Our horses are our co-workers and our companions. They willingly put a lot of effort into pulling our customers around and for that, they deserve and receive the best care possible. We feed them a mixture of timothy and alfalfa hay which is sweet and tasty and very high in protein so they have lots of energy. They are routinely fed every day and are given a special ration so as not to get them sick. If horses are given food that is NOT regular to their diet – this can make them sick. This is why we do not like people to bring food from home for them without our permission.
Draft horses DO NOT need a heated shelter. Putting them in a heated stable could be considered cruel as they would not be able to grow that nice thick coat – that they have to protect themselves from winter elements. As long as they have shelter available to protect them from certain conditions, such as wind or rain, they are happy. Of course, sometimes, there is nothing more they like than to stand out directly in the rain. Ask us more about such things when coming on a sleigh ride.
Horse do not bed down so bedding used as for cattle, is not necessary. Horses usually sleep standing up. They are very smart and they keep their pens quite clean -keeping dropping contained to one area is quite common.
They get groomed every day before the harness goes on. The harness is comfortable and well adjusted so it’s easy on their shoulders to pull the sleighs. They wear special shoes with spikes on the toes and heels for traction so they never slip on ice or snow. Everyday, after the harness comes off – the first thing that most of them do is have a roll, in the fresh snow, to dry themselves off. We do not blanket draft horses -like saddle horses. Blanketing them would stop their hair from growing and create a human-made problem – sickness. Also, they would not be able to withstand the weather conditions as well. Many people do not understand the marvels of nature – take for instance the wild horses – who looks after them?? They have survived – even to this day.
Draft horses like to work – this is what they were bred for – we do not have to force them. They work mostly in the winter and spend the summer frolicking in a big field of grass. They do some odd jobs in the summer like wagon rides, farm work, and logging. We also sometimes take them to some small fairs to compete in draft horse competitions like log skidding and cart and wagon classes.
During the weekends in the month of October, they pull wagons at North Arm Farms in Pemberton. Here, people come from all over to find the perfect pumpkin from the Sturdy’s pumpkin patch. You can visit the farm and enjoy our wagon rides.
Our team King and Chief were winners at the Duncan Fair in the summer of 2005. Impressively, Chief won Reserve Grande overall. Thanks to Brian Clayton for showing them there.