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Mountain Home Magazine

You're Drafted!

Jul 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By Gayle Morrow

If you haven’t fallen in love with draft horses yet, well, now’s your chance. They’re big, beautiful, and they have really, really soft noses. Need a shoulder to cry on? Theirs are made for wrapping your arms around—even if you have to stand on tiptoes (or a crate) to reach them (be sure to ask first). And they’ll be at the 148th Troy Fair for the annual Draft Horse Show on Sunday, July 21.

“I’ve been kind of around draft horses ever since I can remember,” says Tricia Jackson, of Alba. She’s serving as the announcer and department co-chair for the show. She says that when she was in high school there was a “change-over in running the show, so I agreed to take it on,” in part because she really wanted to push the youth to be involved. It runs in the family. Her dad, Tom Hojnowski, an ag teacher at Canton High School, is the show superintendent. He says he’s “relatively sure” he took over that job around 2012, but had been involved with it since the late 1990s.

“The late Tom Young of Alba encouraged me to do so since we did not want to lose the show,” he recalls. “I kept showing Clydesdales with Tom for years after that. The PA Farm Show was always the most exciting show for us.”

Tricia has memories of Tom and his Clydesdales, too.

“He bred them, he worked with them, and he was a big figure in our draft horse community,” she says. One of the events at the show is dedicated to him—the Tom Young Memorial Cart Obstacle Class. This event is exactly what it sounds like—the driver takes a team of very large horses over, around, and through a variety of obstacles in the arena. Other competitions include additional cart classes, showmanship, Western and English riding, and the hitch classes.

Tricia says the arena can accommodate a six-hitch team, but just barely, so they limit the hitch classes to four. There’s also a unicorn hitch class. That is a three-horse combo, with one in the lead and the other two side-by-side at the rear. Any time you can watch a two-legged 150-pound human in command of six or eight tons of four-legged equines is bound to be exciting. Loveable or not, these animals are huge, and a misstep can be dangerous for person and horse.

The familiar breeds will be on hand for the show—Percherons, Clydesdales, Belgians, and Haflingers—Tricia characterizes the Haflingers as the ponies of the draft world. They’re typically 13.2 to 15 hands (a hand is four inches) from the ground to the withers—the top of the shoulder. The Clydesdales, Belgians, and Percherons range from 16 to 19 hands.

“It’s a family atmosphere that draft horse exhibitors have,” Tricia notes, adding that shows like this help people understand what draft horses can do. She loves them all, but admits that the Clydesdales are kind of her favorites.

What will yours be?

The Troy Fair is July 22 through 27 at Alparon Park, at the junction of Routes 6 and 414. Gates are open from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. Parking is free, and there are a variety of gate passes available. The Draft Horse Show starts promptly at 10 a.m. Find out more at or call the fair office at (570) 297-3648.

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