The Gentle Giants came to our prairie town last week.
We were able to stable them in our 1842 fort. The stables were built for the dragoon's horses and the windows were for light and ventilation -- not for horses looking out. But these gentle giants -- at least 18 hands (6 feet) at the shoulder had no trouble peering out the stable windows.
They travel in three semis -- two for the horses and one for tack and the wagon. Five horses to a semi (they bring two extra for the horses get days off)
It was fun to see them being exercised in the morning as they walked the brick streets of this prairie town. Two or three at a time. What fun for residents who looked out their window and saw these big horses going past their house. We are used to the clip clop of horses hooves on the bricks as we have an Amish community nearby, but it was definitely special to see these big guys in and around our town.
The stables at our historic fort had to be retrofitted for the horses. Two stalls made into one for each horse needs a 10 by 10 foot stall. Grain and hay were stored above as it was in the 1840's when the dragoons horses and the wagon mules were housed in this barn. Sweet prairie hay we provided to these horses. The same type of hay that was fed to the 1840's horses.
Over the week, we got to know each horse well -- this is Ace. He, was a special sweetheart. He's a "wheel horse" which means that he's hitched first to the wagon and is one of the two that really do most of the work.
What makes this hitch so special is that they were the ones in the 9/11 commercial that was shown only once -- at the 2002 Super Bowl. Where the horses go across the bridge and with New York City in the background, bow down to the heroes of 9/11.
They are special horses and we feel fortunate that they were able to make a week long stop in our little town. What is most special about their visit is the memories they made for the children that watched them at their exhibitions, in the parade or just going to see them in the stables. A lifetime memory.