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Goldsmiths’ gentle giants

Fri, Mar 7th, 2014
Posted in Chatfield Features

Amy and Dan Goldsmith own Goldsmith Belgians outside Chatfield, Minn. and are very active horse owners. Photo by Barb Jeffers

Dan Goldsmith says, “Don’t be intimidated by their size.” As I look up...way up to the face of “Fawn”, a strikingly magnificent Belgian horse, looks down with affection in her eyes.

Amy and Dan Goldsmith own Goldsmith Belgians located outside Chatfield, Minn. and along with their family are active in many events to promote the breed.

Sons Tyler, 20, Jared, 17, and Nathan, 13, combined with Dan’s parents and sister’s help, Dan and Amy attend to the horses needs at home and the work involved in participating in different events.

The Goldsmiths enter the horses in shows and horse-drawn carriage competitions using prize money to invest back into the horses needs such as food and equipment. Goldsmith Belgians are involved in county fairs such as the Olmsted County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair, and have attended Iowa State Fair in the past.

The family stays busy during the summer entering the horses in approximately eight parades pulling a carriage with anywhere from one to six horses. Dan states that he enjoys bringing the horses and colts to parades as well as fairs so people can see them especially kids explaining that many town kids don’t get the chance to see and touch horses very often.

Dan enjoys the temperament of Belgians saying they are easygoing and friendly, describing them as “gentle giants” and adding that they are like any other animal - if you treat them right they will treat you right in return.

Sharing this special breed of horses is the reason the Goldsmiths do everything they do. On the day of a parade the Goldsmiths begin preparing at 7 a.m. giving bathes, brushing, and whatever else the horses may need.

The horses and equipment then need to be loaded in order to arrive to the parade sight early so the Goldsmiths can braid the horses manes and get them harnessed to the carriage in plenty of time for the start of the parade. And once the parade is over everything must be done in reverse before the day is over. “But people get to see them,” Dan says, which is what it’s all about.

The family loves to see the reactions from children and adults when the horses are brought to an event. Dan says for some adults the horses can bring back childhood memories and for children the horses can create new memories and possibly a new affection for horses and the Belgian breed.

Goldsmith Belgians also use the horses to give rides and hayrides and additionally still use the horses to clean the barns. The horses also get a large amount of attention from Tyler, Jared, Nathan and their friends who ride the horses for enjoyment.

The Goldsmiths breed horses typically having two to six colts per year usually selling the stud colts and keeping the fillies. They also break the horses themselves. Dan finds that having children take care of horses teaches them responsibility. The horses have taught the family much more than responsibility however.

One particular horse, Sally, “saved my dad’s life” said Dan. His father, Wayne, was driving the horse on their land through a creek and hit a dirt clod which threw Wayne off of the wagon breaking his ribs and shoulder. The horse stood in the water next to Wayne and did not move until Dan’s son Jared came to help. Dan said that horse is “priceless”, which is how any family would feel after an animal shows such loyalty.

All-American Co-op of Chatfield sponsors Goldsmith Belgians for the parades they are involved in each year, but the cost of all other activities the family is involved in comes out of their own pockets.

Goldsmith Belgians enters competitions where they compete against sponsored hitches but the Goldsmith family are their own sponsors putting in all of the time and money themselves. They do all of this to promote the Belgian breed which means so much to them.

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