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Northstar Draft Horse Association Inc.
Showing the Big Ones!!
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Here are some of our club members at our local county fair. 

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Draft horse geldings have to have thier manes braided or "rolled" for halter classes so the judge can see the neck.  The "sprigs" are actually on a wire which is tied into the mane hair.  The mane is not actually braided it is more of a weave with a cloth.  The cloth adds color.  Once the mane is "braided" the horse cannot put its head down or it will loosen the braiding.  This is usually done just before they are ready to be shown.  His tail is also braided again for judging the muscle of the hind quarters. 
Mares however, do not have to have their manes braided for a halter class, but their tails must be.  All horses must have their manes and tails braided to show in hitch classes.  This is where they pull a cart or wagon.  The reason this is done is for safety purposes.  The mane is kept up and out of the way of the check reins and driving lines.  Tails are braided and rolled up so they cannot swish their tails and pull the lines out of the drivers hands.   This is also done so their tails don't get caught in the eveners and traces/tugs.  Traces/tugs are the part of the harness that hook to the eveners.  Eveners are the pieces that are attached to the wagon or cart that the horses pull.  When showing things are done a little more extravagantly, bows, ribbons and flowers are used to make things look more appealing.  This takes a while to get done and even longer for the handlers to learn how to do.  To understand this try to put french braids into a 2 or 3 year olds hair :-).

A halflinger yearling at its first show
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Hey dad brush my hair!

Buddy showing his first draft horse.
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Boy I love this horse :-)

Percheron yearling ready for halter class.
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Mom I told you I didn't want my hair this way!

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Of course we don't expect our young members to handle the big ones yet.  But our light horses are more then happy to teach them the lines.

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One of our young members at her second show.
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WAY TO GO E M!!

:-)