Draft pick | PostIndependent.com

Draft pick

RIFLE – Draft horses originally bred in Europe as beasts of burden in the field and in battle were in the spotlight here over the weekend.

Spectators made their way to the Garfield County Fairgrounds from as far away as California, and showmen from as far as Texas, for the second annual Colorado Draft Horse Classic.

The event included chuckwagon races, horse showings and events for all four breeds of draft horses: Clydesdale, Belgian, Percheron and Shire.

As a growing event, and as one of the few events of its kind in the nation, people came from all over to participate in the event.

Steve Graves came from Norco, Calif., to watch the event.

“We’re going to the shows so we can see what mistakes we don’t need to make,” said Graves, who has a Shire draft horse he wants to start showing.

Barb Bomier of Red Cliff came with a friend to learn more about the horses before using them on a ranch in North Dakota.

She went to a draft horse show in Denver and attended workshops on the horses as far away as Mississippi.

Though some attended to watch and learn, there was no lack of dedicated showmen at the event.

“There’s a considerable amount of expertise around Rifle,” said Brit McLin of Silt, as he prepared his stallion shire, Scotlan Premier, for a show.

Scotlan is massive. He has hooves the size of a dessert plate, and a neck as thick as a truck tire. He is six feet tall at the nape of his neck, and the top of his head is least a foot above that. He weighs 1,950 pounds.

The enormous size of the horses can make transporting and taking care of them difficult and expensive.

Dennis Holzrichter of Denver, who helped McLin prepare his horse for show, said draft horses eat three times as much as a normal horse. The horses also cost more at the vet and farrier than a normal horse, because of their size.

Despite the cost, Holzrichter said it is worth it.

“They’re just big puppy dogs,” he said. “They’re gentle, even tempered, and don’t get as goofy as riding horses do.”

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535


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