The Record Setting Cedarfarm Gelding Hitch
This champion 8-horse hitch of Percheron geldings ruled the show ring in the latter half of the 90's for John and Gerry Leekley's Cedarfarm Percherons of Gladwin, Michigan. Assembled via the efforts of horsemen like Dave Fry and Bobby Shanahan, this hitch of geldings would become a special part of Percheron history in February of 1999 when they were dispersed through the (now discontinued) Eastern States Draft Horse Sale in Columbus, Ohio.
The group of horses brought a collective- and then unprecedented- sum of $183,000. Most notably, the lead team, Ryan's Commander Mack and Pearson's Laurel's Lonnie, brought $34,000 a piece, a record at that time. Not far behind was the wheel team, consisting of the geldings Northwood's Luke and Duke of Rockville, going for $30,000 each, to the Hocking Valley Hitch. The last two teams sold for $16,500 and $11,000 (each horse), respectively.
During the time these geldings were earning their blue ribbons, Cedarfarm Percherons was leasing the renowned stallion, M.G.'s Black Diamond, from Bill and Lisa Hanson of Minnesota. The Leekley's soon began driving a pair of home-bred Black Diamond daughters, Cedarfarm Wixom and Cedarfarm Willow. Over the next few years, Cedarfarm would build a six-up of mares around the two sisters, and these mares would do their own share of winning on the tanbark before they, too, were dispersed as part of Cedarfarms first herd Production/Reduction sale; hosted at their facilities in Gladwin.
This award winning hitch is a good reminder that the presence, style, drive and natural motion of the Percheron, (and its marketability), is not a new concept; it is a trait inherent to this great breed, and one that has been thoroughly integrated, over many generations, into its registry of horses.