Saturday, September 22, 2012


This is my contribution to the Harvest. Dried hydrangeas from the Cottage garden.

September is the time for harvest and in our small town that also means that the giants come calling.

These giants do not live at the top of beanstalks.  They are not part of an NFL franchise or a San Francisco baseball club.  They walk on four feet instead of two.  They are the beautiful and powerful draft horses.

Every September, Grass Valley plays host to the Draft Horse Classic.  It is the most beautiful display of horse flesh that you will possibly ever see in one place.  These horses are the working backbone of times gone by and are still used in many farming communities today.


"The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never."

Old Yiddish Proverb


These wonderful animals do not answer to pretty names like most other species of their breed.  They have been christened with common names, such as Jack, Bill, Dolly or Bess.  Good, simple and strong, just like the humans that work alongside them.


"There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it."

Author Unknown

Clydesdale, Double Hitch

A draft horse is a large horse bred for heavy tasks, such as plowing and other forms of farm labor.  They are strong and patient, and they were extremely valuable before the Industrial Revolution.  Today, they are used mainly for crossbreeding, although some are still in use.

"Its' always been and always will be the same in the world:  The horse does the work and the coachman is tipped."

Author Unknown

Humans needed to domesticate horses to use them for work, such as farm work and carrying heavy loads.  While they used light quick horses for transportation, they needed an animal that was strong, calm, and patient for pulling these heavy loads.

I don't think they were talking this light weight!

In the 1800's before the railroad, the heavy work horse was invaluable and in high demand. This even carried through to the early 1900's, as draft horses were used during World War I to help the military effort.


Percherons come in black, white and any color in between.

At that time, draft horses were being imported from Europe into the United States - from Belgium, France, England and Scotland.  The most numerous of these breeds in America were the Percheron from France, with 40,000 broodmares by 1915.  The American Cream Draft breed was developed as an American draft breed.

American Cream

"He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.

Author Unknown

Unfortunately, due to the Industrial Revolution in the 20th century, the internal combustion engine greatly reduced the demand for the draft horse.  After World War I, the tractor began to replace the draft horse on the farm.  Many breeds became depleted after horses were sold to slaughterhouses for horse meat.


Can you believe that this big guy was ever this small?

Young Clydesdale

Today, some smaller farms still employ the draft horse in both the United States and Europe.  The Amish and Mennonite farmers especially use horses for their power.  Outside of that, draft horses can be seen at pulling shows and competitions, or used as exhibition animals.


A lot is involved in the upkeep of these beautiful animals.  Both male and female undergo the same stylish transformations and it's not an inexpensive ordeal either.

They do love their bubble baths.

And they are known to frequent 5-Star restaurants.

They definitely have to keep regular beauty parlor appointments.

They are quite proficient in the art of dance.

And it would appear that they are foot wear aficionados.

And, of course, there are hired body guards.

Or, in this case, maybe fired body guards.

But when it comes to their style of dress and all their trappings, this is where the real expense comes in.

The white piece of paper tacked to edge is a For Sale sign.  The sun washed it out but it states that this cupboard of equipment is being offered to anyone interested for the price of $5,695.00....USED!

English Shire

"Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined,
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient."

Ronald Duncan, "The Horse" 1954

This is a wonderful annual event, set amongst the tree-covered 100-acre Nevada County Fairgrounds, and I'm proud to bring you along...Judy

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."

Winston Churchill

The Gentle Giant
Picture taken in the spring when the dogwoods were blooming.

I would also like to share with you the Sierra Sunset on the first day of Autumn, 2012.

P. S.  I just got a message from Shannon at Cozy Home Scenes. She has had to quit her blog and has opened a new one. What a shame, she had such a great following and did so much with her special features and was so helpful to me when I had a problem, and now she has to start all over again. Please visit her at A Cozy Place Called Home, which looks magnificent, and start fresh with her again. She also comes highly recommended by Mr. Buddy. After all, she was instrumental in his stairway to stardom!

I'm sharing this week with:


  1. ...just way awesome! ~ and super swell! ~ blessed equinox to thee!... ...xXx... ...Samantha...

  2. That was most enjoyable!!! What beautiful creatures, I am so proud of all of them!!! Thank you for this post....happy Autumn....

  3. Magnificent animals Judy! Such a wonderful it! Thank you so much for sharing not only your beautiful photos but also the beautiful commentary!

  4. What awesome creatures!!! Powerful in both beauty and strength.Great post!! ox Tami :)

  5. What a wonderful post Judy.
    These Shire/draft horses are simply magnificent creatures.
    You have described them well. Described the horse too and how useful to man they are.
    It must be such a great event to attend. How i should love to be there .
    Your harvest hydraneas are so pretty.
    Thank you for showing us these wonderful beautiful horses.
    Happy first sunday of autumn.
    val x x x

  6. Those horses are simply splendid animals. Wonderful photos, Judy! Your hydrangeas are gorgeous and I love them arranged together like that. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day.


  7. Great post, Judy!!
    Loved seeing all the draft horses, and learning so much more about them.
    It is a way of life, that we don't get to enjoy any more....
    So glad that there is a festival that honors the traditions, and draft horses, and helps educate folk about that by-gone era :)

  8. Hi Judy, How wonderful this post is. I'm so glad that I came by. I was gone all day yesterday, but wanted to visit's post's today. I'm so happy that I now have horses in my life. I dont own one, but now have friends that do. I'm loving learning so much about them. This is a great post and what beautiful animals horses are! Thanks for putting this together, it was very interesting..

  9. Judy, the horses are beautiful animals. I have never been around horses but I admire their beauty and strength. I have a picture of myself at about 8 years old standing beside a pony that wandered onto our property. I thought it was so cute. That is the extent of my experience with horses. Your basket of hydrangeas is really pretty. I like the faded colors of dried flowers.

    I want to tell you that I have had to start a new blog because a company said my domain was an infringement on theirs. It has been a real headache and heartache but when they threaten legal action, there is not much choice except to give in. The new blog will be pretty much like the old one but the name is now A Cozy Place Called Home. I hope you will come along to the new place and if you could help spread the word, I would really appreciate it. It is scary having to completely give up all followers and readers but hopefully the new blog will grow with time. Thank you so much for all the support you have given me in the past. You have been such a good blogging friend!!

    Hope you are enjoying a wonderful autumn weekend!------- Shannon

  10. Hello Judy,
    What a wonderful post!
    Such beautiful creatures and no I cannot believe Clydesdale was the small foal once.
    I am also drying Hydrangeas to display in vases, they are soo autumnal....
    have a happy week Judy.
    Love Maria x

  11. What amazing creatures they are.... and so beautiful too! I learned so much from your post :o)
    Have a great week :o)

  12. Such beauties. Great to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  13. Hi Judy,
    All of the horses look so beautiful! I love the really big horses. There power and beauty is amazing.

    Amy Jo

  14. Judy,
    Thank you so much for the background information on these beautiful giants! What a blessing that you get to enjoy these classic animals up close! Stunning photos!
    dee dee

  15. What a wonderful history lesson on draft horses. I don't have a lot of knowledge about horses, in general, so I found that very interesting! They certainly are beautiful. I immediately thought of those Busch Beer commericals when I saw them. Ha! Horses are now peoples pets. I can't say I'm disappointed by that though. They deserve a break now!

  16. oh what a wonderful lesson....I love these gentle giants!!!! gorgeous photos!!!

  17. What an awesome post! These are such beautiful animals. It's always exciting to see one. What a fantastic show this must be!

  18. My boys and I really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend.


Your comments are so special to me...Judy