The World Percheron Congress has been taking place throughout this week at the Keystone Centre in Brandon with many of the top breeders and exhibitors from across North America are competing in the various classes.
Robert Sparrow came all the way from central Missouri to act as ringman for the 2022 Congress. “I work to facilitate the show and the safety in the ring. Whatever the judge and ring announcer need that falls under my category.
“We have a real variety of classes this week including line classes, six horse hitch, eight horse hitch and we have farm team classes.”
The Percheron is a breed of draft horse that originated in western France. The breed takes its name from the area in France that it hailed from, the former Perche province. This majestic animal is usually gray or black in color. They are well muscled, and known for their intelligence and willingness to work.
“In the ring you’re always looking for a potential problem or at least I am because I don’t want to make bad press because it’s not good for our industry so if I can stop something before it happens that’s my job” said Sparrow.
Robert Sparrow’s favourite class is the six horse hitch competition.
“Those hitches are always so awesome. Watching six horses moving as a team is truly inspiring and when you have some of the top teamsters like we have here it’s a lot of fun watch six horses going in one direction under one driver. It’s like a good basketball team you need a good coach on the bench to make the team successful and that’s like out six horse hitches if you don’t have a good driver on the seat we aren’t going to see what we need to see.”
Sparrow grew up in the draft horse business and has a lot of ties to the industry.
“My father was in the draft horse business and my grand father was in the draft horse business. We still keep about 45 head of Percheron horses and I’m in partnership with the Strain family from Boissevain and I have some of their mares that have been down there for 15 years and we raise colts out of them.
Robert Sparrow is a past president of the Percheron Horse Association of American and he has been involved in six different Percheron Congresses and he says he truly loves the big horses.
“I haven’t been at the Keystone Centre for 46 years. My last time here was when I was showing with Bob Murphy of Killarney and we won the six horse hitch here 46 years ago in the summer show but that horse competition is no longer held.”
The World Percheron Congress wraps up on Saturday.