Deanna Bailey riding Jester in the Costume Class
On October 11th and 12th the Texas Draft Horse
Mule Association (TDHMA) held it’s annual show at the Bell County Expo
Center in Belton, Texas. There are over 130 members of the TDHMA and several
of them made the show this year. There was a huge class list including halter
classes for fillies, mares, geldings and stallions and then performance classes
including: gentleman’s cart, junior cart, two horse show hitch, novice
ladies cart, unicorn hitch, ladies show team, novice men’s cart, tandem
cart, costume, ride-a-draft, single horse pleasure driving, ladies cart, four
horse hitch, junior farm team, amateur team driving, farm team, farm team obstacle,
single horse obstacle, junior single horse obstacle, team ground driving, single
horse log pull, junior single horse log pull and team og pull. The judge was
an out of state draft man from Colorado, Bob Olsen.
Several breeds of drafts made it into the show ring. There were Percherons, Belgians, Clydesdales, Suffolk Punch,
|Rodney Read driving his Suffolk Punch, Alex in the Single Log Skid|
Shires, Spotted Drafts and a gray Draft Mule names
Rosie. TDHMA members are spread all over Texas and may have anywhere from a
team of horses to over fifty head. There were even some visiting teamsters from
down under and Australians did very well in the farm class competitions borrowing
a team of Suffolk’s from their friends David and Francis Hitchcock. The
TDHMA was delighted for their guest appearance and had a special trophy made
up for the Aussie team who proudly flew their flag on the wagon during competition.
|L to R: Dick Curtis on Rosie and Betty May on Sam waiting for the results of the Ride A Draft Class|
The single and team obstacle course was especially
challenging this year. Each teamster driving either a single horse cart or a
team on a wagon is required to cross several obstacles, and quickly. Timing
each competitor acts as the tiebreaker should a teamster have a clean run. Throughout
the course are cones with tennis balls on top. These serve as boundaries and
points are deducted if the balls are knocked off or the cones run over. This
year the drivers were required to first cross the bridge (a sheet of plywood)
that most of the drafts took well. Next on the course was a large blue tarp
that hung from the arena ceiling. It was low enough that the horses and driver
would have to duck to get under it. This was quite challenging for most of the
horses, but with patience and know-how the majority of the teamsters drove through
it. This was the obstacle that really told who spends the most time in the wagon
seat. It took a lot of trust on the horse’s part to pass under a flapping
tarp that then slid down the back making a crinkling noise. The teamsters continued
on through the course having to parallel park, back up in a 90% obstacle, weave
through cones, and get a golf ball from one mail box to another on the other
side of the arena.
Thomas Hicks put on a wonderful demonstration with his four-horse hitch of Belgians and Mike Griffith showed how it’s done when he hitched his pair of gray percherons tandem. Dee Gentry won the ride a draft on her Belgian, Buck, but not without some stiff competition from the other twelve riders and the fact that Rosie the mule, ridden by Dick Curtis, was doing her part in trying to steal the show. Mark Horsburgh, from Australia, drove the Suffolks well in the amateur team driving and Stacy McClendon drove her gray percheron, Snoopy, into first place in the junior single horse obstacle class. David Hitchcock won the team ground driving and Rodney Read put his Suffolk Punch, Alex, cleanly through the single horse log skid. It was a pleasure to watch Jennifer Kuhn drive her spotted draft, Tammy Jean, in the pleasure driving
|Dee Gentry on Buck wins the Ride A Draft Class|
class and Darlene Hicks won first place in the
ladies cart class driving her Belgian, Spike. Jim Smith’s percherons competed
beautifully in all their classes and took home a handful of ribbons. Carol Curtis,
Connie Young, Gay Penak, Linda Pritchart and Dee Gentry won’t be showing
in the novice ladies cart for long after having seen their driving talents.
Maurice Young and Larry Allen drove really well in the men’s novice cart.
Wilton and Betty McKelvey, Teresa McClendon, Deana Bailey, Mandy Myers, Amanda
Tucker, Holly Bartz, Sharon Smith, Mica Young, Ali Hegler, Steve and Danielle
Wisieski, Kathleen Taylor, Becky McGuire, Sharon Smith, Peggy Allen, Terry Bailey
and Dora Gentry rounded out the competition all taking home ribbons and trophies.
This year Rodney Read stepped down from his 10 years of being the TDHMA Show Chairman and Jim Smith was elected as the new President of the TDHMA at the annual meeting that was held in November in Temple, Texas. A moment of silence was given at both the show in Belton and the annual meeting in Temple for Ann Aylsworth of Twin Creek Clydesdales and Lyle King. Ann was a long time member of the TDHMA and a worthy competitor. Ann passed away doing what she loved most, showing her beautiful Clydesdale horses.
Watch The Horse Gazette for upcoming events of the TDHMA. There will be clinics, hay days, plowing matches, farm shows and the annual show that brings in the draft horse folks from all over the state of Texas. Come and watch working farm horses strut their stuff and see the big horses do what they do best…pound the ground with real horsepower. To contact the association call Jim Smith at 817-866-3647 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Hitchcock's Suffolks, Thunder & Lightening competing in the Team Obstacle Class
Junior Single Obstacle Class, Stacy McClendon driving her gray Percheron, Snoopy
Mike Griffith driving his gray Percheron, Captain in the Men's Cart Class
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