2009-08-08 / Top News

Fifteen Horse Breeds Showcased at Show

By Kerri Jo Molitor

Dan Eckhardt drives a Gig with two Friesians in tandem at the Breeds of Mackinac Show Saturday, July 25, at 3 p.m. Friesians are native to the Dutch province of Friesland and are known for their luxurious hair. Driving them in tandem means one horse is in front of the other while pulling a carriage. Dan Eckhardt drives a Gig with two Friesians in tandem at the Breeds of Mackinac Show Saturday, July 25, at 3 p.m. Friesians are native to the Dutch province of Friesland and are known for their luxurious hair. Driving them in tandem means one horse is in front of the other while pulling a carriage. Horses came from all over Mackinac Island to the Breeds of Mackinac Show at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25, next to the school. With 15 breeds on display, ranging from common draft horses to rare breeds, the crowd of more than 100 was treated to the sight of horses at their finest. Summer resident Candi Dunnigan narrated the event, describing the breeds and the differences between them.

A horse differs from a pony by height, with a horse standing just over 14 hands tall. A hand is about four inches and the horse's height is measured from the left point to the withers, the ridge between the shoulder blades. Mrs. Dunnigan also described different gaits of horses, and what it means when a horse is called hot-, cold-, or warm-blooded.

The first two horses in the ring, Friesians, was pulling a carriage called a gig driven by Dan Eckhardt. The horses were driven in tandem, meaning one is in front of the other while pulling the carriage. Friesians are native to the Dutch province of Friesland and are known for their luxurious hair.

Colton Fisher rides his Pinto, Topez, in the arena at the Breeds of Mackinac Show during the Festival of the Horse Saturday, July 25. In the background, other horses wait their turn to enter the ring. The Festival of the Horse proceeds will be used toward establishing a new community stable. Colton Fisher rides his Pinto, Topez, in the arena at the Breeds of Mackinac Show during the Festival of the Horse Saturday, July 25. In the background, other horses wait their turn to enter the ring. The Festival of the Horse proceeds will be used toward establishing a new community stable. Maryanke Alexander and Michelle Stuck then performed a musical presentation on their own Friesians. Mrs. Stuck was dressed in traditional riding gear and Mrs. Alexander was dressed in a red gown. Her horse was also dressed up with ribbons tied in her mane and tail. With choreographed movements, they rode around the ring with synchronized turns.

The second breed of horse to enter the arena was a Standardbred named Skip, owned by Al Sibinic. Skip was pulling Dr. Sibinic in a carriage known as a jogging cart. Standardbreds are used as traveling horses.

The smallest breed at the Breeds of Mackinac Show Saturday, July 25, was Gingersnap, a POA, or Pony of America. Gingersnap, led by Katy Penney, is a 4-H pony and resides in the 4-H stables on the east end of town. The smallest breed at the Breeds of Mackinac Show Saturday, July 25, was Gingersnap, a POA, or Pony of America. Gingersnap, led by Katy Penney, is a 4-H pony and resides in the 4-H stables on the east end of town. The third horse, the foundation for most of the riding breeds, was an Arabian. This one, owned by Claire Dunnigan is named Ibin Matook. After the Arabian horse came Penny Barr's American Tennessee Walker, Strider.

The working horses were next in line, with a Belgian Draft from the Carriage Tours Barn led into the arena. The horse is one of the most recognizable horses on Mackinac Island and usually comes with a reddish brown coat. Percherons, another working horse on the Island, were next with the horse John. Percherons are usually black or dappled white and gray. Grand Hotel uses six Percherons to pull its large maroon carriages.

Trish Martin's horse, named Island's Grey Skye, is a large Thoroughbred. Ms. Martin's horse is gray, but the most popular color for this type of horse is bay. The next horse, an American Quarterhorse named Tex, is owned by Katy Penney. The American Quarterhorse is the most popular and versatile horse in the United States, standing between 14.5 to 16 hands tall. They can be seen in large numbers at Cindy's Riding Stables and Jack's Livery. Quarter horses were so named because they used to be raced on tracks a quarter of a mile long.

Brian Dunnigan led the next horse into the ring, an Appaloosa Quarterhorse named Puzzle. Puzzle was followed by a Pinto named Topez. Topez was ridden by Colton Fisher, a 4-H Club member. The rarest breed on the Island came next, a Norwegian Fjord named Emma. Emma was led by her owner, Shannon Schuller. The horse is one of only a few in the United States.

Two Hackneys from Grand Hotel, Prince and Duke, showed off their high-stepping gait as they pulled a carriage driven by Ben Mosley, Grand Hotel stable manager. Mrs. Dunnigan took a break from narrating to ride out on her Connemara named White Clover Casper. She was dressed in hunt attire because Connemaras were often used for hunting animals such as fox.

Rachel Spitzer led her Halflinger, Blaze, into the arena. Blaze is the only Halflinger on the Island. The last breed, a POA, or Pony of America, is named Gingersnap. Gingersnap lives in the 4-H Barn on the east end of town.

All of the horses shown were brought back into the arena so their owners could answer questions about them and curious audience members could pet the horses.

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