GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A brand new event in the Grand Valley involving horses happened at the Mesa County Fairgrounds this weekend, called the Wild West Classic Six Horse Hitch Shootout. A horse hitch is when three pairs of glammed up horses attached to a wagon parade around a track for a crowd to watch. It’s an event unlike anything else, and people from the Grand Valley were very excited to watch this brand new show.
The Wild West Classic Six Horse Hitch Shootout started by two horse-loving Coloradans, Enos Yoder and Dennis Clark. Clark says, “we are putting this show on and doing it out of an act of love.”
Besides entertainment, the show was designed to strengthen the horse industry, and show the Grand Valley how America was built by horses. Yoder adds he thinks “we get tangled up in the modernness these days, and this event kind of sets us back a little.”
A classic six horse hitch is a combination of power and beauty. A draft horse is 2000lbs, and it takes about a dozen people to get them ready for the event. They spend hours braiding the horses’ mane and painting their hooves to bring out the beauty. And many people who haven’t seen these horses before, usually have their mouths drop in awe when they finally see them working together in unison.
In addition, the movement of the horses is just as important as the appearance. It takes months of preparation and training to get the hitch in-sync, and leading the horses and steering the hitch, is a driver who is said to have a God-given talent to be able to do what he does. In addition, among other categories, the hitch is also scored on how well the driver controls the horses, which he does while only holding a 1/2 inch piece of leather.
More so, at the event there were not as many masks as typically seen at large gatherings; however, Yoder says the people in the bleachers are social distancing by groups. Yoder also says, “there’s a lot of bleachers up there spreading them out. It’s working great.”
Yoder and Clark are hoping to continue the Wild West Classic Six Horse Hitch Shootout for many years. They say they are so happy with the turn out this weekend, and are hopefully going to plan another show Memorial Day weekend.