Past Clinics

Walter Hill - Raymond Raber Clinic

Originally Published in Rural Heritage

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2021 Ashtabula, Ohio with Montana Silversmiths and Cowboy Magic

The Percheron Horse Association of America Educational and Charitable fund recently had the
opportunity of co-sponsoring an educational clinic in Ashtabula, Ohio with Montana Silversmiths and
Cowboy Magic. We would like to share Kellie Rettinger’s thoughts and pictures from the clinic:
This year we at Whispery Pines Percherons, owned by Sam and Kellie Rettinger of Kingsville, Ohio, once
again had the honor of being part of a very wonderful event geared all towards 4-H and the continuing

education of children. This was the 4th annual Ashtabula County Horse Palooza Event which is a three-
day extravaganza of everything related to horses. It took place July 9-11. Our goal is always to offer our

4-H youth in Ashtabula and surrounding counties an educational opportunity with horses-an
opportunity they would not normally have the chance to receive, while still having so much fun! By
providing a hands-on experience for 40 students, we partnered with several local and some out of state
equine professionals, businesses, organizations, and individuals who also share a passion for the equine
This year we expanded our hands-on educational clinics to cover an array of Equine topics. Everything
from Equine Massage Therapy, Preparing your Horse for Show, Magnawave Therapy, Gaming Clinic,
Roping Clinic, Drive-a Draft Clinic, Draft Horse Driving, and a special Bridle-less Jumping performance,
plus so much more!
On Friday we focused on everything Draft Horse! First, in the barn Sam and I talked about how to
properly fit your horse for harness and why that is so important. Then we all went to the ring to
experience ground-driving. No matter what experience level or how old every child, they had the
opportunity to drive. Next up was cart driving, I cannot even begin to tell you the smiles and excitement
these children had! We drove horses for about 6 hours to make sure everyone had a chance.
We moved on after that to talk about a physical for your horse with our own personal veterinarian, Dr.
Melissa Milligan from Equine Specialty Hospital in Burton, OH. All participants had the opportunity to
take a temperature, feel digital pulses and listen to the horse's heartbeat. Keeping your horse healthy is
a big part of horse ownership, as Dr. Milligan pointed out.
Then later in the day we were able to give hayrides around the fairgrounds. The fair crowd was thrilled
to see this big, beautiful Percheron team out on the grounds pulling a wagon filled with happy kids.
There were also opportunities to receive prizes, shop at the tack swap and put in for amazing raffle
items. A weekend of fun, experience, knowledge, education and more fun! Two open horse shows took
place on Friday and Sunday. They were a gaming and a pleasure show. Saturday morning was an
Obstacle Challenge!
This weekend event was run by all volunteers, 4-H advisors and parents. I cannot thank my sponsors
enough-PHAoA Educational and Charitable Fund, Cowboy Magic and Montana Silversmiths. Your
financial help was greatly appreciated.
Submitted by: Kellie Rettinger

2021 Horse Progress Days- Mt. Hope, OH

America’s Independence Day weekend was blessed with perfect temperatures
in the 70’s by day and mid-50’s at night…at least this was true in beautiful Mt.
Hope Ohio! The 2021 Horse Progress Days (HPD) took place July 2 nd and 3 rd at the
Mt. Hope Event Center. Official numbers of the attendance have not yet been
published, but since I was there I can tell you it was well attended with folks from
many different states.
The PHAOA Educational & Charitable Fund, Inc. was one of the Platinum
Sponsors of this event. Our presence was made known with a booth in the main
building along with hundreds of vendors and four beginner clinics held in the
main arena. During the two days of HPD’s people were introduced to our
organization and its purposes and goals. The PHAOA E&CF works to perpetuate
the Percheron draft horse breed and to educate and inform new comers to the
Percheron world and the youth of Percheron breeders or those who have an
interest. It was also made known that all money and funds are used for
conducting youth hostels, beginner clinics and seminars, and assisting individual
state Percheron organizations with like projects. College scholarships are also
awarded to many qualified young people.
As a fund raiser, raffle tickets were sold prior to and during the HPD’s event.
First prize was a Honda Generator Model # EU 2200 i. The generator was
purchased at Holmes Power Equipment, Millersburg, Ohio. Our first prize winner
was Myron B. Miller of Millersburg, Ohio. A second prize of $250.00 was won by
Loren Yoder in Millersburg, Ohio. A silent auction was held as bids were accepted
on the beautiful painting The Horse Fair. Sue Mclauren was please to place the
winning bid and take this lovely painting home with her.
A very successful Beginner’s Clinic was conducted twice daily on both days we
were there. Raymond Raber of Walter Hill Percherons served as the official
instructor and coordinator of the clinic. Raymond continues a Horsemanship
School that was started in the late 1990’s by Eli J.C. Yoder in Sugarcreek, Ohio.
Many of us old timers remember Eli and how progressive he was in the draft
horse world. The Horsemanship School in Eli’s time was called Yoder’s Beginner’s
Horsemanship School. The classes were held at his farm in Sugarcreek and Eli was

assisted by Alvin H. Yoder. These classes became well-known for helping people
develop the ability to own, care for and drive their own horses.
After Eli J.C. passed away, Alvin continued the classes. Raymond Raber heard
the testimonies of the countless people from all over America and Canada that
had benefited from the classes and soon became an assistant instructor.
Raymond and Alvin were cousins and worked together until Alvin passed away in
Raymond changed the name to Walter Hill Horsemanship Classes and has
continued the classes at his own farm which is 18 miles south of Mt. Hope, Ohio.
These classes are held 3-4 times each year and usually last 3 or 4 consecutive
days. Students are taught the basics that are necessary for safely using, caring for
and enjoying Percheron draft horses. As a bonus, a home-cooked meal is served
at the farm house each day for lunch. Clara Raber, Raymond’s wife, makes this
possible and no doubt contributes much to the classes.
Walter Hill Darvin’s Nora and K-View Darvin’s Becky made their appearance
each day as Raymond used them to demonstrate his teaching points. These
registered Percheron mares were bred and raised by Raymond and are used
during the horsemanship classes at home on the farm as well.
Several students who had just attended the Walter Hill Horsemanship Classes
were there to demonstrate what they had learned. Raymond’s quiet and patient
manner seemed to make everyone comfortable and many people from the crowd
stepped up to attempt things Raymond was teaching that day. His main focus
was THE BASICS and SAFETY. As Raymond’s assistant and nephew, Elmer Raber
presented the team hitched to a farm-type wagon. People saw how to safely
unhitch from the wagon and the proper way to hitch to the wagon. Key parts of
the harness were pointed out and basic driving of a team was covered.
Raymond’s brother, Abe Raber of Fredericksburg, Ohio, graciously taught one of
the morning sessions so Raymond could attend a funeral in his community. Abe
did a splendid job and his time and knowledge were appreciated.
It was also a pleasure to have Barb Watson of Montpelier, Ohio participating.
Barb is well-known to many Percheron folks. She has been raising and showing

Percherons for many years. Barb is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of
the PHAOA Educational and Charitable Fund, Inc. and is president of the Ohio
Percheron Breeder’s Association. She presented Shady Creek Wanda and Green
Acres Kamara. This lovely team of mares was used as the wheel team in Barb’s 6-
horse hitch. She now uses them for weddings, funerals, parades and
neighborhood family reunion rides. Barb drove Wanda and Kamara wearing
breast collar style harness hitched to a red Leon Marathon carriage. She
effortlessly maneuvered the team as she demonstrated pleasure driving.
Raymond contrasted the differences between Barb’s horses, harness and vehicle
with his farm team and their equipment.
These two days were a real highlight and it was such a thrill to be part of it. We
were able to introduce the PHAOA Education and Charitable Fund and
demonstrate its purpose in person and in a very successful way. The booth was
manned by some of the Board of Trustees: President Jerry Hancock, Winston-
Salem, NC, Vice President Bill Heston, Salem, OH, Sec/Treas. Jim Whitford, St.
John’s MI, and Dave Hardy, Saranac, MI. Mary Ellen Williams of Greenwich, NY
was unable to attend, but no doubt was there in spirit.
The PHAOA Educational and Charitable Fund, Inc. is a 501-C3 corporation with a
defined purpose approved by the IRS. All donations are tax deductible. This
organization has existed since 1991 and has successfully fulfilled its purpose.
You are invited to visit our website and check us out
on Facebook.

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2021 Windermere Farms Open House

2020 Chasing Rainbows- Open Horse Show Series Driving Clinic


On October 24, 2020, the Chasing Rainbows Open Horse Show Series hosted a Driving Clinic at
the Clearfield County Pennsylvania fairgrounds. The clinic was offered to all ages and skill levels to
encourage more individuals to consider driving their equine partner or partners. We had fourteen
participants, including those who audited, requested a driving lesson from an instructor using the
instructor’s horse, and those who requested assistance fitting and driving their own single horse or
team. Several youth participants brought their 4-H driving project horses and ponies. Youth participants
ranged in age from 3 years old to 18 years old, and were especially encouraged to take part in all aspects
of discussion and hands-on demonstrations. Adult participants included individuals ranging in age from
their 20s to 80s, with a excellent attitudes lending to a congenial learning environment and very
pleasant experience for all involved.
The morning was spent in educational programming and question and answer sessions. Mr. and
Mrs. Gerald and Melissa Allebach of Windermere Farms, Spring Mills, PA, breeders of World Champion
Percherons, provided an educational program on conformation and breeding of drafts and had a mock
conformation judging opportunity for participants using Percherons that were used throughout the
clinic. Mr. Allebach gave an in-depth description of desirable conformation, while Mrs. Allebach
illustrated the points using horses held by several other clinicians and helpers. Attendees were
encouraged to ask questions and give reasons for placing the horses used in the mock conformation
class, with explanations for the Allebachs’ placings provided at the end of the session.
Mr. Brandt Ainsworth of Franlinville, NY spent quite a bit of time discussing harnessing and
harness types before moving on to basic horsemanship on the ground and under harness. While he
specifically showed working harness, participants’ horses and ponies were used to discuss different
harness types, different vehicle options ranging from a forecart to 2-wheeled and 4-wheeled vehicles.
Special attention was paid to fitting harness and vehicles for those individuals who requested clinician
assistance. In-hand manners were discussed and demonstrated to allow participants to understand the
necessary relationship of the horse and handler on the ground before being asked for more trust and
maneuvers in a vehicle.
Following discussion of harness and vehicle types, Mr. Steve Perrine, owner-operator of Bear Hill
Horse Logging of Frenchville, PA, discussed the desired characteristics of a working horse (or pony)
including conformation and trainability and demonstrated various maneuvers under harness using a
team of Percherons. Voice commands were discussed and demonstrated, and the importance of
consistency in training was introduced. Discussion included determining what jobs suit different horses
best, and how to best enjoy your equine partner(s) in harness.
Equine nutritional needs at various stages of life and work were discussed by Susan M. Perrine,
Ph.D. in mammalian physiology. Discussion was focused on how to best meet individual participant
horses’ needs for management of various conditions, including overweight, “hard keepers”, growth,
pregnancy, lactation, and hard work (such as logging and training for competition).
Each morning educational session was followed by a question-and-answer session, with a
wonderful lunch of roast chicken provided, and used as an additional opportunity for discussion and
camaraderie. The afternoon and evening was spent fitting harnesses and carts of participants’
horses/poinies , and in driving opportunities. Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Perrine, and Dr. Perrine assisted
participants with harness fitting, cart suitability and adjustment, and gave individual driving lessons to
participants using clinician and/or participant horses as deemed appropriate and as requested by the

participants. Safety was a foremost concern for all involved, to allow for a more relaxed atmosphere and
better learning environment.

Write up and photos arranged by Susan M. Perrine, please direct questions to or
via text/phone call to 814-496-4412. Thank you.

2018 New York Youth Clinic

The New York Percheron Association held its youth and novice clinic on May 9th 2018.  The clinic was held in Cortland NY at the local fairgrounds starting at 9 in the morning.  To say the weather was less than ideal is an understatement.  It seemed as though winter had returned with temperatures barely in the 40’s with heavy rains and a good breeze to send a chill through the interior of the metal building.  A light breakfast of doughnuts, juice, milk and hot beverages (everyone’s favorite that morning!) were provided. The downpour on the metal roof was a challenge for the speakers to overcome in order for attendees to hear what was being said. President Tom Sposato welcomed the participants to the clinic.  First event involved Jennie Hatch who demonstrated clipping, mane rolls and tail braiding.  She also did a short demo on showing how to set up a halter horse for the show ring. Those who were brave enough to expose bare hands to the temperatures had the chance to practice the skills demonstrated. Bill Clark demonstrated correct harnessing of a team going over proper fitting of the harness and how that affects the comfort and workability of the horses. 

After a lunch of assorted subs and sides the part of the day arrived that everyone looks forward too- hitching and driving.  By this time the rain has eased to a fine drizzle.  The area being heavily saturated earlier was in no condition to use but fortunately the side grassy lot was large enough and well drained enough to drive the teams on.  Percheron teams from Bill Clark, Scott White and Dick Canniff were there for those who wished to learn how to drive.  Shy participants never want to be first to try something new, but with some encouragement and veteran teamsters demonstrating how gentle the large black percheron teams were- everyone who wanted to, did get a chance to drive.  For the very small younger folk, Scott White had brought a mini to drive that was quite popular too.  When the heavy rain returned and forced us inside again Scott White’s Percheron team continued to give driving opportunities inside the building.  In spite of the uncooperative weather, the event even drew in appreciative spectators from the rabbit show next door! 

The New York Percheron Association would like to thank everyone who helped and those who came to the clinic.   A very special thank you to the Percheron Horse Association of America Education & Charitable Fund for their assistance in funding of this clinic.