Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Local horse center specializes in Clydesdales

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009 10:00 pm

Dust followed the black carriage as trainer Vernon Helmuth guided seven-year-old Cruiser around a practice track.

The Clydesdale pranced as farm owner Jeanne Williams watched from the side at the Sargent Equestrian Center, located east of Lodi.

Wearing blue jeans that covered black boots and a green shirt with ivy designs and small imprints of bucking horses, she looked petite next to the six-foot Clydesdales she loves.

"They are beautiful, majestic, strong - just a lot of great traits," she said, while walking back to the barn.

Williams moved her farm from Woodside in the Bay Area to Lodi in the past year.

Despite being around horses since she was 6, Williams never envisioned owning a Clydesdale until the day she "accidentally" met Nellie.

In 1998, Williams and her late husband, Curt, were searching for mules and farm equipment at a sale in Paso Robles. There were five Budweiser Clydesdales for sale, and Williams bought Nellie for a good price with the intention of selling her at a profit.

"I fell in love with her," she said. "We never sold her, and I haven't looked back."

Now, with 25 Clydesdales at the farm, Williams specializes in the draft horses because they are rare in the area. The West Coast does not have many farms that raise draft horses, compared to the Midwest or East Coast, she said. The farm even has its own competition, Draft Horse Fest, to feature the large horses.

You need to upgrade your Flash Player This movie requires Flash Player 8 or greater.

Her Clydesdales are one of the main reasons Williams moved her farm from Woodside in the Bay Area to Lodi.

"Almost all the acres here are driveable acres," she said. "When I started getting involved in big horses, we were looking for some flat ground."

The 198-acre farm houses 65 horses, which the staff board, break in, drive and breed.

Williams has had the farm for one year and when she bought it, the barns were already built on the property. The farm extends from the corner of Tully and Sargent roads, and horses graze in irrigated pastures with shaded stands. The change has been good for not only the horses but for Williams.

"It's a slower place and more low-key, but not too slow, and not too low-key," she said. "And that Delta breeze … "

The Clydesdales' first introduction to Lodi's cobblestone School Street was during the Parade of Lights this year. The horses often pull carriages for parades, special events and weddings.

"It's just a lot of fun," she said. "It's great to take them to parades, and share them with the public."

Besides being featured in several books, one of the horses, Mikey, might even see Hollywood fame. A crew shot a girl with curly hair and a cape riding him around an arena two years ago for a Pixar film. The movie company did not tell Williams any information about the film, except it could be out in 2010.

The love of Clydesdales extends to her staff. Santa Clara University student Kyle Hohu has purchased two Clydesdales from Williams since he started working for her. One of the horses then gave birth to four-month-old Captain, who was recovering from a fever and a sunburned nose Thursday afternoon.

After working on the farm, Hohu can rattle off horse terms and explain the Scottish origins of the Clydesdales.

The Clydesdales have white hair cascading from the lower leg, which is called feather. They also have docked, or cropped, tails, to prevent them from getting caught in lines while pulling carriages, he said.

The main difference in temperament of Clydesdales is they are "very quiet, very sweet," he said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blog/citybuzz.

Clydesdales 101

- Origins - First bred on Scottish farms more than 200 years ago.
- Height - More than 18 hands tall. A hand is four inches, so that is six feet. Horses are measured from the ground to their withers, the highest point on the horse's back.
- Weight - Between 1,600 and 2,400 pounds, which is the weight of a Volkswagen Beetle.
- Color - Mostly bay or brown, but also black or sorrel. Many are roan, which is when white is scattered throughout the coat. Judges ignore color in the show ring.
- Leg hair - The hair originally helped protect the horses' legs, but now it is primarily for show.
- Ant-like strength - A Clydesdale can pull many more times than its own weight, depending on what it is pulling. That is why the breed was so popular for pulling wagons of goods in cities.
- Large hooves - A horseshoe is about the size of a dinner plate, compared to thoroughbred racing horses, with shoes half that size.
- Food - Adults can eat 25 to 50 pounds of hay in a day, with 2 to 10 pounds of grain or other supplements.
- Birth - Mothers are pregnant for 11 months and foals can weigh 110-118 pounds. The mothers can produce 100 pounds of milk daily, and foals can grow by four pounds a day for the first few months.
- Riding the horses - Hopping on one of these large animals requires specialized saddles, bits and bridles made in draft horse sizes.
- Price - Vary in price. Bloodlines, quality size, age, color and markings all affect the price. The average price is between $2,500 and $5,000, but the top-level horses can sell for the price of a luxury car.
Source: Clydesdale Breeders of the U.S.A

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • posted at 2:07 pm on Sat, Aug 8, 2009.

    Posts:

    Just love these animals in Rodeos & Parades!!!

     
  • posted at 5:49 am on Fri, Aug 7, 2009.

    Posts:

    How cool is this? I ***love*** these horses! And it's a bonus to know they're so close by!

     

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 202

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists