Draft Horses at the Vee Bar Posted March 22, 2017


Goliath and Decker’s Story

Less than 100 years ago, America relied heavily on horses for transportation and work.  With the invention and widespread use of cars and tractors, the need for horses greatly diminished.  Now, farms and ranches that use draft horses for work are rarely found, and the hobby is described as a lost art.  However, there is still a nostalgic feeling that most of us get when we see a strong team of sturdy horses pulling a wagon, or decked out in their flashy harness.

Goliath and Decker

You can imagine when the Vee Bar wranglers catch two huge Percherons, harness them up, and hook them onto a wagon, guests are quite awed by the… well, awesomeness… of the team!  The Vee Bar Percherons tower over the other horses in the corral, and they are not hard to spot, because of their pure black color, and their sheer size.  These big dudes go by the names Goliath and Decker.  No, their names don’t go together like most team horses do, like Butch and Sunny, or Daisy and May, or Sampson and Goliath, or Black and Decker.  These guys don’t have matching names because their story is somewhat unique.

We purchased Goliath with his partner Sampson when they were 3 and 4 years old.  Brent and Kari put a lot of time and work into making them a great team, and they were young enough that they needed regular work.  Kari and Brent took them to Colorado when they lived there in order to work with them consistently through the winter.  Both horses, but especially Goliath, would lunge into the harness when he was first hooked to the wagon so the start was a bit rough!  They did not like to stand still while they were hooked onto something either.  Kari and Brent hooked Sampson and Goliath to every piece of farm equipment that was available—plows, wagons, drags, and more!  The horses would work up a good sweat and then Kari and Brent would make them stand… and stand… and stand.  Eventually they came to appreciate standing more.  By the following summer, Sampson and Goliath and Kari and Brent were a great match.  However, in his free time Sampson was a regular Houdini and eventually, he got himself into a mess he could not get out of, and Kari and Brent could not help.

Goliath and Waylon, partners for three years

The search was on for a new team, or a new partner for Goliath.  Sometimes it is quite difficult to pair two horses together and expect them to be a team, unless they have worked together since a young age.  Goliath ended up getting matched with two or three more partners.  Although they pulled okay together, they were certainly not friends and they did not socialize in the same “circles” when they were turned out.  (Yes, horses do that!)  To complicate matters, Goliath had two abscesses two summers in a row.  We decided that it was time to get a new team, so we purchased a very gentle team, Black and Decker.  Black was older than Decker but both were very nice, middle-aged horses, which now matched Goliath’s age.  We wasted no time hooking them up, and getting to know them once we had them at the ranch.  Black ended up with a condition that was treated by an equine chiropractor.  The condition caused dis-coordination in his legs which made it unsafe for him to be hooked to a wagon.  One day, out of urgent necessity, we decided that we needed to use Goliath and Decker together and try to make them a permanent team.  It was quickly apparent that Goliath had finally found his new team mate, who was also his friend.  These guys have been paired together for three years now and they get along, both while hitched to equipment and out in the meadows!  So, that’s the story about how Goliath and Decker came to be!

The Vee Bar offers wagon rides weekly as part of the summer guest ranch package.  To learn more about wagon rides the rest of the year, view information here.

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