SAC CITY - Among all of the livestock and 4-H shows going on at the Sac County Fair this week, a different kind of show took place on the fairgrounds Friday morning.
In an outdoor arena on the southwest corner of the grounds, the Iowa Draft Pony Hitch Association show brought a group of six pony teams together to show off their best skills in men's and women's cart, tandem, team class, small team, large team, costume, unicorn, 4-up hitch, 6-up hitch and obstacle course.
For the majority of teams, the show was close to home.
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson
Paul and Shirley Wolf, of Farnhamville, prepare Violet, one of their draft ponies, for competition at the Sac County Fairgrounds Friday morning.
"This is an Iowa Association show, but the majority of us are local," said Chris Mason, with the Mason Pony Hitch, of Early. "There are a lot of teams between Sac City and Rockwell City and down into Calhoun and Greene County, so we always see good participation here."
The Mason hitch runs everything from single pony carts up to six-pony hitches
"It's all for fun," said Mason.
Draft pony shows are similar to that of draft horse shows, Heath Hallberg, with the Hallberg Pony Hitch of Sac City, said.
"It's almost the same thing," Hallberg said. "We use the same wagons, you invest the same amount of time and money, it's just the size of the horse that's different. The ponies eat a little less than the big horses do."
For many hitches, showing ponies becomes a weekend and summer hobby as they travel from show to show.
"We have 35 head of ponies on our place outside of Sac City," Hallberg said. "We breed for the shows and raise all of our own ponies. We usually hit about 10 shows a year. We'll go to three in Minnesota in August."
Randy and Gloria Mobley, of Fonda, with Mobley Ponies & Donkeys, travel to several shows across the state. They enjoy the camaraderie between the various teams.
"You get to know everyone," Randy Mobley said. "We can go to shows in Illinois and we are competing against the same hitches we do right here at home. We enjoy the people just as much as we do the ponies."
Paul and Shirley Wolf, of Farnhamville, brought a team of six ponies to Friday's show. They've been showing for eight years along with their daughter, Marcie Boerner, of Gowrie, but the family has always had horses.
"We've had the ponies since 2004, but we always had horses when we were growing up," Boerner said. "We showed horses in 4-H and our boys were involved with the hitch when they were younger."
"We do a lot of the local shows," said Shirley Wolf. "We've done a few in Minnesota, and the Spencer Fair; just enough to keep busy. We've made lots of good memories."