All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

How to ride a draft horse

by Ehow

Are you looking for a super-sized experience? Try riding a great big land whale. A draft horse is the biggest horse out there. To ride a draft horse is like riding on a giant, moving couch. You have to be ready for some serious leg stretching to get around the hefty bulk of a draft horse's back. Because their bones and feet are so much bigger and heavier than a regular-sized horse, you'll have to adjust to the longer strides and the jarring gaits. The sheer size of the horse is what makes the ride so different so hang on, have fun and wear a helmet.

How to Ride a Draft Horse


Once the draft horse is bridled up, you can ride a draft horse bareback, with a saddle or a bareback pad. It depends on your riding ability or what makes you most comfortable. Some people like stirrups to help them balance while other people like climbing on their draft horse out in the middle of a field bareback in only a halter.


Even if your horse has a saddle, you may need to use a mounting block to get on board. Drafts can measure above 19 hands, and this is a long way up to raise your foot. If you don't have a mounting block, angle your horse next to a low wall, a fence, or a bale of hay to climb up and ease onto his back. If you are riding bareback, you will definitely have to climb on something to get onto his back.


The first thing you will notice is that your legs are almost doing the splits. You'll notice even more when you try and get off your draft for the first time. A draft has a wider body, and your legs will be wider around him. It takes some adjusting, and if you get leg cramps up near your hips, remove your foot from the stirrup and place that leg in front of the saddle for a few minutes to relieve the cramp.


Try out the draft horse at all three gaits: walk, trot and canter. Some drafts have to be really encouraged to canter, with a tap of a riding whip or incessant clucking. If you do get a canter, then hold on, because it can be a bouncy gait with those huge hooves. Especially grab a bunch of mane to keep your balance if you're riding bareback when going from canter to trot because the trot can be extremely bumpy. You don't want to slide off as it's a long way down.


Once you get used to your draft horse's bigger strides, you can relax and enjoy the ride. The great thing about riding a draft is their genuine relaxed attitude and willingness to please. They are a hard-working breed, and even on a relaxed trail ride, they will power forward with a lazy ease.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buy a Shire from RiceCreekShires.com

If you are thinking about buying a Shire, there are several important points to consider.

- The Shire is the largest horse in the world and therefore needs ample room for both stabling and transportation.

- Being such a big horse, it has an appetite to match, eating more than most other breeds. As it is a cold-blooded breed, it requires a carefully balanced diet, especially regarding concentrates as they can easily make it to grow too quickly.

- What type of Shire do you prefer - broad and thick-set, tall and lean, or tall and thick- set?

- If you want a big tall horse, then buy an adult. Measure the animal yourself as it is not uncommon that an owner may exaggerate the height at the withers. A stallion that is said to be 18 hh may actually be `only´ 17.3 hh. There aren’t as many Shires over 18hh (183cm) as one might think. When it comes to foals and young horses, there isn’t any reliable way to determine the final adult height. Several factors, such as the environment, heritability, diet and care, determine how big a horse will grow.

There are many ways to estimate adult height but often it doesn’t turn out as expected. Smaller horses can produce larger offspring and a big mare can produce a little foal.

You need to find out if there is a blacksmith in your neighbourhood who knows how to shoe Shires. Hooves need careful and regular attention as they are prone to cracking. Read more about this under “hoof-link” in the menu. You should also find out if you can obtain shoes to fit your horse. They are not available everywhere.

Tack may be another problem, e.g. extra wide saddles, long girths, extra large bridles, long bits, and specially made harness. These are available, but at a price.

When you have thought this over and dealt with the problems, the next step is to visit Shire horse breeders and brokers - even abroad. 

Shire horses are known to be calm and easy to handle, but each has its own individual personality and background which together form the horse´s disposition.

Get to know it and find out as much as you can about it -

- by being with it

- by handling it

- by lifting its feet

- run your hands over its legs, sinews and joints (if you´re unsure, ask an experienced person to help you)

- watch the horse´s gait and movements

- if possible, meet the horse´s `family´ and offspring. Look for likenesses; for instance, if the dam of the horse you are inspecting has a defect, check that this has not been passed on

- question the owner at length – every answer (or lack of one) can tell you something.

Making a purchase based on a photo is a risky business - you may be overlooking vital information about the horse, as the examples above can suggest. Would you buy a car just by looking at a photo? The paintwork might be first class, but the engine worn out.

We recommend that you visit several Shire breeders and view different horses, even if you´ve already decided upon a particular horse. This will give you a broader perspective and that may make the difference between a successful purchase and an embarrassing loss.

Find out -

- if the horse has been regularly vaccinated and de-wormed

- if it is registered

- if it has been shown

- if it has been ridden or been driven

- if it has foaled

- if it has had any problems or shown any defects

- if it has a complete pedigree

Of course the horse should be examined by a veterinary surgeon and insured. If you are buying a more expensive horse you could even consider having it X-rayed, which might reveal unseen faults.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shire Horse

by The Equinest


Descendant from the English Great Horse of the Middle Ages, the Shire horse is among the largest of the draft breeds .Origins

Appearing in Britan around the end of the 16th century when strong animals were needed to pull heavy wagons and coaches long distances over rough terrain. The Shire derived from blood of forest horses, and Fresian and Flanders horse imports.

The English Great horse is still considered the Shire horse’s principle ancestor, although its bloodlines were slowly reduced in the stock as the influx of Dutch Fresian blood grew stronger.

Modern Shire horses are renowned for their strength, a pair of Shire horses have pulled 16.5 tons of weight on granite paving tiles.


Average height Over 17 hands

Extremely large animals

Incredible pulling strength

One of the biggest horses in the world


Long neck for a draft horse, with wide shoulders

Legs are clean and muscular, hocks set for maximum leverage

Heavy feathering on back of legs

Big, round hooves

Traditional Colors



Big and gentle, the Shire is a docile giant


General riding

Show horses

Parade horse

Just an example of the lovely Shires that we have for sale at RiceCreekShires.com.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why are shire horses endangered?

by Wikianswers

•Are shire horses endangered?

Yes, because of their large size many people don't want them any longer. People tend to buy more athletic, lighter horses. However, I will always prefer a shire :)

•Why is a shire horse called a shire horse?

The shire horse is named a shire horse because it originated in the shire counties of England.

•Why horses are in endangered?

Horses themselves are not endangered but certain species are. Australia is home to the most wild horses in the world. They are brumbies, they are an official breed however, the other small percentage...

•When is a horse in endangered?

It depends where the horse is if it is in the wildlife it would be more endangered than a farm or ranch. Horses don't really get indangered because people don't want to kill them like with cows for...

•Why are horses endangered?

Probably mostly because horses today are used mostly for riding, not for breeding.

Why not keep the Shire bloodlines strong? We have lovely Shires for sale at Rice Creek Shires.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Buy a Draft Horse

The draft horse has a famously laid back personality and makes a great all around horse for the entire family to enjoy. Whether it's a lazy ride out on the trail, some arena work or time under harness driving through the countryside, if you buy a draft, you'll feel like you have a giant, sweet dog living out in your pasture. Drafts do eat a bit more than a regular sized horse and they need larger tack and horseshoes, if you choose to shoe. But they are worth all the super-sized equipment, because they bring a gentle attitude and a good, dependable work ethic.

Buy a wonderful Shire from RiceCreekShires.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Draft Horses Used to Lay Fiber-Optic Cable

by slashdot

"In Vermont, FairPoint Communications has enlisted draft horses to help lay fiber-optic cable in remote locations. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has pledged to bring broadband to every last mile by 2013, including many remote areas that have been neglected in the past. Private companies have been unwilling to invest in the expensive infrastructure needed to reach these areas. However, Vermont's congressional delegation helped to secure $410 million in federal money earmarked for broadband development and Vermont has partnered with private companies, like FairPoint, to bring high-speed Internet access to all Vermonters. From the article: 'The difficulty of getting cable to "every last mile," is where Fred, the cable-carrying draft horse, comes in. "Hopefully it pays off," says Hastings. "We could maybe get a four-wheeler in here," he continues, gesturing to the cleared swath of boggy, fern-studded terrain that he's working in today. But definitely not a truck, and Fred's impact is nearly invisible. Residents rarely complain about a draft horse tromping through their yards.'"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Buying Draft Horses on the 'Net

by Lorri Robinson

What can you gain by using the Internet, instead of the more traditional avenues to draft horse ownership?

You are able to look for draft horses anywhere in the world, at any time of day.

You aren't restricted to horses available in your immediate area.

You save money by not having to make long distance calls until you're ready to deal.

You make fewer trips to inspect horses, instead of spending weeks going to farm after farm.

From the comfort of your home you are able to do a lot of research you may not have otherwise do.

You can take your time.

You met lots of wonderful people you might never otherwise have know.

But in many ways, buying a draft horse over the Internet is like buying a horse any other way. You still need to:

Do your homework before you buy.

Ask questions about breeding, training, and temperament.

Obtain photos and videos.

Be critical with the photos and videos—if anything bothers you, address the issue in your next email or phone call.

Get a pre-purchase vet exam.

When you find a horse you are genuinely interested in, send a refundable deposit.

If you are serious and can arrange it, go see the animal before making a commitment.

Lorri Robinson of Monticello, Georgia, wrote about her experience "Buying Horses in Cyberspace" in the Winter 1999 issue of Rural Heritage.

If you are interested in buying Shires, please contact us at Rice Creek Shires.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Get A Load of This! Bent Creek Shade Rock #S59584

How about using draft horses for pulling competitions?

Written by by Lynn Telleen

It likely started with a dirty look. Then, maybe a gesture, possibly obscene. Finally, one farmer told the other that his team was nothing compared to his own. Off came the gloves and, of course, this led to a bet and the competition to end all doubts. What and how much they pulled is anyone's guess. Where and when it took place is "sketchy," but most accounts place it here in the good, ol' U.S.A.

Regardless of the lack of historical records, the sport of horse pulling is bigger today than it has ever been. There are more pulls in more states; the horses are better, the training, feed and conditioning regimens are more advanced and, consequently, the loads being pulled are heavier each year. On September 23, 2003, two different heavyweight teams both broke the record for a load at the Hillsdale County Fair, Hillsdale, Michigan, with full distance pulls of 27-1/2 feet lugging 4,675 lbs. The entries of Jerald Keegan and Ken Heightchew, Reading, Michigan, share the title with Ray Powell and Sons, Newcastle, Kentucky. The record they broke (4,650 lbs. by Boomer Clark, Belfast, New York) only stood one year. Many other records have been broken in the past decade. Those in the know expect more of the same in our near future.

The demand for top pullers, too, has skyrocketed. It is not uncommon for the best pullers to sell for $30,000 or more–or for mere weanlings to bring thousands. No doubt about it–horse pulling has reached a new pinnacle, and it is here to stay.

If you know anything at all about pulling horses, you know that "all the best ones come from Daviess County, Indiana" ... well, mostly. J. Cary Hall of Sadieville, Kentucky (population 170), might disagree just a little. The 65-year-old, better known as "Shady," is the breeder, owner and primary cheerleader of a coming 9-year-old Belgian stallion that is steadily and conclusively creating a name for himself in the pulling scene.

Genetics is everything–in cattle, swine, poultry, flowers, hitch horses ... why would it be any different for pulling horses? It isn't, but as Shady explains, until recently, [most] horse pullers did not pay much attention to pedigrees. Only in the past decade or so, did they start to take notice of the bloodlines that emphasized and intensified a horse's strength and agility–which factors heavily into their ability to pull heavy loads short distances.


Speaking of genetics, when I asked Cary how he got the nickname, Shady, he said it came from his dad. The elder Shady was a tobacco farmer near Georgetown, Kentucky. He farmed with horses until Cary was about 12 years old. In that area and time, a tobacco grower would sell his crop at an auction warehouse. As a 16-year-old, Cary took a weekend job at one of those warehouses for a man named C.V. Ethington. "I ended up working for him for 25 years," he recalls. "When I was 20 years old, my dad got killed in a farming accident. After that, Ethington called me 'Little Shady.'"

He explains that his father was a large man–6'-5" tall and wore a size 54 sport coat. Though he can't verify it, Cary assumes that folks called his dad "Shady" because of the considerable shadow he cast. Over the years, "Little Shady" was shortened to just "Shady" and it stuck. Today, he even signs his checks with just that one word: "Shady."

A neighbor and friend of the elder Shady, Billy Green, proved to be a positive influence on the younger Shady. Cary refers to him not only as one of his mentors, but as a "real teamster that pulled horses." Billy would let Cary work with his teams and he taught the youngster how to mouth a horse, to shoe and to adjust harness and fit collars. "Billy tried to make a first-class horseman out of me," he recalls. "When I was old enough to have a car and was dating, if I happened by his place and he was out hitching, I'd stop, get out and hook for him. There'd be dust all over me when I showed up for my date. By the time I got out of high school, I was pulling horses with Billy. He, and my experiences with him, really taught me a lot. He was the Will Rogers of our little crossroads community."

From the early 1960s to the early '70s, Shady pulled and broke horses. He married Janice, his high school sweetheart, in 1963 and they had two children. Shady then got BIG into farming (3,000 to 5,000 acres), including 140 to 150 acres of tobacco, running a cow-calf operation and a feedlot, not to mention the raising of his young family. He got too busy for horse pulling and gave up the sport ... gave up draft horses altogether. After four bad droughts in five years, he started a trucking company in 1983 (which he named "Shady Creek Trucking," in honor of his dad). That business is going strong today.

"It was the late '80s before I stopped farming on such a large scale," he explains. "Then I really wanted to get back into draft horses. I bought a pair of geldings to work around the farm. Then Janice and I went to a farm sale to buy a wagon. Instead, we found seven starved mares at the auction. We bought five of them, got them home and poured the groceries to them."

This got Cary even more interested and he bred the mares ... and bought others. In the mid-'90s, Don Raider, who has served as yet another of Shady's mentors, took Hall to Daviess County, Indiana. "Don told me that if I liked to raise colts, I should raise pulling colts." Hall started buying pulling-type mares and thus, began his career breeding Belgian horses of the pulling variety.

In 2000, he bred his mare Shirley's Queen to C.D.'s Rock Supreme (Spring 2004 DHJ). Rock Supreme, bred by Johnny Wagler Jr., stood 18 hh and weighed in at 2,150 lbs. Shirley's Queen stood 18.2 hh and weighed 2,280 lbs. She came by her size honestly. Lisa's Patrick, her paternal grandsire, was a huge horse that had stood in Daviess County. Her maternal grandsire was Grange's Pete Farceur. Larry and Ben Reed used a son of the horse to produce a lot of good pullers. Pete was by Big Ben Farceur, who was aptly named weighing in at 2,800 lbs!

Pullers know C.D.'s Rock Supreme, unquestionably one of the greatest pulling sires ever, like hitchmen know Korry's Captain and halter fans know Jay-Lou-Supreme. Rock's maternal grandsire was Orndorff's Conqueror Supreme. His paternal grandsire was Sunny Lane Farceur and his maternal great-grandsire was Sparrow's Lionel Resque. A great-great-grandsire is Duke Farceur II, who stood at Charlie and Ralph House's for a spell. Do you think Charlie Orndorff, Herbert and Don Schneckloth, Ross and Dick Sparrow or Charlie and Ralph House ever tried to raise a pulling horse? Not likely, but as Shady points out, they did try to raise good, big horses.

"The specialization that exists today in draft horses was grossly absent some 40 years ago," he observes. As some breeders concentrated on producing taller, high-stepping, long-necked hitch horses, others went for the wide-chests, ample girth and substantive hind quarters favored by pullers. In both camps, the gene pools became (and are becomeing) ever more concentrated. Shady is concerned for the future.

There are actually nine C.D. Rock Supreme sons standing for stallion service today. All are tightly bred, with one exception. Shady's mare, Shirley's Queen, doesn't descend from Rock or King, as the majority of today's pulling stock does.

Shirley's foal arrived on March 28, 2001, and was registered as Bent Creek Shade Rock. He was big and correct. A few months later, as a weanling, he was running with one other stud colt. "Don Raider was up and wanted to buy the other one," recalls Shady. "When I told him I was planning to keep Shade Rock for a stud, he said I should cut him because he was 'the wrong color (a bit of roan) and his head was too big!'"

Jim, the other colt (whom Raider bought), ended up in the successful Heightchew & Humphrey team that won Versailles, Owenton, Nicholasville, Cynthiana, Taylorsville & Harrodsburg last year. As for Shade Rock, he consumed the groceries and grew up ... intact.

In 2003, Shady's herd sire Cracker's Red George suffered a heart attack and died. The horse was just nine years old and it was a real kick in the pants to the Halls, as George had been siring some very good pulling colts–such as Cracker, owned by Ingram Wessell, Norland, Ontario, Canada; and Coley, that Jim Bob Adams used to win the Indiana State Fair pull with the last two years. This left Shady with few options, so he bred Shade Rock to two registered mares and one grade. Though Shade Rock was just two years old, he stood 17.3 hh and tipped the scales at 1,800 lbs. At any rate, Shade Rock received an early and unexpected promotion to "senior herd sire" status.

Shade Rock's first colt, C.D. Cracker Berry, was sold at the 2004 Southern Indiana-Daviess County Sale, consigned by J.R. Adams and Willard Wagler. The catalog listed the colt as "a stud prospect" and he fetched $4,000 at just three-and-a-half months of age. Out of a Homestead's Cracker Supreme daughter owned by J.R., the colt was bought by Jeff, Mike and Brent Wagler, Montgomery, Indiana. Today the horse is five years old and the Wagler Bros. are standing him at stud in Daviess County.

Willard Wagler (Jeff, Mike and Brent's father) says there are about 10 mares in foal to Cracker Berry for 2010. The Waglers are quite happy with his foals so far and are not having any difficulties finding buyers for them. Willard is a part-owner of C.D. Cracker Jack, the 3/4-brother to Cracker Berry that sold for $16,000 as a weanling. (In case you were wondering, the other members of the "syndicate" that own Cracker Jack include Rick Lowery, Mary Raider, Jim Knepp, Harry Knepp, John Wagler Jr., Vick Lengacher, and–get this–Shady Hall!) Willard concedes that his sons' horse is taller and longer in the back than Jack, but both studs are "siring the right kind."

Berry was the ONLY Shade Rock offspring to ever sell at public auction. All others have been sold right off the farm. "When I started raising pulling colts," explains Shady, "I knew that for my foals to be seen by the right people–the people looking for this kind of horse, that there were three places a man had to have them: JoJo Duvall and Glen Russelburg, Beaver Dam, Kentucky, are visited by all the pullers of the Midwest and South; all of the East Coast pullers come and go at Danny and Mose Hershberger's, Fredericksburg, Ohio; and everybody from every place comes to Vick and Marvin Lengacher's, Montgomery, Indiana when the Daviess County Sales (the most prominent pulling horse markets in North America) are going on."

Are Shade Rock offspring resident at these three farms, you ask? All three. "Fifty percent of the battle is putting good colts in good hands," sums up Shady.

There are a lot of reasons for the resident horses at JoJo Duvall's place to be examined by tons of pullers. She and Glen Russelburg organize and host the annual Bluegrass Draft Horse and Mule Championship, the largest single-day pull in the U.S., boarding many of the entrants headed to and from the event. They also host a party the night before the pull that draws upwards of 200 people–and specifically, the type of people that would take an interest in pulling colts and their backgrounds.

In addition, JoJo and Glen run Community Equine Supply, specializing in vitamins for pulling horses and mules. This, too, brings the "right kind" of horse person around. And lastly, they live just two miles off the Wendell Ford Parkway, handy for anyone in the area.

Brothers Danny and Mose Hershberger have three Shade Rock sons, one of which they are standing at stud. Marvin Lengacher has a yearling son of Shade Rock. And it doesn't stop there.

Greg and Amy Kelly, Braeside, Ontario, Canada, are relatively new to the pulling scene. Though Greg has been involved with horses since he was a kid, he started pulling just eight years ago. Amy says, "He has always been interested in raising his own horses, but has found that many of the horses around here are from show operations and do not have the 'body' Greg likes for pulling horses.

"In the fall of 2007, Greg called Cary, because he had an ad for a colt in The Draft Horse Journal that Greg liked the looks of. Our first colt from Cary is not by Shade Rock. We went down to pick up the colt and saw Shade Rock 'in person.' Greg instantly liked him and told Cary to keep him in mind when there were colts available from him.

"The following fall, Cary called, saying that he had some Shade Rock colts ready and he sent us some pictures. Greg called and said he was very interested in one. He went down a few weeks later to pick him up.

"Greg has long term plans of breeding his mares with this colt and raising pulling stock. He has some pretty fair mares and he has pulled a couple of them in the past." Greg is realistic in that he does not expect any immediate returns, but feels that having a Shade Rock son will pay off in the years to come.

Jeremy Johnson, Westmoreland, Kansas, is a happy return buyer to Bent Creek Farm. Shady sold him a half-brother to Shade Rock, then found him three mares in Daviess County. Jeremy has since returned for a pair of young geldings, including a Shade Rock son that he plans to pull with his original horse. "I saw Cary’s ad in The Draft Horse Journal and called him," says Jeremy. "The reason I chose to buy from him is because I knew he had raised several good horses. I have been very happy with all the horses I have bought from Cary."

Of his Shade Rock son, he says, "I’m excited about Tim because I know he is going to be big and poweful. I've sent him to the Amish here in Kansas the last two summers. They really like him. I won’t start pulling him for at least another year to give him time to finish growing. There’s not a lot of horses with these bloodlines in our area, so I’m looking forward to start pulling them."

Bryan Davis, Grinnell, Iowa, bred a home-raised mare to Shade Rock last year. "We already own two grandsons of C.D. Rock that we are pulling. And we know that Shade Rock’s offspring are pullers. A very large percentage of them are becoming pulling horses, or are raising pullers. He is retaining some of the older-style conformation, which we happen to like. I wanted to raise either a filly to retain for our herd and breed to our stud, or a colt to use on our mares. We are trying to strengthen our herd on the pulling side. We already have decent pulling blood through our current stud, Bry-Don’s Jaysen. Shade Rock is not only big, but conformationaly sound, and since he is roan, he will help us retain the dark red in the colts we are raising. He has a very strong mare line behind him on both sides."

Bryan's mare, Bry-Don’s Supreme Maggie, stands 18 hh and weighs 2,200 lbs. He describes her as "dark red, very clean and smooth, with tremendous bottoms." Her 2009 Shade Rock foal was a filly that Bryan describes as "looking very good. Shelly is a very nice red sorrel, white mane and tail, and white blaze, and is very conformationally correct–good hocks and extremely good-footed for a weanling, and most importantly, she is very level headed." So good, that he bred the mare back, in addition to another mare, Bry-Don’s Kayla, a daughter of Kauffman’s Klancy (1992 Reserve All-American Stud Foal).

"We are very happy with what Jaysen and our brood mares are producing," admits Bryan, "but as with any good breeding operation, you have to bring a new horse in somewhere. We think that Shade Rock is a very good fit for our herd. His offspring are speaking for themselves."

So which mare lines are emerging as the best cross(es) for Shade Rock? No simple answer exists, Janice Hall explains, "A large percentage of pulling horses go back to the Sunny Lane family, particularily those in Daviess County, Indiana. Our 18 brood mares descend from the proven bloodlines of Blondie III, One-Eyed Bill, Dolly Buck, Cracker's Red George, King and C.D.'s Rock Supreme. They range from 17 to 18 hh and weigh from 1,700 to 2,200 lbs., yet are feminine in conformation.

"To say which of these crosses is likely to produce a record-breaking puller is no different than trying to breed a Kentucky Derby winner–the pedigree and conformation of the animal are important, but so are the unknowns of heart and training!

"Bred to these mares, Shade Rock has produced sizable colts with qualities we think are relevant to the continued success of the Belgian breed. But like any athlete, the horse’s influence as a puller may depend on the abilities and skill of the handler or teamster."

JoJo Duvall applauds the Halls. "Shady and Janice are both knowledgeable about pulling horses and pedigrees," she says. "They are great promoters of the breed, they have worked very hard to develop the breeding program they have and I wish them all the success in the world."


Today, Shade Rock stands 18 hh and weighs in at 2,300 lbs. He wears a 32-inch collar and, in Shady's terms, is "the pride of the farm." Shady has 13 of his own mares in foal to Shade Rock for 2010. He says two or three are already spoken for. The others will likely take care of themselves.

Harry Knepp, Plainville, Indiana, confirms, "Shade Rock is a big horse with a deep girth, he stands square and is cornered out well. He has a little snap to him, but he's not too aggressive–he has a very good disposition. He consistently throws colts with size and his good disposition when bred to good mares."

With just 35 registered foals on the ground (and two grades), Shade Rock is definitely an open book–open to an early chapter, no less. But his fan club is growing and includes some heavy hitters. Highly respected horseman, plowing match champion and horse farmer, Charlie Orme, Mount Sterling, Kentucky, included. He is expecting four foals by the horse in 2010–and Charlie owns his own stallion! "Shade Rock is an outstanding stallion, with size and the kind of disposition you want in a pulling horse," he says. "I expect he'll make as much or more of an impact on the pulling industry as his sire did."

You have to admit–there's a heck of a big shadow being cast across the future of the horse pulling industry ... and its source ... well, that's a smidge south of Daviess County, Indiana.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interesting Facts about Shires

Shires--Eastern Connecticut Shire Association

Shire ancestry dates back as far as the Roman Conquest of England. They are a solidly built horse with long legs, prolific feathering, and move in a very flashy manner. They come in all solid colors, as well as grey and roan. Although white legs is common, white above the knee and hocks is generally frowned upon. At one time, they were considered to be the largest horses in the world, with some individuals standing better than 19HH and weighing in at over 2200 pounds. The largest horse on record, according to Rural Heritage, a magazine dedicated to the working draft and oxen, was a Shire named Samson. He stood 21.2 1/2 HH, and weighed in at 3,360 pounds. Although all the other draft breeds can boast of individuals of huge weights and heights, this horse, measured in the year 1850, continues to tower over them all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Forest preserve district to buy draft horses?

Board members debate purchase for Ellis Equestrian Center

by Matt Schury


The Kendall County Forest Preserve District Board is considering purchasing two draft horses for operations at the Ellis Equestrian Center at 13986 McKanna Road near Minooka.

The horses would be used to pull hay wagons and a fancy cart for wedding parties, says Jason Pettit Kendall County Forest Preserve Director.

"Obviously we are looking to get as many people down there as possible and the draft horses would give us a little versatility to do that sort of thing," Pettit said.

The facility currently has six riding horses and a pony.

Julie Helicker, site supervisor for Ellis, says the bigger horses could also be used to give rides to larger adult riders.

According to Pettit, the district could purchase the horses from an auction this fall in Indiana and Iowa, which would be a little cheaper but would add the cost of transporting the animals.

Ideally, Pettit said, the district is hoping to find a local pair of horses that would be less expensive.

Pettit mentioned that there was a recommendation at a recent forest preserve committee meeting not to exceed a price of $6,000 for the horses. The Forest Preserve District Board has yet to vote on the matter.

Pettit says the draft horses were included as part of the original plan for Ellis and Helicker said there is room in the stable for the two extra horses.

Helicker estimates the price for a farm bred draft horse at $1,500 to $2,500 each. She mentioned that ideally the horses would be five to 12 years old and would be about 17 hands or 68 inches tall and 2,000 pounds.

"The draft horses don't last as long as the riding horses so that's why I'm looking for a younger horse," Helicker said. "They are a larger breed of horse and they are built to pull loads."

The horses could live 20 to 25 years, depending on how hard they are worked, while riding horses can be useful for up to 30 years, Helicker said.

Less expensive, more local

The Forest Preserve District Board took up the issue for the first time during their meeting last week.

Board member Suzanne Petrella says she is attempting to get more information from the local horse community.

"I was going to contact those people to get more information about less expensive draft horses," Petrella said. "It's not that I'm for or against it's just that it would be less expensive and more local."

Board member John Purcell said that he was not in favor of the draft horses and instead the district needs to concentrate on the facility.

"I have a real concern we are going to have a negative fund balance at the end of the year and then we are going to sit there and scratch our heads and say 'How did this happen?'" Purcell said. "I'd just rather put the kibosh on this right now."

The funds to buy the horses would come from the district's general operations fund and not the bond money approved for capital improvements.

"Our budget going into this year for the forest preserve was going to take the fund balance of the forest preserve down substantially and we are not even close on the revenue side," Purcell said.

Petrella said that part of the reason it makes sense to look into buying the horses is that the district already purchased the cart for weddings.

"Just because they got an expensive cart-it can sit there I don't need to put another $5,000 into horses plus the feed they are going to eat," Board member Bob Davidson said.

Board member Nancy Martin told the board she had a problem with the amount of money they keep putting into Ellis.

"We keep saying we need to buy more things for revenue because of Ellis," Martin said. "You know Ellis is a beautiful place but we already sunk far more money into it than we ever thought we were going to and forest preserves aren't supposed to be about making money."

She added that she couldn't understand why they bought a cart and that the forest preserve could use a tractor to pull a hayrack for hay rides instead of horses.

Board member Jessie Hafenrichter countered that it wouldn't hurt for Pettit and Petrella to look into what the horses would cost.

"We are all talking about we can't afford and we don't even know what it is we can't afford," Hafenrichter said. "I mean knowledge can't hurt you. We don't have to buy it just because we find out."

'It's picking up'

The Ellis Equestrian Center opened last July and, according to numbers provided by Helicker, about 2,212 people have visited since then.

Between January and June this year about 1,214 people have gone to Ellis, half of them taking riding lessons. The other half were casual visitors and those attending events like the Earth Day expo and pony ride day.

Pettit said that overall the facility seems to be on an upward climb when it comes to attendance.

"It's picking up." Pettit said. "It's not like we are flooded with business but the house is definitely getting more attention."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reasons for buying draft horses.

by Animaroo.com

We all know that draft horses are usually placed in the category of heavy horses because of their bulky physic. During the era of pre-industrialization, draft horses and their crossbreeds were used for doing heavy tasks such as plugging farms and transporting weighty goods from one place to the other. Though there are numerous kinds of draft horses, all of them share mutual characteristics. However, their outer appearance diversely varies from one another. Today, draft horses are mostly used for joy rides as well as an earnings medium in the field of transportation. Nowadays, we are able witness draft horses that are lighter in size.

Because of their performance capabilities, draft horses are one of the most desired horses by people from all walks of life. Hence, the mission of finding draft horses on sale is considered problematic. Nonetheless, with the advancement in technologies, internet has served as an ideal source for finding draft horses on sale.

Before you make up your mind on buying a draft horse form sale, make sure that you have adequate money to support its maintenance. These gentle animals generally eat more than the other breeds of horses. Although their initial needs are larger, you will love them for their temperament and cool attitude.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mommy and stud colt

Interested in purchasing Shire horses? Please contact Rice Creek Shires.