Big O Tires Brabant Belgians Draft Horses
By Carol Dillow Phillips

Below a picture of the Big O Tires Brabant Draft horses being trained at our ranch by my husband Bill.  These two guys are full brothers, and weigh 2,500 lbs. each.  A Brabant Belgian is a Draft horse that originated in Europe.  The Brabants differ from an American Belgian in that they are much stockier built and come in many varying colors while the American Belgian is always a blonde horse.

These two brothers will be participating in parades in Las Animas County in the future.  Since the team together weighs 5,000+ lbs., they will get lots of ground training beforehand to ensure that they do not "explode" when they participate in noisy events with lots of unpredictable things going on!

Soon, residents will be able to see them pulling sleighs and wagons down the roads.

Big O Brabant Team Training at El Rancho O Grande
Big O Brabant Team Training at El Rancho O Grande
That's Ace on the left, Dozer in the middle, and Bill on the right

The Brabants are now ground-driving on the SFTR roads.  Ground-driving is an important part of training BEFORE they are hooked up to sleighs or wagons.  Ground-driving includes putting on all of the gear they will be wearing, driving the horses through all sorts of unfamiliar terriotry, ensuring that the horses are obeying your commands both with the "driving lines" and "voice", and ensuring that the horses are working together.  (Can you imagine what type of wreck one could have with 5,000 lbs. of horses AND a wagon attached if they didn't receive the proper ground-driving training?)

We have a particular area on our section of SFTR road that we call "Sleepy Hollow."  There are lots of very large trees and noises right in this section of road, so we always make sure all of our horses are quiet and well-behaved when they are passing through "Sleepy Hollow."

Ace and Dozer are working together beautifully.  Almost time to add the wagon to their training!

Big O Brabant Team Training at El Rancho O Grande

Big O Brabant Team Training at El Rancho O Grande

Big O Brabant Team Training at El Rancho O Grande

Below is a picture of "Rosie" our mare Brabant standing next to me.  Rosie only weighs 1,800 lbs as she is only 4 years old and is still growing.  Good thing that draft horses are also referred to as "gentle giants!"

Big O Brabant Team Training at El Rancho O Grande