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A Nevada County favorite since 1987
The Draft Horse Classic, held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Northern California every September since 1987, is recognized as the premier Draft Horse show in the western United States among perhaps hundreds around the world. Competitions, entertainment and much more take place over four days. Here, Mike McInnis drives his Clydesdale pair and wagon around the arena during the finals.
Log skidding is an amazing event to watch, as the driver stands or walks next to two huge logs, guiding a team of Clydedales, which drags the logs through an intricate course, turns and returns. The team is timed, with time penalties for disturbing any obstacle.
At the end of his show, Bobby Kerr drives off in his truck with his mustang Pancho actually sitting in the back bed after leaping in. His performing trained dogs sit atop the truck. Little wonder he and his act are fan favorites all over the country.
The Draft Horse Classic is all about Clydesdales and the many judging classes horses and their owners can enter. Here, a team awaits judging in the Six Up — meaning six horses to a wagon. Clydesdales are nicknamed “Gentle Giants” for their size and demeanor.
All primped and proper, a pair of Clydesdales work through their paces before the judges. Manes are braided. Harnesses polished. Wagons shine. Drivers dress in their Sunday best, as the magnificent breed struts its stuff. It is a sight to see.
In the Singles Ladies competition — a single horse and a lady driver — the Clydesdale must show “stylish, high-stepping action.” This one is clearly enjoying itself as it whips its owner and wagon around the arena for the crowd and judges to see. And the lady driver is too!
Gladius the Show is an acrobatic equestrian production that incorporates aerialists, fire and Roman riding set to music. Men and woman — all rather fit! — ride, stand and do handstands as the horses continue to gallop around the arena. Can we say wow?
Here, a law enforcement officer and a member of the mounted patrol entertains the crowd by riding a hobby horse around the arena. Better than a rodeo clown!
One of the big attractions, aside from the events and entertainment, is the opportunity to walk around the stables and stalls, getting up close with many of the Clydesdales and their respective teams as they prepare or just rest. Horse fans or just casual curious-seekers, you’ll be fascinated. Find a Draft Horse show near you soon. So much FUN!