A Visit with the Clydesdales

Town Center residents made a trip to Yukon this last week to tour the grounds and stables of the Clydesdale horses. Our tour guide, Jaime, gathered the residents in the stable where twelve of the horses reside and she shared many interesting facts about the history and daily routines of these magnificent horses. “King” was the horse on display that day. They usually have “Jack” standing in the limelight but she said he was being cranky and didn’t want to participate so they brought in “King”.  Jack, by the way, was standing with his back to us during the whole program. King was happy to be the topic of conversation and certainly enjoyed all the attention, petting, and visiting with all of us.

The Clydesdales live at Express Ranch on several hundred acres. They are pampered from morning until night and given the best care any horse could imagine. They are very hairy so they have to be shaved on a regular basis or they would all have beards. They are washed and groomed, fed three or more times per day, and they get to romp and play out in the pasture with the other horses. There are two barns where the animals are kept but we were only in the first barn which houses most of the Clydesdales who go out and participate in parades and events. They go out 255 days of the year, traveling all over the country and to Canada. They pull a beautiful wagon and King is usually the lead horse. He is eleven years old, and these horses live to be about 25 years old. “Hitch,” the dalmation, rides on the front seat of the wagon with the driver. He came out to greet us and also enjoy all the attention. There is a cat who wandered onto the property months ago and gave birth to several kittens. She now answers to “Mama Cat” and she loves interacting with the horses and sleeping with some of them in their stalls.

Jaime is from New Jersey and has a degree in Equine Studies from a college in New York. She had to do a practicum while in school and decided she wanted to head west to see how different it might be here in Oklahoma. She says she loves it here and is so happy to be working at the ranch. She is very involved with all the horses since there is a lot to do to maintain their lifestyle. She gets to travel with the horses…they all fit in a huge semi, along with the wagon, food, and all the equipment and decorations. She shared details about the horses and how different they are from regular horses. The Clydesdales have a different horse shoe on the front feet that is more of a u-shape and weighs about 8 lbs. each. Their back legs are more pointed and more like that of a smaller horse so those are shaped differently. Their tails are trimmed when they are young and are kept fairly short. Their white hair on their legs is allowed to grow so that it drapes over their feet which is what makes them so elegant when they raise their legs high almost to prance when pulling the wagon. They are all trained at another location when young and then sent to the ranch to begin their careers! Residents really enjoyed going around to meet each horse in their stalls as they stuck their heads out to be petted and receive attention. Oh…and as King was being lead back to his stall which is next to Jack’s, Jack nipped him on the back!

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