Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Monday, January 27, 2014

NWSS Draft Horse Finals

Some friends got us tickets to the last day of the National Western Stock Show for the Draft Horse Finals.  We knew this year was a big deal there - because they had a record number of entries. There were 20 teams this year; this is the 12 finalists.  There were teams from as far away as New Jersey; and the weather in that part of the country has not been good for hauling 8 to 10 2000 lb. horses and all their gear, plus the semi it takes to haul the wagon!

I was using my friend's iPad to take videos for her, so I only got a few on my own camera, and it was hard to get so many horses all in one shot, but here are a few snaps.
Believe it or not, there are 12 wagons and teams lined up here - and this is to determine the World Champion Six-Up Team for 2014.  The turquoise wagon at the farthest end took 1st place and the darker red wagon that you can barely see placed second.  I think the white wagon was 7th or 8th.  This is important, because for the eight-up teams, they usually unhook the lead team,and add a second team, called the swing team.  The third team becomes the point team and the ones closest to the wagon are the wheel team (if I understood it all correctly).  

You would think the placing in the eight's would be pretty similar, but the whole team's dynamics change when you add horses.
All of the teams are not lined up yet, but this is the best picture I had of the winning team.  Yep, the same team took first; that turquoise wagon.  Look at the placement of the feet on the lead team.  You would think it was two halter-class horses being judged.  Every time they stopped, they lined themselves up like that.  You notice there is nobody in front asking them to do that.  It makes me think that was part of the reason they took the first slot.

This time, however, that white wagon placed second and the red wagon (in the middle) took third.  You just can never tell.  That black shire team was really pretty and flashy to watch, with such pretty white faces and white, hairy fetlocks, but they just didn't have quite the precision of the others.
This video was taken as the winning six-up team was leaving the arena after their 'victory lap'.  Notice the precision of the lead teams feet.  Wow!
Before the eight's came out, Bill and I moved from the top of the arena down to the floor - right next to the rail, so it was pretty exciting watching these big horses come right next to you - and feel the ground shake as they go by.  This team took third.

As entertainment between the two heats, they had mule barrel racing.  Due to the incoming weather, only three mules were able to stay and compete, but they were fun to watch.  This video shows the second place mule.  Don't laugh, but I think it's easy to see why it's usually horses running the barrels!
We also got to watch the feed team race finals (six teams), where two teams race against each other to deliver hay to platforms, with 'swampers' (the guys who shuffle the hay bales from the flat sled to the ground and back again).  They are really racing the clock; the fastest time wins; teams are penalized if the horses break into a canter, though - must walk or trot. We got a good video but it's too long to upload here.

Last, but not least we watched the heavy-weight draft pulls.  Teams of two horses are hooked to a sled with bags of sand, starting at 5,000 lbs. weight.  There were 10 teams challenging each other.  Bags were added until non of the teams could move the sled the required 20 ft.  The last team moved 15,000 lbs.  It turned out that the middle-weight horses had also stopped at that weight the day before..
This team placed third; look at all that sand.
Well, we had a great time, and the weather in Denver was quite pleasant.  However, when we got back up the mountain, there was the glisten of snowflakes in the air.  This morning we woke up to about four inches of snow, and as I write this we are topping 12 inches and 4* outside, but NO wind at the moment.  Yeah.  I shan't complain as I feel really badly for all of you in the east!  Here's to warmer days ahead for all of you.
Bionic Cowgirl


  1. Very cool! I have been watching all the photos and updates from the show in Facebook. Love the hitch shows :)

    1. I had quite a time trying to decide which videos to post; would love to have put them all up!

  2. Cool Post! We often talk about our past Belgians, both rescue horses that graced our pastures with their golden color and our barn with their kind nature. We had considered getting into the wagon stuff but never did. Instead they served as ornaments in our pastures.
    We did have a hard time getting anybody to shoe them and they put a lot of wear on our pastures with those big size 8 feet. But when it's all said and done, they brought a lot of joy to us.

    1. My Jesse has some draft in her; not so much in size but in her build and ATTITUDE. She has big feet, but not quite to the 8. These gentle giants are so great to watch work!

  3. Wow, what fun. Thanks for sharing those videos!

  4. These are some great shows! The wild west revisited. Couldn't get any better entertainment. Except Ranger mustang.


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