Semiannual sale attracts draft horse enthusiasts

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Despits less-than-ideal traveling conditions the first week of March, the Mid-Ohio Spring Draft Horse Sale at Mount Hope, Ohio, enjoyed near-record attendance and sales.

This semiannual blue collar draft horse sale, which started out as a local sale 23 years ago in a small barn across the road from the Mount Hope Sales Barn (where it is now held), attracted 745 cataloged horses plus about 250 late uncataloged consignments and another 300 assorted buggy horses at the monthly sale.

For everyone. Primarily a draft horse event, this sale offers a little something for everybody.

March 5 saw more than 100 ponies, more than 100 assorted crossbreeds (mostly drafts), and 47 spotted draft horses sold along with four Clydes.

The flashy spotted drafts (pintos or painted horses, as some call them) are becoming more popular, especially among the carriage and hay ride trade.

Wayne and Holmes counties are a center for breeding spotted drafts and the best studs can be found in this part of Ohio.

Sales. Known more as a gelding sale, half of the 300 Belgians sold March 6 were geldings. But for those with an eye for breeding stock, there were about three dozen studs, 80 registered mares and another 35 unregistered mares sold.

The Percherons sold Friday, with about 75 geldings, two dozen studs and 70 mares.

Growth. The Mid-Ohio Draft Horse Sale has grown steadily since its inception in 1980 (another bad year in farming) when a group of local horsemen, dissatisfied with trucking horses long distances, decided to conduct their own sale in their own community.

It stared out as a local sale meeting the needs of the community.

In what some call the center of the draft horse world, outside buyers found a sale staffed and run by professionals: draft horse farmers. Everybody knew what they were doing and there was no shortage of experienced help.

Respect. More cooperative and with a large selection of horses to offer, the sale soon earned the respect of the draft horse industry.

Over the years as the sale grew, the barns have been added to and a new quarter-acre-size barn was built last year with another one in the works to replace tents used in the past.

Its central location, in some of the finest kept farmland in the world, has also been an asset.

Far and wide. License plates from up and down the East Coast, into Canada and all across the western states were in the parking lots that overflowed onto the roads leading into the village.

Many come a day or so early, get choice accommodations and have a chance to visit the many harness shops, horse-drawn tool and wagon manufacturers and other horse suppliers in the area.

The spring and fall Mid-Ohio Draft Horse Sales at Mount Hope have become the one-stop horse shopping event that can satisfy just about everybody’s needs for horses, equipment and tools.

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