Upon first sight, my eyes surveyed their appearance. I immediately could understand an adorn fondness and a strong sense of team work that the two provide working each day together. They presented such a strong elegance as their ancestors have for centuries. Reba and Duke share several common bonds besides working side by side each day as they both are Percheron horses on the “Rode-em-in-Ranch” of Browerville, Minnesota.
Angie purchased Duke seven years ago. She had viewed a classified ran in her local newspaper on another horse that she went to inspect. However, the horse advertised didn’t strike her fancy. While viewing the horse she saw Duke standing out in the pasture with his beautiful black coat an asked about the horse. The man stated that Duke’s wind pipe had been crushed while working for an Amish farm and was no longer useful. Angie studied Duke further an asked, “What ya gotta have,” referring to buying Duke. The man stated the KILL PRICE was $800 and before he could say anything else, Angie said, “I’ll take him.” Today, Duke is 18 years old and has been an inspiration for Angie. Duke is used to train all the new colts in team driving and is also saddle broke where Angie shows off his massive elegance during the Saint Jude Trail Ride held near by annually. “I just love him very much” states Angie, talking about Duke.
Reba who is a perfect match wearing her black coat is a seven year old. Angie purchased Reba at an Amish sale hoping she would be a great partner with the Duke. “You never know how good they are until you get the horse home and begin working with them,” states Angie. “Reba has been a pleasure to have around. Duke and Reba perform all my driving events because they have never spooked at anything,” continued Angie. “ Reba is also broke to ride is used as a broodmare too.
The Percheron breeds are from an unknown 1600 ancestry which begins in the Perche Valley of northern France. These mighty horses were almost completely gray color indicated through many paintings of the Knights in Shinny Armor. The many painting arriving from the middle ages almost always indicated the French knights on gray horses. After the days of knighthood, emphasis in horse breeding was shifted so as to develop horses better able to pull heavy stage coaches at a fast trot. The Gray horses were preferred because their light coloring was more visible at night. This new type of horse was called the "Diligence Horse", because the stage coaches they pulled were named "diligences". After the stage coach was replaced by rail, the modern Percheron type arose as a slightly heavier horse for use in agriculture and heavy hauling work moving goods from docks to railway terminals. However, Arabian stallions were also made available to Percheron breeders for use in breeding army mounts, a practice that began in 1760 at the royal stud at Le Pin. Gallipoly and Godolphin were two of the most notable Arabian stallions used, with Gallipoly siring Jean le Blanc, a founding stallion of the Percheron breed, foaled in 1830. Today, all Percherons trace their ancestry to this stallion.
These magnificent horses would be exported to South Africa, North America and South America becoming highly popular for their ability to work heavy loads and their beautiful grace. Reba and Duke both show this superb elegance in their appearance as they today work side by side. Angie also has her huge Saint Bernard Dog name “Me-too.” I asked her about having such a huge dog and she replied, “Well, like my horses, I like everything big and grand.” Her horses are just that. To contact “Rode-em-in-Ranch“ email email@example.com
Story by: Roger Edison
Reba and Duke with Owner Trainer Angie Hanson Rodeman