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About 25 horses and their owners – mostly from the British Columbia and Alberta Peace regions – were competing in the show, judged by veteran breeder John Fraser from Sexsmith, Alta.
“He looks at the horse, looks for confirmation, he looks at their legs, their heads and their body,” said Kathy Ackles, secretary for the breeders association and a long-time breeder herself. “Every judge looks for something different, but confirmation of the animal is what they are judging today.”
“These are all breeding stock …this show is the best of the best,” she added.
The horses are divided into classes representing every phase of the breeding program – from colts and fillies to geldings and broodmares.
Ackles said the association represents about 45 members who participate in shows across the province over the summer. In fact, she said more than a few participants at the Kiskatinaw Fall Fair will be taking part in the Dawson Creek Fall Fair next week. She said breeders don’t really enter the shows for any lucrative cash prizes, it’s really more about the recognition and enjoyment.
“There’s a little bit of prize money, but mostly it’s just pride. It’s mostly just for fun.”
Ackles said she has been involved in breeding Percherons for nearly 25 years, as was her father before her, so it’s a tradition she has grown up with and really enjoys.
Percherons are a breed of draft horse that originated in France, and are known as “gentle giants” for their enormous height and mild temperament.
Art Patterson, president of the association and a life-long breeder from Dawson Creek, said Percheron breeding has followed a bit of a different trend in recent years towards smaller, leaner horses compared to the taller, heavier horses that were more useful on the farm.
“Some of the guys driving them are getting older and they don’t like the big tall ones to put the harnesses on!” he joked.
He added Percheron breeding is still very much alive and well in the Peace region, and occasions like the fall fairs are a great opportunity to connect with fellow breeders.
“We’re pretty close knit, and it’s nice when we get together,” he said.
The B.C. Percheron Breeders Association will host a “Youth Fun Day” on Aug. 27 from 12-4 p.m. at the Dawson Creek Fair Grounds. Children and youth are invited to bring their horses out for an afternoon of games and prizes. For more information, and to register at anytime before 11 a.m. on the day of the event, contact Karen at 250-782-4330.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Kiskatinaw Fall Fair – including heavy and light horse shows – this weekend in Sunset Prairie.
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