By Kim Lemmon
As most of you know, I reached my goal of owning a draft horse a few years ago, but it is a lot more work to care for her and show her than I anticipated. I’ll probably never do much more than watch and admire the horses and exhibitors at the big shows.
I still love the horses and all that goes with them; I’m just lazy. Recently I’ve started trying to become more involved in the draft horse industry without showing my mare by starting to make friends with folks who do breed, own and show draft horses on a larger scale so I can live through them vicariously.
Barb Watson of Eagle Creek Farm in Montpelier, Ohio, is one of folks I have recently gotten to know a bit better. She was even kind enough to share the photos, which are displayed on this page, of her newborn Percheron foals. She has eight mares bred to foal this year and as of Jan. 15 a colt and a filly had arrived.
In addition to her breeding program, Barb owns a six-horse team of mares that travels the country showing at large draft horse shows. I have admired her team and her work ethic for years. She may be the owner but she is works right beside her employees. I have watched her hook her horse to her cart herself before she entered a ladies cart class.
I don’t know much about breeding horses and even less about breeding draft horses, but the possibility of eight foals seemed like a lot to me so I asked Barb why she bred so many mares this year.
“I have a couple of mares that are getting older, so I’d like to make sure they get bred, plus I’d like to maybe have a replacement filly,” Barb said.
I guess you would have to be constantly breeding and training replacement horses and planning for the future to keep a hitch competitive with the best horses in the nation. I watch more hitch classes than halter classes but Barb has her sights set on those classes as well.
“If I have some fancy foals, I like to take them out to a few shows,” she said. “It is easy for me to go to three Class A shows without driving over 4 hours (Ohio State Fair, Indiana State Fair, Michigan Great Lakes International Draft Horse Show and Pull). It’s easier to sell some if they have been out to be seen.”
Well, I’m not much of a judge on which foals will be the winners or the losers at the horse shows, but in my book, these two little darlings are winners.
I wonder how I will make it until April 30 when my little mini mare is due. I can hardly wait already. Since this will be my first experience with a foal of my own I’m especially anxious. I may have to put Barb’s cell number on speed dial since after eight births in 2013 she will certainly be an expert.
Be sure to send me photos of your foals and I’ll post them as well.
Thank you Barb Watson and Courtney Uttech for sharing these great photos.