The North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series has become the most prestigious draft horse event on the Continent. Thousands of spectators have cheered on the tremendous Draft Horse Hitches at venues such as Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, the Washington International Horse Show, Kansas City’s American Royal, and the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts. Six gleaming one-ton horses create a spectacle as they stomp into the arena as one, outfitted in patent leather and chrome harness pulling the historically restored freight wagons. Crowds can literally feel the earth tremble as the massive hitches pass by!
Each year, Six Horse hitches across the United States and Canada compete at state and county fairs and agricultural exhibitions to accumulate points for the Classic Series. Close to two hundred hitches travel within their region and beyond, competing at sixty qualifying shows throughout North America. The competition builds to a climax at the end of the series, when the four highest point hitches in each of three breed classifications are invited to compete for up to $100,000.00 in premiums the North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series World Finals Championship finals.
In 1987, Dr. John Weber of Live Oak Plantation, Ocala, Florida presented the Classic Series idea to a number of dedicated draft breed representatives, as a way of promoting and marketing the draft horse, as well as to increase the premiums currently being paid to participants competing in six horse hitch classes. From that initial meeting, the Classic Series mushroomed into sixty shows that are qualifiers for points accumulation, with almost two hundred six-horse hitch owners earning points towards becoming one of twelve finalists. The 2019 Classic Series World Finals purse amounted to over $100,000.00.
The goal of the North American Classic Series to promote the draft horse breeds is being realized within all levels of competition. After becoming Classic Series six-horse hitch qualifying events, small local and county fairs have blossomed into tremendous draft horse hitch shows, bringing spectators back year after year to root their favorites on to a win. Enthusiasm builds as the season begins to come to a close, with exhibitors and spectators alike anticipating which of the six-horse hitches will be named as part of the final twelve.
Each Classic Series qualifying show must also pay out a minimum of $2,500.00 in premiums. This has helped to pave the way for a new standard in the draft horse industry. Many top venues now pay premiums in excess of $5,000.00 per six-horse hitch class, with several averaging well over the minimum premium of $2,500.00.
The qualifying shows are scheduled to run from early September through Labor Day weekend annually. Once the final numbers are reported, the top four hitches in each of three breed classifications; Belgian, Percheron, and Clydesdale/Shire are invited to attend and participate in the Classic Series Finals Championship Show. All twelve hitches are guaranteed premiums and travel money.
For many years the Classic Series was supported by a handful of dedicated draft horse promoters. Through the efforts of that small group of individuals, the North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series and its “Final” has grown to be the “Triple-Crown” of draft horse competitions, stimulating growth and interest in all of the draft horse breeds. You can become part of the excitement by joining as a member in support of the Classic Series, or as a qualifying six-horse hitch event.