Thursday, July 30, 2009

Performance Spotlight--Draft Horse Barrel Racing

I didn't actually spend all of last week with my family. I took a break over the weekend while the guys went camping. I would have gone with them, but they went primitive camping... You know, I'm not a girly girl, but there are some things I just can't embrace. Thirty six hours with seven boys and no bathroom falls squarely into that category!

So, I ended up with an entire day to myself which I spent at the Arapahoe County Fair in Aurora, Colorado. I arrived early and wandered around for a bit, taking in the sights. It wasn't long, however, before I found myself settled in at the horse show ring, camera in hand, happily watching a Colorado Draft Horse Association member show.

Since no one was waiting for me at home, I stayed for the entire show. All the classes were interesting, but it was the very last class--Draft Horse Barrel Race--that most tickled my fancy. Here are a few of the many (!) pictures I took of the ongoings.
Draft horse barrel racing has just two rules regarding tack. The first is that only driving bridles are to be used. Because the regular lines would be much too long, most of the riders used their their side checks as reins.
The second rule is that saddles of any sort are strictly forbidden!
Most of the racers followed the slow and steady rule.This lovely Clydesdale marched around the entire pattern at a walk.Here he is rounding the last barrel...and racing for home.The Belgian went a bit faster.
Looking good at the last barrel!Her time was fast enough for second place. According to the announcer, this Clydesdale had never been ridden prior to this class.There were a few rough moments, but mostly he acquitted himself nicely.Not everyone was so lucky. This mare got overly excited and bucked her rider off.Here she is again in a more cooperative moment. The eventual class winner was this grey Percheron.
Compared to the other horses in the class, this one was Scamper.He actually cantered between barrels...and still managed some nice, tight turns.Around the last barrel and racing for home!It wasn't even close--he won by a mile!Ok, performance showers, this is the perfect event for all your in motion draft horses. All you need is a driving bridle, a barrel and maybe a cowboy doll. It just doesn't get easier than that! In fact, I think I'm going to go unpack my customized Wixom right now so that he can get a start on his barrel racing career.

22 comments:

  1. Hah, that's so cute! Maybe I'll have to make a driving bridle for my CB and throw him in Other Performance :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's awesome. I've heard of it before, but those are great pics. And that percheron... prrrreeeetty... I do have to ask: The reins are connected or split? Look like just one loop, but you said some were from the harness so I was just checking. Not that I have a driving bridle to use anyway...

    ReplyDelete
  3. oH MAH GAWD HOW CUTE!!!! and I hope you got a boatload of photos of that perchie because his dappling is incredible!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ha! I bet I have at least a hundred pictures of that Percheron and in most of them he's hitched to his equally gorgeous and slightly more dappled teammate. They competed in all the farm team classes--log skidding, farm implement, feed team race and the obstacle course. I think I have draft related blog fodder for weeks to come!

    Laura, the reins are closed. Usually the chain runs up through the rings on either side of the bridle crownpiece and then back to the harness's saddle section. I'm not explaining it well, but when I post pictures of the harness bridles you should be able to make it out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Argh, now I wish I still had my palomino Wixom. (who is now sitting on someone's body shelf somewhere all thanks to one very naughty kitten...)

    Cool photos, Jennifer, thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. That second picture of the Belgian is totally Wixom!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this! Figures that the Perchie won it, they are just such athletic drafties and that one was particularly handsome! I also love the conformation on the second Clyde, the one who'd never been ridden proir to this event. I have a TB/Perch cross and have a newfound love for the draft breeds. Fun post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I laughed out loud at the line about the percheron being scamper! This was an awesome post, thanks for sharing! Now I need to make a driving bridle for my silverado...

    ReplyDelete
  9. OK, but wait - does this go in english games or western games? Or other performance?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Erin, I'd put it in Other Performance. It involves a driving bridle and no saddle so it's really hard to consider it anything but "Other". Just my opinion!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just saw this. I just got home from an exhibition that had draft horse barrels. Super fun night. I placed 2nd with a clyde cross. Posted a 24 second run. Not bad!!!

    I think there were close to 20 horse and rider combos. Great turn out and hysterical moments!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so cute! I love this reference! Thank you so much for sharing :) your tack is the best! If you ever make it please share! Thanks for all you do for this blog :). -Ayla R.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very cool, and timely. I was just participating in a critique thread where someone said that drafty types can't bend. I just linked them to your blog. Oh yes they can!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Photos of the 2012 Draft Horse Barrel Racing class at the Arapahoe County Fair can be found here and here. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  15. AWESOME! I never knew they did that! How cool!
    I think I may do a draft barrel racing set up at my next show, could I use some of these photos for referances please?
    Thanks Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Performance showers are always welcome to use my photos for live show reference. All I ask is that they are not republished without permission.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great story and photos, thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  18. i would love to put my shire in an event like this do they have these in canada specifically manitoba :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'd love to have a draft horse to enter in this in real life!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'd love to set this up at a live show! I've been a bit intimidated to show performance but this looks really easy. I just need to find someone to make me a driving bridle... One question: Do you know if the horses are allowed to show with braided tails or manes? Thanks! I know this is an old post, but I still really like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've photographed this event a couple times. Put "draft horse barrel racing" in the blogger search box, and you should find the other posts.

      In my experience, none of the horses have worn decorations. They're farm team horses, rather than show hitch type horses. However, there's no rule against it, at least not for the Colorado Draft Horse Association. As a model horse judge, I wouldn't mark you down for using a braided model.

      Delete