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Head to Big E Fall Draft Horse Show in Springfield, Massachusetts

by Debra Bokur

Sep 4, 2023

© Luckydoor | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

From Sept. 28 to Oct.1, the town of Springfield, Massachusetts, hosts the annual Eastern States Exposition Draft Horse Show, with competitors from across North America arriving to demonstrate their prowess guiding powerful six-horse hitches through their paces. Big purses are at play, awarded in categories including carts, tandems, unicorns, teams and fours, and family travelers with kids who love horses can’t miss this exciting event.


The term “draft horse” encompasses multiple breeds, such as The Clydesdale, once bred in Scotland and taking its name from River Clyde; The Belgian, bred in Belgium to work the land and docksides in the country’s lowland regions; The Shire, bred to carry soldiers in armor in the years between the reigns of King Henry II and Queen Elizabeth I; and The Percheron, originated in France. Known for friendly dispositions and willing attitudes, draft horses are easy to recognize by their powerful builds.


Perfect for family fun, the Big E event kicks off with a performance on the afternoon of Sept. 28, and continues with other events each afternoon and evening through Saturday.


The show wraps up with the $50,000 Big E Six Horse Hitch Showdown. Judging includes all the details: the fit and condition of harnesses, size and balance of the hitch wagon, driver’s attire, and overall eye appeal. When it comes to the horses themselves, judges look at a team’s uniformity in size, color, stride and even disposition. Box seats are available, but reserve early.


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