Friday, September 3, 2010

World Percheron Congress

The World Percheron Congress is shaping up to be an extraordinary event! I read this week on the facebook event page that at least 33 six horse hitches are coming and 1000 stalls spoken for. That means there will be almost 1000 Percherons in one place. WOW!!!

Above: MGs Prince Charles and Robert at the 2006 World Percheron Congress,
winning first place -aged stallion class

Well, with a less less than two months to go, we are getting ready for the Congress!

The World Percheron Congress is being held in Des Moines, Iowa this year at the end of Oct. Getting from here to there is a lot of work and we are in the thick of it! From our farm in Jasper to Des Moines is a fifteen hour drive. Then comes that fact that the Congress wants exhibitors to stay the whole week, which means a week away from the farm, from Robert's and my business and from our very busy lives. But with much fear, we have jumped in with both feet! The fees have been paid, the hotel has been booked, we are busy training and readying the horses, tack, harness and vehicles. I am driving and riding every single day now. Two horses, no excuses! That excuses!

To write that I am excited about the Congress would be a huge understatement. This is going to be the “alpha and omega” of draft horse shows for me. I can’t wait to watch the hitches, feel the tension and excitement and see the next halter superstars in the Percheron world. Being able to meet old friends, make new friends and put faces to some of my Internet buddies is just icing on the cake! I am looking forward to the banquet, the displays and of course, the hitches!

I have been practicing like crazy this summer and have made great strides with Cielo Azure’s Fleur du Soleil, my five-year old mare. It has been a long road for us. Soleil coliced early February and went to surgery. The post-up, recovery during spring took a lot of work and was very stressful. She is not a horse that keeps easily in a stall and she became very spooky and hot during her recovery phase. But starting late April, I have been re-building her skills, working on new skills and building fitness this summer. Finally, I feel that she is back on top of her game and we are better than ever. I have never felt so close to a horse as I feel to her. Every day, I thank UGA veterinary hospital for their extraordinary skills in saving her life. There are few places that can perform colic surgery on a eighteen hand draft horse. I am lucky that Soleil was in such great physical shape when it happened and that we caught it very early.

Robert has been riding Cielo Azure’s Corbeau. Corbeau is a four year old gelding and full brother to Soleil. He has had his hands full, as Corbeau is young, full of energy, very forward and recently gelded. However, he is going great and I think he will be ready for his second Congress. Corbeau placed in his halter class as a weanling at the 2006 World Percheron Congress.

We have entered both horses in English and Western Pleasure riding classes. Then Robert will be driving Corbeau and Soleil as a pair in the carriage class and I will be driving Soleil in the pleasure driving class.

If we can find room on the trailer, we will also be bringing G.T.s Joanna. Joanna is a lovely five-year mare who Robert will be entering in the registered mare, men’s cart class. Competition is fierce in that class. Hoever, Joanna is an exceptional mover; although she will be conservatively shod and she will not have an overcheck bit on. We will be lucky if he places (there are probably close to 50 entries in that class, unless they have a cut-off). But to drive at the Congress is a dream come true in of itself.

We were fortunate to go to the Congress, 2006 in Lexington, VA and we placed well in many classes. Part of that was luck and part of it was preparation. But in 2006, the World Percheron Congress came right smack in the middle of selling our house in Maryland and moving to Georgia. I did not enter any performance classes and Robert only entered a couple of riding classes. We did do well in halter though. During the Congress, we ended up having to come back up to Maryland to take care of other business, which definitely made showing difficult. So, this time –the week will be spent in Iowa and I look forward to being able to concentrate on the World Congress ! Also, this year, we will not be entering any halter is too far to drag the babies (who were born late this year) and the big shoes aren't practical with our riding or driving. I wrote. The next few weeks are going to be very busy for us as we work towards our dream of participating in the 2010 World Percheron Congress. Coming up in the next month: we will also be holding a draft horse conformation and halter clinic at the farm, both showing and working to put on the best show possible at the Parry National Draft horse show; where we will also be performing in a ten minute quadrille. Yikes! My hat is firmly in my hand as we go off to the races!

For more information, go to:

If you are going to be at the Congress, please come by and visit! My goal is to have as much fun as possible and to meet as many new people as possible. Talking about these great horses is almost as good as working them!

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