more about Steve's auctioneer career in the Winter 2020-'21' issue!
Strike Up That Band!
The reenactment of Copenhagen’s own J.H. Raymond’s Cornet Band proved to be a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
Copenhagen, New York, celebrated its 150th anniversary in August of 2019. Three days' worth of festivities included historical tours, a craft fair, pony rides, a petting zoo, a dance, fireworks and ice cream and pie socials. The unanimous highlight, however, was a cornet band paying homage to a local musical troupe that had entertained residents in and around the Copenhagen area for nearly a century.
Copenhagen's origins are said to have begun in 1801, when Nathan Munger and his son, Nathan Jr., erected a sawmill, on the banks of Deer River. The village that grew around them became known as Munger’s Mills (in what was already the town of Denmark). According to the narrative, most of the residents of Munger’s Mills were Federalists supportive of British rule, but after news arrived of Britain's victorious naval attack on Copenhagen, Denmark, Republicans at a village meeting agreed to take on the name of Copenhagen to shame locals for their support of the Brits. Sixty-eight years later, Copenhagen was incorporated.
Click here to read the full story!
An Iconic Wagon's Next Mission
Frank Castella of Hyde Park, New York (hometown of Franklin Delano Roosevelt), is a Renaissance man if there ever was one. A Percheron Hall of Fame inductee, retired owner/operator of a printing business, craftsman, builder of hitch wagons, restorer of cars, a carriage service operator, show superintendent, husband, father and grandfather, his resume is long and distinguished! But at 77, he is concerned about the future of one of his best-known brainchildren: The Warrior Wagon, which he unveiled at the 2014 World Percheron Congress (WPC) in West Springfield, Massachusetts. (see The Draft Horse Journal, Winter 2014-2015).
Hoping to provide the WPC with a platform for honoring veterans, Frank invested over two years building the vehicle. Countless hours were spent acquiring parts, coordinating with volunteers and constructing the unique wheelchair-accessible rig. Finishing just in the nick of time, Frank wheeled the wagon in opening ceremony presentations each day of the event.
Read more about carrying on this great tradition & how you can help in the Autumn 2020 issue!
Heavy Horse Sports Driving in Europe
When the subject of driving heavy horses comes up, most people in North America conjure up images of show hitches. Of course, the six and eight-horse hitches are the ones that make the deepest impression, but there is so much more there, ranging from single carts, to standard pairs, tandem, random, unicorns, four-abreast, and conventional four-, six- and eight-horse hitches. All of these are a major part of the show circuit.
In Europe, however, most of these categories simply do not exist. There are agricultural and trade turnouts, as well as events known by their French name of “Attelages de Prestige,” which refers to beautiful vehicles, often restored antiques. And then, there is something else, and that is sports (or combined) driving. The idea that draft horses cannot thunder around intricate obstacles has been laid aside, and draft horse aficionados of almost every breed revel in putting their horses through intricate courses at speed.
Learn more about the sport in the Autumn 2020 issue!
History of Draft Horses
The Industrial Revolution proved to be responsible for both the rise and collapse of the heavy horse in America. Demand for draft animals was spurred on by the growing transportation, construction and agricultural needs of the nation. The last half of the 19th century made draft horse breeding both essential and profitable. Massive importations from Europe took place. The period also ushered in the development of the present day breeds of heavy horses. The number of horses and mules in The United States peaked in 1920, at about 26 million. The groundwork for today’s agriculture had been laid.
The horse lost the battle of the streets to the automotive industry rather quickly. As for the battle of the agricultural fields, it fought very tenaciously, but eventually yielded in most cases to greatly improved tractor power. By 1950, it was indeed, on thin ice... Read more
History of The Draft Horse Journal
The post WW II years were not kind to the draft horse and mule. Both horse numbers and horse use plummeted. The number of animals being exhibited dwindled and many shows dropped heavy horses altogether. The industry needed a boost and it got one when the first issue of The Draft Horse Journal was published in May 1964. New interest was stimulated and the heavy horse has since made a convincing resurgence. From the 28 pages in the first issue to over 300 in recent ones, The Journal has grown, evolved and progressed right along with the draft horse trade.
In addition to the magazine’s traditional content, covering breeding, raising, showing, selling and using all breeds of heavy horses, the modern version includes veterinary advice from “America’s Draft Horse Vet,” Dr. A.J. Neumann; historical accounts by the publication’s founder, Maurice Telleen; legal advice from Ken Sandoe;... Read more
Draft Horse and Mule Youth & Beginners Manual
"This is the first bulletin prepared by the DRAFT HORSE & MULE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA which was incorporated in the state of Illinois in October of 1980. It contains information that should prove valuable to the new or beginning draft horse and mule owner, whether he or she be a youth or an adult.
"Several men with many years of experience have given generously of their time to help prepare this bulletin. We do not claim that it is without error, we only hope to give you some information that will make it more interesting and hopefully contribute to your success, as you begin working with man's most noble helper–the draft horse and mule." Click here to download
I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every page of each publication plus all your online FB info and don't want to miss a thing!
Thank you for all your hard work and may I add, your touches of humor in the magazine. For those of us that are rookies to the draft horse world, it is a gold mine of information not to mention stunning photography and excellent human interest stories. My pages have underlines and post it notes and are shown to my neighbors who are always amazed at the photographs of the horses and what they can do. Nothing spreads interest like an adorable little foal, too. I am so thrilled at having met a few of these people that show up on the pages and recognize many, many names that I look forward to meeting. It's a wonderful retirement for me to be able to participate in this equine world, it sure brings back memories of my life as a farm kid and my riding horses. Thank you again! Stay safe!
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Letter to the Editor
I would like to take this opportunity: the Draft Horse Journal’s fiftieth year in publication: to acknowledge and bestow gratitude upon, not only the founders of this fine magazine, but the current editor and his team who relentlessly strive to unify our industry through their quality quarterly publication.
The draft horse industry is not a product-driven industry. We do not yield an item that humans willingly wish to consume; like milk, meat, feathers or fur. Except for a rare sliver of history, when naturally-synthesized premarin was of value, the draft horse has contributed little in the last 75 years... Read more