The 15th annual Old Fashioned Draft Horse, Mule and Pony Field Days was held on Oct. 3-4 at Glen-Dale Park in the Fawcett community near Peebles. The family-oriented event features draft horses, mules, and ponies in farm work demonstrations recalling an era when horses were vital to family farms.
Draft horse enthusiasts from the tri-state area participated in the two-day long event that was the brainchild of Dale and Glenna Grooms who have set aside a 20-acre area on their farm for the yearly event.
Rain on Saturday interfered with the competition, but Sunday dawned bright and clear. Participants hitched up their teams and went to work plowing long straight furrows across the park.
Food was served throughout the weekend in a sheltered picnic area.
The number of participants was down somewhat this year because of the rain on Friday. “There’s a lot involved in bringing animals and equipment to a draft horse show, the rain really interferes with how many will show up,” said Bob Wright of Cincinnati, who brought his team of Percheron draft horses to the event.
Draft horses were once a common sight in American culture. In days gone by, draft horses worked not only on farms, but were also a common sight on city streets drawing commercial and industrial wagons and carriages.
The advent of motored vehicles left these gentle giants in the wake of their dust. Their useful days being numbered, the breeding of draft horses declined significantly.
In recent years that trend has been somewhat reversed.
A growing number of hobbyist-breeders who raise draft horses for show are helping these animals regain some of the stature and numbers they once enjoyed. Additionally, the growth of Amish communities who farm with horses has contributed to their resurgence and popularity.
Events like Draft Horse Days provide an opportunity for people in today’s fast-paced world to revisit a time when these gentle animals were a valued and necessary part of American society.
Draft horses can be over six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 2,500 pounds. They are heavily muscled and stout, but also very gentle.
The Grooms’ have owned draft horses for over 40 years, and Dale was one of the founding members of the Southern Ohio Draft Association.