When you hear hooves think Percheron horses not zebras

David Trotter, Farm Interpretive Aide

Vistors pet new Percheron horse Bob at Slate Run Farm
Bob, Slate Run Farm’s new Percheron draft horse, gets a welcome pat from visitors. (Dave Trotter)

Horses play an integral role in the activities at Slate Run Living Historical Farm, performing many of the same tasks tractors do on modern farms. Just as tractors are occasionally replaced due to age or wear, so are our horses. We recently purchased Bob, a 6-year-old Percheron gelding, to replace one of our aging horses. Bob was raised on an Amish farm near Fresno, Ohio and is already trained to do much of the same work he will do here.

Bob and partner cultivating corn at Slate Run Farm
Bob and Maude help the farmer to cultivate corn at Slate Run Farm. (Dave Trotter)

Horses are herd animals. When introducing a new horse there are some scuffles as they sort out the hierarchy. Bob is fitting in nicely with the herd. The horses typically work on farm equipment as part of a team rather than individually. Some head shaking and snorting is expected as they get used to their new work partners. This includes adjustments for all parties involved, including the farmer driving the horses. In the field, Bob has demonstrated good listening skills, a steady gait and willingness to match his teammate’s pace, showing he is quite familiar with the work.

Girl drives Percheron horses on education class at Slate Run Farm
A young girl ground drives the Percheron horses at Slate Run Living Historical Farm. The Farm offers free programs where visitors can learn about horses and the work they do in the fields. (Ann Culek)

In the 1880s, Percheron horses were common on farms and even in cities. Visitors to Slate Run Farm are drawn to these 1800-pound animals. All the attention Bob receives from visitors is one new aspect of his life that is different from an Amish farm, but he seems to be taking this and other changes in stride.

The horse Bob is replacing is Sailor. We are working with Friends for Life Animal Haven to find a new home for him. Sailor is an 18-year-old Percheron Standardbred cross gelding who has worked closely with the public for nine years. He weighs about 1,500 to 1,600 pounds and is about 16 hands tall. Because of his arthritis, the veterinarian has recommended lighter duty.

He is not a trail horse but can be ridden and pull a small wagon or do light farm chores. If you want to visit Sailor, there is regularly someone available at the Farm to show him, but to see him hitched it is best to make an appointment by calling the Farm at 614.833.1880. If you are interested in Sailor and to find out rehoming cost and details about adopting, please go to the Friends for Life Animal Haven website. The volunteer, no kill group is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization.

The 19th-century barn at Slate Run Living Historical Farm
Head over to the barn at Slate Run Farm to see the work horses and other farm animals in their stables. (Kirt Beiling)

Share with us your memories of visits to Slate Run Living Historical Farm or post a pic on Metro Parks Instagram.

2 thoughts on “When you hear hooves think Percheron horses not zebras

  1. We love it there even took some friends with us the next time. Ate lunch at the picnic table. Took friends and kids in they had so much fun and learned a lot they can’t quit talking about it. Can’t wait to come back hopefully this weekend. Such an amazing place.

  2. Nancy, delighted to hear you and your friends and kids had a great time at the Farm. Thanks for your comment.

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