Percherons the heavy hitters at inaugural draft show

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Express Ranches Percherons
Express Ranches Percherons. © Emma Miller / Phelps Media Group

Percherons were the winningest breed of the Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show in Wellington, Florida, earning more blues than any other of the heavy horse breeds on show.

As part of the North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series, the inaugural show gave teams the chance to gain points towards a spot at the finals in the fall. The weekend offered classes for each individual breed, as well as classes in which breeds competed head-to-head. Throughout the weekend, prize money totaled $125,000 with teams planning strategically for the shot at winning the lion’s share of the purse.

With classes ranging from the Classic Eight-Horse Hitch to the Unicorn class, the teamwork and versatility of gentle giants were on display as they pulled both four-wheel wagons and two-wheel carts in teams of two, four, six, and eight. Talented female drivers were showcased with two classes dedicated to women drivers and their hitches.

Victoria McCullough in the Ladies Cart
Victoria McCullough in the Ladies Cart.

The Express Ranches team of Percherons had a successful weekend, winning the Ladies Cart class as well as the Classic Six-Horse Hitch and Eight-Horse Hitch classes. Zubrod Percherons were another strong force, earning the blue in the Percheron Six-Horse Hitch, the Four-Horse Hitch and the Unicorn Hitch classes.

The dedication of each team was clearly on display through the beautifully adorned manes and tails of their horses, hitched with polished tack to each team’s unique wagon. The feeling of family and community was apparent, bringing the crowd together to celebrate the passion and love for the gentle giants.

“I am overjoyed at the response from the weekend and that everyone felt it was wholesome, relaxing and family orientated,” said sponsor and founder Victoria McCullough. “It was so exciting for everyone to get to experience something different in Wellington and it makes me happy that everyone involved enjoyed it.”

Equus Foundation rescued miniature horse Teddy meets the crowd at the Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show.
Equus Foundation rescued miniature horse Teddy meets the crowd at the Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show.

During the break on the final day, spectators got a chance to get up close and personal with Teddy, a rescue miniature pony that the Equus Foundation helped to rehome. Now owned by Georgina Bloomberg, Teddy is an example of the work of the Equus Foundation does. Also joining the Equus Foundation representatives were Jessica Springsteen and Clementine Goutal, who are both advocates for the foundation. They were treated to a ride in the hitches during the Unicorn class, getting a firsthand glimpse of what it is like to compete in the sport.

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