Club studies draft horse technology


Working with draft horses in the fairgrounds arena are, from left, Jordan Bender, Kiturah Cloud, Lexee Whttenburg, Claire Bender, Catylynn Duff, and Jake Palin.By Catylynn Duff

Club reporter

The Boot N’ Up 4-H Club met at the fairgrounds April 13. We began our meeting working on advancements for our horse projects. The members in attendance were Lexee, Claire, Jordan, Jake, Kiturah and Catylynn.

We then had a demonstration about draft horses given by Jim Rahi and his son Marty Rahi. Mr. Rahi went through the Percheron breed and gave us interesting facts about them. They usually range in height from 17 to 19 hands and they weigh from 2,000 to 2,400 pounds.

That’s in comparision to a standard horse, which is around 15 to 16 hands and weighs from 1,000 to 1,200 pounds. They can pull their body weight worth of weight. Their shoe size is usually a size 10 in comparison to a regular horse that has the shoe size of 0, or 1 for a Quarter Horse.

Mr. Rahi then talked to us about the harness and how it works with the bridle to enable the wagon or equipment to be pulled by the horses. There are three very important commands that the draft horses must know to allow the handler to control the horses. They are “gee” means right, “haw” means left and “whoa” means stop.

He went through how to handle the horses on the ground by ground driving them. Then he allowed the club members to help him hook up his cart and drive the cart around. We were all amazed how light the horses were to control. It was mere finger pressure to get them to turn using the voice commands.

We learned that draft horses are still used in the Amish culture. Using a good team that is in shape while plowing, they can plow two acres of ground a day. Our club learned a new appreciation for the draft horse breed and its uses.

Mr. Rahi has spent lots of time with his team and uses them for parades, wagon trains and home use. We really appreciated his time as well as the time of his sons. This was all the 4-H club members’ favorite part of the day as well as the leaders.

We concluded our meeting by doing a community service project lead by Kiturah Cloud by making tie blankets for the St. Charles Cancer Center for patients going through cancer treatments.

Kiturah’s project “Knot Alone” will continue to make blankets as part of her 4-H Ambassador program for Jefferson County.