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Questions on Draft Show Hitches

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  • Questions on Draft Show Hitches

    Just got back from Midwest Draft Show at MEC and came away with a couple questions for those who drive this type of hitch.
    I love watching them all, especially the 6s & 8s.
    Can I say: to those at the lines of those ginormous multiples.

    With all respect, who can tell me:

    1-Why the whip carried by the assistant in the 6s (or 8s) has a lash that doesn't seem as if it could reach more than maybe the butts of the Wheel horses.
    How is this intended to be used

    I ask as a ADS-ish Pleasure Driver who has been taught that the whip must have a lash that can touch the shoulder of the farthest horse in the hitch. And that it is used on the shoulder or barrel only.

    2-Style(tradition?) aside, why would a Lady Cart Driver choose a dress so short there is serious risk of I See London, I See France?

    Especially since the carts' suspension, coupled with the huge power in the strides of the horses gets you to bouncing & bracing your feet as a necessity.

    Aside: the upper body strength these ladies show has my utmost respect

    TIA for educating me.

    I admit my Bucket List now has two items added.
    *Drive a full Draft (I have - briefly - had the lines of a Draft Cross in my hands).
    Friend with a Percheron mare might help me cross this one off
    *Hold the lines of a team, 4 or - dare I even think it? - 6 or 8.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

  • #2
    If you are ever in Florida, you can schedule a 4 in hand lesson at Grand Oaks.

    I've got nothing on the whip length, but is it really possible to have a whip that reaches the shoulder of the leader in an 8 horse hitch that does not also end up hitting some other team horse behind it and potentially sending mixed signals? I mean that is a loooong lash to be accurate with and it is hard to see how it wouldn't interfere with other horses and I could see it being an issue in close quarters with other big hitches... So maybe since they have accepted it is ridiculous they, don't have a ridiculous rule?

    Also, I have yet to see a 4H driver in upper level CDE dressage have an unwound whip in the ring. It's long enough but it is tightly wound. Now I have seen the navigator using a telescoping whip iin addition to the driver in the warm up, but that is (obviously) put away en route to the ring
    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not sure but I wonder if the assistant's whip is intended for use when they've disembarked and are heading the horses? Or maybe it's a vestige of the custom of riding and driving? You seldom see it done on modern show hitches, but back in the day, an assistant often helped steer and enforce law and order by riding one of the horses. It's still common on work hitches. And in ceremonial situations like the Trooping of the Colours in England.

      if I still had my crew of crazies I would've invited you to visit and drive them. It's an amazing feeling to have that much horse power in your hands. Although, they tend to be much more relaxed and easy going than minis! Something that I always found interesting was that while it's a crapshoot for drivers to be respectful of you riding a horse on the road, never once can I recall all traffic NOT stopping for us while driving large horses. People turn into giddy little kids watching because it's so uncommon. We rented a house with a lengthy paved driveway back when my old Percheron was alive. He loved the work but could overdo it easily. So, he and I compromised by sticking to tooling up and down the drive. Cars would double back and stop at the top of the drive to take pictures! He ate it up and put on a show for them with the fanciest, sharpest step that his 26yo self was capable of.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks DMK - you can bet if I visit FL I will try like heck to get to Grand Oaks!
        I didn't notice if the Headers carried the whip with them when they dismounted the wagons.
        Your point about the lash touching other horses - Swing or Wheelers - makes sense too.
        Wish someone who drives a Draft 6 or more would chime in...
        That said, I have seen the lashes on 4-in-Hand whips very capably furled & re-furled (If that's the right term) - impressed the heck out of me... who is still at the bottom of the Whip Handling learning curve

        Wanderosa What "team of crazies" were you thinking to scare - Errr amaze - me with?

        Prez of our Club had a 4 of minis she drove to a buckboard wagonette.
        She also drives a pair of Belgians belonging to a neighbor.
        She is now down to a pair (same wagon), must remember to ask how that 4 felt.

        Hmmm... no thoughts on the mini-dresses?
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
          Thanks DMK - you can bet if I visit FL I will try like heck to get to Grand Oaks!
          I didn't notice if the Headers carried the whip with them when they dismounted the wagons.
          Your point about the lash touching other horses - Swing or Wheelers - makes sense too.
          Wish someone who drives a Draft 6 or more would chime in...
          That said, I have seen the lashes on 4-in-Hand whips very capably furled & re-furled (If that's the right term) - impressed the heck out of me... who is still at the bottom of the Whip Handling learning curve

          Wanderosa What "team of crazies" were you thinking to scare - Errr amaze - me with?

          Prez of our Club had a 4 of minis she drove to a buckboard wagonette.
          She also drives a pair of Belgians belonging to a neighbor.
          She is now down to a pair (same wagon), must remember to ask how that 4 felt.

          Hmmm... no thoughts on the mini-dresses?
          My big Belgians were a little spicy on the ground. Lol. And one was quite herdbound to his brother, who valued his alone time. It made for some exciting moments in the barn and pasture. In harness, they were as good as gold.

          You might poke your head onto the message board on Rural Heritage. Someone over there will surely know the answers to your questions. Remember Klaus, who popped over here onto COTH for a bit? He's a frequent contributor to both the Rural Heritage magazine and the boards. I would count him among the most knowledgable about draft horses in the US. And thfere's several other folks like him over there.

          ETA: There just aren't very many people who do drive a 6 or 8 in hand of draft horses. I think I've seen a few at the VDHMA show. But otherwise, it's gonna be Budweiser. Or some of the farms like Historic Prophetstown; where farm equipment calls for that much horse power. (Or the Amish, of course!) You really need a 53' trailer and tractor to haul all that around. Expensive hobby!

          Show hitches are a special case too in that they like tall, leggy horses for them. Such horses are beautiful and imposing but not well suited for farm work because of the sharp angle of draft. A "farm chunk" ideally has a 50/50 ratio of leg length to body depth. My Shire was a good bit taller than my Belgian team - 19hh to 17.3 and 18hh. But he was bred to be a wheel horse in a hitch and weighed a couple 100 lbs less than they each did due to his more refined body type.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Wanderosa I do remember Klaus & his very interesting post regarding the Scotched shoes these show hitches wear.
            I will try the RH site for info.

            In the meantime, I looked at some pics I took of the 8H teams from last year's State Fair & in one pic it looks like the whip remained on the wagon with the Driver when assistant dismounted.
            The 8s were there for World Clydesdale & Percheron show.
            They came from all over the US & Canada & IIRC, there were 15 hitches of each breed. So 30 in all.

            I realize 16 teams is not a huge number, but this was a show they had to qualify for.
            A lot had corporate sponsors, but there were several family-owned entries.

            Even my local County Fair generally has at least 8-10 entries for the 6s class.
            A lot of them then continue on to World in Indy.

            And yes, parking lot had the ginormous semis with outsized trailers & in most cases, a smaller semi for wagon & harness.

            Audience at MEC was about 50% Amish.
            Like the guy who drives a pickup, but likes to watch NASCAR, I guess.
            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
              Wanderosa I do remember Klaus & his very interesting post regarding the Scotched shoes these show hitches wear.
              I will try the RH site for info.

              In the meantime, I looked at some pics I took of the 8H teams from last year's State Fair & in one pic it looks like the whip remained on the wagon with the Driver when assistant dismounted.
              The 8s were there for World Clydesdale & Percheron show.
              They came from all over the US & Canada & IIRC, there were 15 hitches of each breed. So 30 in all.

              I realize 16 teams is not a huge number, but this was a show they had to qualify for.
              A lot had corporate sponsors, but there were several family-owned entries.

              Even my local County Fair generally has at least 8-10 entries for the 6s class.
              A lot of them then continue on to World in Indy.

              And yes, parking lot had the ginormous semis with outsized trailers & in most cases, a smaller semi for wagon & harness.

              Audience at MEC was about 50% Amish.
              Like the guy who drives a pickup, but likes to watch NASCAR, I guess.
              indeed, the people who do it would be at those shows! There's always a lot of Amish at the VDHMA show, too. I think you're on to something about the pickup truck/NASCAR thing! Lol. They always have tack booths set up - ordered my Percheron's harness at the show. Considerably easier than when I ordered the collar for the Shire. I had to write the man to set up a call during the 1 hour every Wednesday morning that he used the ordnung's community phone.

              Definitely check out RH. Some fun, super-knowledgable folks on there. One lady taught herself to train animals as a child and has a menagerie, including oxen. Her oxen were featured on a Capital One commercial once. There was a guy that plowed with a Percheron mare and could also jump on and barrel race her at the county fair. Many of the contributors live in cold regions of the US where it makes sense to use draft animals over machines. As a result, the knowledge chain never broke for them like it has for most of us. They learned from their parents, who learned from their parents... I just try to absorb as much as I can before that generation passes. I was lucky enough to talk to Jim Barnett, who trained the casson horses at Arlington, the year before he died. He was one of the most fascinating people I've ever encountered and I remember coming home and scrambling to write everything down so I wouldn't forget!

              Comment


              • #8
                Last time I watched the Illinois State Fair 6 class there were 15 entries. At least half were WI and IL teams.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just looked at the standings of the Six Horse Classic Series and there were almost 100 teams enrolled across the three/four breeds last year. WOW!

                  The numbers had went down the last time I checked but they seem to be up.

                  I can't imagine the work involved!

                  We have clients who have Clydes. I don't know if they do the eights. I know the six for sure.

                  ​​​​​​​

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Short dresses started a few years ago. Surprised they are still popular for the reasons you note!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My understanding is the wheel horses are the one responsible for pulling the wagon. The other 2, 4 or 6 horses are just kind of there for show usually. If a wheel horse starts backing up or misbehaving or not pulling his share of the load, the assistant can get on to him.

                      Short dresses are a new thing. It used to be longer evening type dresses or ball gowns. Can't imagine getting into or out of a cart with a short dress on

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Another Poster Now that makes sense
                        I agree the Wheelers start & stop all motion & the Leaders are there for show, the flashiest movers.

                        Oh, the Prom/Ballroom gowns are still there too.
                        And not all the upper arms & decollatage displayed are as toned as the dresses should require.
                        But the micro-minis..... I just do not get that

                        Wanderosa I did look at RH forums, but did not join yet, so not able to post.
                        It did seem like the posters were mostly people who actually use the Drafts for farmwork, rather than Show horses.
                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                          Another Poster Now that makes sense
                          I agree the Wheelers start & stop all motion & the Leaders are there for show, the flashiest movers.

                          Oh, the Prom/Ballroom gowns are still there too.
                          And not all the upper arms & decollatage displayed are as toned as the dresses should require.
                          But the micro-minis..... I just do not get that

                          Wanderosa I did look at RH forums, but did not join yet, so not able to post.
                          It did seem like the posters were mostly people who actually use the Drafts for farmwork, rather than Show horses.
                          That's true. But there were some that drove hitches and/or drive commercially. They might know *why* certain customs evolved the way they did.

                          I'm guessing that short skirts probably have something to do with ease of egress. If you have to jump down out of a hitch wagon in an emergency, you don't want a long skirt that can get caught. I was researching side saddle habits recently. Apparently, women got caught and dragged a lot when they fell until the safety skirt was invented in the late 19th century. If you look at a modern side saddle habit while the wearer is standing on the ground, the skirt is more of an apron than a skirt. And it's worn over a pair of jodhpur pants. Old-style side saddle habits had a standard skirt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                            Another Poster Now that makes sense
                            I agree the Wheelers start & stop all motion & the Leaders are there for show, the flashiest movers.

                            Oh, the Prom/Ballroom gowns are still there too.
                            And not all the upper arms & decollatage displayed are as toned as the dresses should require.
                            But the micro-minis..... I just do not get that

                            Wanderosa I did look at RH forums, but did not join yet, so not able to post.
                            It did seem like the posters were mostly people who actually use the Drafts for farmwork, rather than Show horses.
                            That's true. But there were some that drove hitches and/or drive commercially. They might know *why* certain customs evolved the way they did.

                            I'm guessing that short skirts probably have something to do with ease of egress. If you have to jump down out of a hitch wagon in an emergency, you don't want a long skirt that can get caught. I was researching side saddle habits recently. Apparently, women got caught and dragged a lot when they fell until the safety skirt was invented in the late 19th century. If you look at a modern side saddle habit while the wearer is standing on the ground, the skirt is more of an apron than a skirt. And it's worn over a pair of jodhpur pants. Old-style side saddle habits had a standard skirt.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                              Another Poster Now that makes sense
                              I agree the Wheelers start & stop all motion & the Leaders are there for show, the flashiest movers.

                              Oh, the Prom/Ballroom gowns are still there too.
                              And not all the upper arms & decollatage displayed are as toned as the dresses should require.
                              But the micro-minis..... I just do not get that

                              Wanderosa I did look at RH forums, but did not join yet, so not able to post.
                              It did seem like the posters were mostly people who actually use the Drafts for farmwork, rather than Show horses.
                              That's true. But there were some that drove hitches and/or drive commercially. They might know *why* certain customs evolved the way they did.

                              I'm guessing that short skirts probably have something to do with ease of egress. If you have to jump down out of a hitch wagon in an emergency, you don't want a long skirt that can get caught. I was researching side saddle habits recently. Apparently, women got caught and dragged a lot when they fell until the safety skirt was invented in the late 19th century. If you look at a modern side saddle habit while the wearer is standing on the ground, the skirt is more of an apron than a skirt. And it's worn over a pair of jodhpur pants. Old-style side saddle habits had a standard skirt.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Well... maybe, but the micro-minis are mostly in the Lady Driver classes, so 2-wheeled carts.
                                Still a long way down, but not as far as from a Hitch wagon.

                                In my mind I picture stepping down off these carts & hoping you remembered to wear the Good Underwear
                                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The short dresses are on the big wagons too. I will upload a picture.

                                  I think it is typical horse show vanity!

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by roseymare View Post
                                    The short dresses are on the big wagons too. I will upload a picture.

                                    I think it is typical horse show vanity!
                                    Misplaced Vanity!
                                    IMO, the look is anything but flattering!

                                    Searching my memory & not seeing the minis on the big hitch wagons. If so, are they driving or assisting/heading?
                                    The few female drivers of the big multiples I've seen aren't dressed in the too-short dresses.
                                    Prove me wrong.....
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Let me get to desktop

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                                      • #20
                                        2DogsFarm


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