10/15/08 - Caledonia, NY - This was a really great day off. In the morning, my host Dave Ayers took me on a recon of my route to Buffalo. On the way back we stopped at the farm of a good friend of his that breeds Belgians and has one of the top 6 horse hitches in the country. He had some really big horses. Most of his colts looked like yearlings and the yearlings looked like they were two or three
Later, Dave hitched up his prize winning Haflinger 6-up to a training wagon. With this rig, he gets to exercise all 6 horses, while only having to harness up two. The other four are ponied off the wagon.
Doc and Dolly watched closely to see if they could pick up any pointers, while Deedee and Joyce said, “yeah, yeah, we’ve seen it all.”
Dave has been driving and showing horses since he was a kid and is considered one of the best in the business.
Several years ago, Dick Sparrow was at a fair to demonstrate his 40 horse hitch (10 rows of 4 horses). Dick was severely injured while trying to stop a runaway 6-up right before the demonstration. Dick asked Dave to step in for him and drive the hitch. With 5 lines in each hand, and two guys using reels in the back to pull in the line slack, Dave successfully drove the hitch the first time. To give you an idea of how much of an accomplishment this is - When making a 90 degree turn, 11 feet of line slack had to be reeled in from the lead team. When doing a 180 degree turn, the lead team was passing him on the side (going the other direction), while he was still driving the wheelers straight ahead.
Both Dave and Aileen Ayers were fantastic hosts and I truly enjoyed my day off on their farm - THANKS!