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We have been asked to potentially be prepared to do a short demo promoting the versatility of a draft horse. Historically, the crowds are quite large (100's?). It will be a new experience for us. I think it is a great opportunity to promote the big guys though, so we agreed. I have googled "draft horse versatility" type videos and such, but everything has EITHER driving, logging demo, pulling contest, OR riding somehow. I can't find any demo that presents true versatility--how the same horse is capable of more than one thing.

Meanwhile, I have to come up with a plan that will fill the time slot they assign us (they are thinking 40-50 minutes, but TBD), and I believe it has to be done each day for 3 days. Discussions have involved things such ground driving a harnessed team into the arena, doing some simple obstacles/backing/etc, hitching to and pulling something heavy like a log, hitching to a forecart to grade the arena, then unhitching the team and putting a single into shafts to pull a carriage around briefly. Next possibly unharnessing, saddling, and giving a brief riding demo. I'm even considering the idea of having my tiny little 9 year old daughter show her skills with one of the boys--either on the ground or riding him, to demonstrate their gentle nature. All this would be narrated.

This has just come up today, so I haven't been able to give it much thought, but I thought I'd throw it out to you guys. I want to represent the industry in a good light. What would you do as a presenter? If you were a spectator, what would you like to see? GO!

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-02-06 08:50:30 (CST)

Now that's a great opportunity and I think with your enthusiasm you will be just the right ambassador, but there is no way that you can show all the aspects of draft horse versatility in the allotted time by yourself or with your horses, such as farm work, logging, recreational use, hitching up for fun, riding, showing in its various forms . If I were you, I would show the your horses the way you use them as much as this is possible on the site but I would also have a display of various pictures showing those things you won't be able to demonstrate there. You could use Draft Horse Calendar, Rural Heritage Magazine Cover pictures ( thereby promoting them) as well as Draft Horse Journal cover pictures. And certainly you will want to tell how draft horses can contribute to the daily life just by taking care of them.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

hayburner says 2016-02-06 15:10:31 (CST)

hi - I'm so glad that somebody else is interested in demonstrating the versatility of these "heavy breeds". I, for one, get so bored watching those gorgeous 4-6-8 horse hitches driving around beautifully groomed arenas. Don't get me wrong, they are impressive and create that sense of wonder that only the big guys can generate - but that ain't my world. Let's have some fun, for goodness' sake. I LOVE the idea of your daughter riding and handling a draft horse. I think showing how drafts can play games by barrel racing, pole bending, team penning, cutting, etc would be a real crowd pleaser. (It always was when my 18+hh Percheron ran barrels - we were slow but put both of our hearts into it!) Let's face it, most of own horses because we enjoy them - they rarely have to earn their keep. Good luck with whatever you choose to do but having some fun along the way would be a good thing!

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Fort Causeway says 2016-02-06 20:48:48 (CST)

I think the temperment and genetics of most draft horse breeds allow them to fit a versatile model that can meet packing, riding, driving both single and multiple specifications, as needed. It is no mistake they are used for crowd control for their awesome presence alone...
If you dressed up as knights and did some jousting I am sure you would win the crowd.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2016-02-10 13:55:51 (CST)

With the short time to plan for this upcoming event, we won't be doing an arena demo as first discussed. Rather, we will basically be providing harnessing demos in the barn and then providing a people-mover service throughout the day. The event is providing us use of the stalls--2 for the horses and one for our tack and equipment, plus parking areas for our wagon and such.

Mind you, I have never competed in a fair or large-scale livestock event of any type. I've had a craft booth before, and that's about it. They have a goal to educate the spectators (estimated to be over 13000 over the weekend) on horses in general (think small scale "equine affair"), with vendor booths, stallion showcases, horses for sale, clinicians, demonstrations, competitions, etc. The past focus has been more on light/riding horses since that what people in this area primarily have. This year, they are wanting more emphasis on the draft horse. Hence the reason we have been recruited.

I am having trouble getting info, so would love help from any of you more experienced folks....I know they want our stall and harnessing area neat and professional, and they want us near our horses at all times when stalled or on break between shuttle moving to answer questions. What are some ideas for a professional set up?

I'm thinking a placard on each horse's stall with their name, breed, age, height, and our farm name. Other decorations directly on the stall are probably a no go, as my horses will likely eat them (they are young geldings!) For the center tack stall, I'm brainstorming hanging our farm sign, perhaps a small table with business cards, brochures, etc? Should I plan my tack stall to be private and off limits or set up more decoratively to actually display the work harness and equipment we use? I could prepare photos to hang of the horses at work on our farm and around town to hang in that stall. If the display idea is better, what is a good, cost-efficient (like hubby can build quickly) way to display a harness and collar?

I would greatly appreciate any ideas you can offer! Thanks in advance!

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2016-02-10 22:20:19 (CST)

The only advice I can give would be to work the horses and have the fresh off of them before you go. So many new sounds and sights especially if the team hasn't been to town much. I usually try to drive them hour or so before I take them around crowd. With my team it really helps if I can go early and drive the route few times with no body there to get the routine down.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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