The goal of the Classic Series to promote the draft horse breeds is being realized within all levels of competition. Fairs that participate as Classic Series six-horse hitch qualifying events have played an essential part by putting on tremendous draft horse shows that bring spectators back year after year to cheer for their favorite hitch on to a win. Enthusiasm builds as the season begins to close, with exhibitors and spectators alike anticipating which of the six-horse hitches will be named as part of the final fifteen.
While the six-horse hitch is the staple of the Classic Series, leadership recognized the need to expand its offerings. The Classic Cart is an opportunity for the current membership, of course, but it also allows those with a smaller contingency to participate. The Classic Cart operates similarly to the six-horse hitches, with competitors earning points throughout North America. Regional finals are held within three regions – West, Central and East.
The Classic Halter Series made its debut in 2022. A new offering to showcase the backbone of the draft horse industry, the breeders. Similarly, CHS members earn points and top competitors are invited to compete at the World Finals.
The North American Classic Series season runs from Labor Day to Labor Day. Approximately 75 competitions are held as stand-alone events, town fairs, county fairs, state fairs and agriculture expositions. The top fifteen-point earners – five hitches from each major breed category – Belgians, Clydesdales/Shires and Percherons are invited to participate in World 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 fifteen finalists. The 2020-2021 Classic Series World Finals purse amounted to over $100,000.00.