As it turns out, Blue Ribbon Days Percherons’ 6-horse hitch was one of the surprise performers at the Fantasia shows during the 2014 Equine Affaire in Ohio. Their participation in the event wasn’t quite a surprise to me though, because I follow the hitch’s Facebook page.
Since I formed a particular interest in Blue Ribbon Days Percherons by following their page, I thought I would take the opportunity of meeting and talking with the driver of the hitch, Dean Woodbury, while he and the horses were attending Equine Affaire.
I had a lot of questions, and I thought a lot of other draft horse hitch fans who follow their page might have some of the same questions so Dean was kind enough to answer even my silliest questions.
First, I had to ask about their plans for current World Champion Percheron Mare, Unique. Unique currently serves as the right wheel horse for the hitch.
“We might do some embryo transfers off of her,” Dean said. “I’ve wanted to breed her every year. We are going to talk about it this year.”
It seems that although there are no current plans for Unique to carry a foal of her own, there may be some more horses in the future with her powerful genetics thanks to embryo transfer.
In the winter of 2014, the hitch’s Facebook page introduced a new horse, Melody. Melody’s debut as a member of the hitch was at the Gentle Giants $100,000 Invitational in February 2014. This event was broadcast live on RFD-TV so I was able to watch her performance.
Here’s some information about Melody:
“She’s grey,” Dean said. “You can’t tell. She is really dark. She has some grey in her face is all.”
I apparently wasn’t the first person to ask about Melody’s color and longevity in the hitch. Melody was introduced on their Facebook page as a substitute for a hitch mare nearly due to foal or nursing a foal during the time of the Gentle Giants Invitational. I was curious about Melody’s coat color because most draft horse hitch members are of uniform color; apparently, it isn’t much of an issue in this case.
“We won’t dye her,” Dean said. “And she is good enough that it doesn’t matter. She will probably be a permanent (member of the hitch) as either the right or left lead of the six.“
While Dean was in Texas for the Gentle Giants Invitational, he and a team of the Blue Ribbon Days Percherons mares were featured on several news broadcasts. During the broadcasts, Dean let the reporters take the lines and drive the team. I was certainly jealous of the reporters but more than anything, I was fearful for the safety of the horses and the equipment in the hands of novice drivers.
“It was crazy, but I was up there,” Dean said. “I wasn’t going to let them too close to anything. They had no fear.
“There were a lot of people that saw it on the news. It was a big drawer for the show and us.”
As Blue Ribbon Days Percherons look to the future 2014 show season, they aren’t slowing down. The 2014 World Percheron Congress will be held in October in Massachusetts and they are looking forward to the event.
“Come to the World Congress,” Dean said. “It should be a good one.“
The Blue Ribbon Days Percherons will show halter and hitch horses of both sexes during the event.
“We’ll probably bring a stud or two and some young horses,” Dean said. “Hopefully we’ll have a few geldings there too. Hopefully have a gelding team or four or something.”
Did you hear that fellow draft horse enthusiasts? Look for a hitch of geldings as well as mares to be shown in the future under the Blue Ribbon Days Percherons name.
Without a doubt, 2014 looks to be an exciting year for the group. I hope they keep their Facebook page current, because I know I’ll be watching, and I’m sure some of the rest of you will be too.