One of the great joys of my life in recent years has been assembling a prize-winning herd of magnificent Percheron mares at my Jackson Fork Ranch. These are truly glorious animals, descendants of a breed of powerful draft horses that were brought over from France in the mid-19th century. Though we’ve been at it for not much more than four years, our Percherons – under the direction of my capable ranch manager Jonathan Harding – have already made more than their share of history. In 2010, they became the first all-mare hitch to win the Calgary Stampede’s prestigious World Champion Six Horse Hitch Competition – an amazing feat that they repeated in 2011. And this past year they earned a coveted finalist position in the North American Classic Series.
Because a number of the mares are pregnant – the result of a comprehensive breeding program we’ve initiated with a herd of prize-winning stallions from Windermere Farms in Spring Hills, Pennsylvania – we have reduced their competition schedule for the coming year. But they won’t be totally out of public view. On New Year’s Day, our Percherons will be marching in the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, pulling a Jackson Fork Ranch wagon custom made for us by Hanson Wagon Works of South Dakota. To be asked to play a part in an event as celebrated and historic as the Rose Parade is a point of tremendous pride for all of us at Jackson Fork Ranch. The nobility and beauty of these animals is awe-inspiring, and I’m delighted to be able to share them with the world