Madison Magazine Holiday 2020 - Page 8

We Live Here

Kroger Stables

them ,” Joe said .
Joe said his black percheron , Midnight , came from Pennsylvania . Kroger ’ s Stables currently has three working carriage horses . The farm tries to breed their own horses and raise them to be their carriage horses — training them for their job as they grow up .
But the horses aren ’ t the only thing which makes a carriage spectacular . The fine gear the horses wear , from their bridle to their shoes , help to make the experience aesthetically pleasing as well as safe . Helen brought up the fact the carriage horses have special shoes to help them while doing their job . Joe noted regular horse shoes are made for working in the dirt . But when they are introduced to black top they tend to slip . So , his horses have a coating of acrylic on their shoes .
“ With his weight it ’ ll bite into the blacktop , but not hurt it , so that he can pull and stop ,” Joe said . The collar ( the piece which wraps around their neck ), Joe said , is the main pulling part of their gear . He explained the lines , which run from the horse ’ s bridle and through the harness and back to the driver in the carriage , is the main breaking and turning for the carriage .
Joe said to be an official carriage driver you have to have two clips from the lines to the bridle , just in case one of them snaps . So the driver would not lose control . There are many factors which go into becoming an official carriage driver . Joe said to be considered an official carriage driver , you must be 25-years-old and show you can control and handle a carriage .
“ A vehicle , you ’ ve got full control . A horse can get spooked at something , and that horse with the size he is , you can ’ t hold him if he got really spooked .” Joe explained . “ Now , once they ’ re trained , he might spook momentarily for a few feet , but then with me in control with the lines I can get him back under control .”
Joe has been driving his horses for so long he says they can tell when he is the one in the driver ’ s seat .
“ I ’ ll give you an example . We run Hamburg every December … My oldest daughter came and got on and rode with me . I said , ‘ You wanna drive ,’ and she said ‘ Sure .’ So I handed the lines over to her ,” Joe said . “ So , Midnight , he looks around . Stops and looks back … With his blinders on his bridle he can ’ t
Midnight , one of the carriage horses for Kroger Stables and Family Farm ’ s carriage business , poses for the camera .

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Madison Magazine HOLIDAY 2020