This 17-hand Belgian Gelding was 16 years old when I bought him with the Old Towne Carriage Company in 1992. Big Jim was a challenge because he had recent weight loss, malnutrition, poor skin condition, and his uneven bite causing him to toss his head up and lose grain when he ate. But, despite these shortcomings, it was worth taking the risk because he had been expertly trained in his youth as the lead horse in a team of 6 in Iowa. Also, my Vet was very skilled and willing to help me; and my personal background included a doctorate in human nutrition with work in that field for 22 years. As you can see, Big Jim recovered quickly as his work regimen was decreased, his teeth were floated, and his diet was improved. Within a year his weight increased from 1,500 to 1,900 pounds. Big Jim provided tours with me in Fernandina until 2000.
This handsome 16.3H Belgian Gelding was born in Dickson, Tennessee and worked as a logging horse in Alabama until he was 4 years old - so he was a youngster when he arrived in Fernandina for his 2-week trial period. He was accustomed to pulling a heavy load and at first he walked with his head low to the ground and pulled our much lighter carriages hard and fast! Other than that, he was sound, safe and sweet - so I decided to keep him. Dickson kept growing until he was 8 years old; his working posture gradually changed; and Fernandina's residents and visitors heard the clip-clop from his metal shoes hitting the pavement for 19 years as he proudly pulled carriages for tours, birthdays, proposals and weddings, parades, and other special events.
"The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."
- Arabian Proverb
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
- Winston Churchill