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Tuff

"West Virginia's Lucky Man"
born:  March 4, 1993
registered Percheron Gelding

 

  
 
 

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    Tuff is the “Big Dog” at Jake’s Flat Farm.  At 17+ hands and weighing in at over 2200 pounds, this gentle giant steals the show.  Tuff is a jet black Percheron with a long curly mane and tail.   We purchased Tuff who’s registered name is actually, “West Virginia’s Lucky Man”.  The Percheron breed originated in France, when Barbs and Arab horses were brought to the Percheron Valley in France during the Crusades and bred with the local draft stock to create a breed with the size, speed, intelligence and presence desired for a “war horse”.  When they were no longer used as a “war horse” they were trained to pull carts and for draft work.  In the United States, Percheron’s were utilized as drafthorses, pulling carts, wagons, and working  in the logging industry, dragging logs from the forest as they were cut.  The breed almost disappeared before WWII, as tractors and cars gained popularity and only recently have returned to popularity as both a heavy driving horse, and used for logging in pristine forest which require "green"harvesting methods, disallowing tractors and other vehicles that damage the forest.  Finaly they have become used more commonly as supersized saddle horses.  

    Tuff loves attention.  He has a dedicated fan club that visits his pasture from the high way or stop in the drive to say "hello" to him. Tuff’s immense size makes him a formidable teacher in spite of his gentle nature.   Tuff also enjoys a good joke or a new game. Tuff is fast friends with Dugan, one of the small ponies who insisted in moving into Tuff's pasture a few years ago.  As the two became inseparable, we finally gave up trying to keep Dugan on his side of the fence, "for his own good" and just let them be.  They are certainly an odd pair, but the best of friends. 

     Last year, we took a deep breath and added Tuff to the herd.  He was well received and delighted to be in the pasture with everyone else.  During the day he naps under the covered arena with Dugan or wanders in the barn lot to visit from stall to stall.  In the summer he joined the camps and quickly established himself as a favorite in spite of all the braids and extra brushing that is necessary to groom him to ride. This Spring, due to recent coyote activity in the neighborhood, we became worried about the ponys’, safety when they were out to pasture so we had to change our strategy.  At night the ponies are tucked in their stalls in the barn but during the day, they now stay in the front pasture near the house and neighborhood activities with Tuff, the "BIG" pony.  He has taken his pony sitter job very seriously and keeps a close watch protecting his three charges from any and all threats. It almost makes us feel sorry for any coyote that makes the mistake of coming close.

When we purchased Tuff, more than 10 years ago, he had been harnessed and started to learn to drive.  We began training him to ride using Monte Robert's "Join-Up" technique of equine/human communication.  He quickly bonded with John and learned basic ground work and under saddle skills.    He enjoys the cold snowy weather and opts to sleep outside inspite of having two stalls to choose from.  He is a big fan of food and never misses a meal.  He doesn't like the heat of the summer and prefers to graze at night and stay in the stall out of the sun during the day.  We also have learned that Tuff is a big baby when the vet visits.  He hates wormer, vaccinations and anything remotely similar to medicine.  He hates horseflies and will stand at the fence waiting for John to come swat them with a fly swatter.  On the other hand, he loves to dress up in ribbons, bows and fancy outfits and show off for an audience.  He almost smiles for the camera.  

    Tuff has very strong feet inspite of their large size, allowing him to run barefoot rather than requiring shoes.  However his large size and big feet "size 8" in horse size, require that we trim him in a special stock that supports some of his weight and stabilizes his feet for the farrier.  We have also learned that the stock is a great place to complete the 4-6 hours of braiding required to manage his mane and tail.
  
 
 
We added the video to the left just for fun and so viewers can enjoy the performance of a team of percherons in action.  I believe that this team belongs to Priefert  Farm and Ranch Equipment from Texas.  Priefert has assisted our program with discounting our purchase of portable panels and gates used in our arena and pastures.  Percherons owned by this company hold records for the largest and tallest horses in the world.

The activity you are viewing is called Roman Riding.  This is a form of vaulting, which is riding performed other than strictly astride the horse.  Percherons are particularly suited to this due to their calm nature, reliability and smooth gait inspite of the brisk snappy leg action. 

Vaulting is utilized in therapeutic riding and hippotherapy to enhance the effects of riding and to vary the position of the rider in order to obtain the greatest use of the horse's stride to teach balance and develope core strength in the rider.

(Katie has promised that she would teach Tuff to do this, if we buy her a lighted outfit)
  
 
 
We are located in Conover, North Carolina near Hickory, NC and the Catawba Valley-NC Foothills
1454 Houston Mill Road, Conover, NC  28613 
Phone  828-256-2707
  
 
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