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News from the Bitterroot Draft Horse & Mule Club

The Club started out the year with a Winter Picnic at Scott & Diane Hackett’s. With snow (and ice!) on the ground, Scott offered some sled rides around his pasture, as his horses were sharp shoed. Craig Connor also brought his pinto Saddlebred and cart, and after a warm lunch at the Hackett’s house we went out and hitched up Carl and Claudia’s horses with Scott’s to do a 4-up and we went and fed the cows.
One thing about the Bitterroot Valley, compared to where we lived before: it has short and mild winters. With 3 Per-cheron cross colts to work with, Carl and I (well, maybe more myself than Carl!) were itching to get going with them again.
With access to indoors arenas, the club’s next scheduled event of the year was a groundwork clinic at the end of Feb-ruary. The topic was how ground work can improve our driving animals. I have been putting on this workshop for the last few years, and it has gained in popularity! We had 18 participants and everyone was very busy working with their horses and mules on respect, feel, controlling those feet and building up their confidence while directing and driving them over and thru obstacles. Most people think of warming up their riding animals before climbing in the saddle, but not many people think of doing the same thing with their driving animals before hooking them up. These are great exercises that one can do when at an event and dealing with a young, fresh or anxious horse or mule.
This is a great way to start out after the winter months, when our horses and mules have sat idle.

Spring came upon us fast it seemed and our pasture harrowing event at the Hackett’s was moved up a week, because the fields were ready! It was an incredible sight to see 11 outfits and 26 horses and mules out on the fields, walking in rhythm, doing productive work.
April 2nd, 2016 was an unusually warm, bright, beautiful, spring day in the Bitterroot and we all enjoyed the oppor-tunity to gather in one of our favorite activities, which is working with our horses in a productive manner.
The hitches were configured in a variety of ways with two 4 abreast teams with Dick Renfro on the lines of his Fjords; Ray & Brenda Woodside of Potomac driving their matched stocking legged mules.
Three 3 abreast teams driven by Scott and Diane Hackett, and Claudia and Carl Hrebicek
(Claudia’s goal was to get all 3 colts ready for this event!)

Four sets of 2 horse teams were driven by Don Gardener with his fancy Friesian/Morgan crosses; Kent and Mary Lou Connor, who are the president and treasurer, respectively, of the club with their Belgians; Jerry Johns drove Kathy Degreve’s team of Fjord mules to a historical harrowing cart ; and Theresa Manzella teamed her young, pinto/Friesian cross with a mentor Percheron mare.
And finally, three single horses and mules were driven by Craig Connor, Duane Krowan, and Dean Hoistad.
One look at the pictures and I think it goes without saying: what a great way to spend a day!
Claudia Hrebicek
Bitterroot Draft Horse & Mule Club


For permission to reprint any material from this site, contact Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association
"Ed Jorden"  Secretary/Treasurer   406-254-1267
 Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association
PO Box 66, Pryor, MT 59066-0066

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  Updated October 18, 2016




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