Thursday, February 26, 2015
Hill City rancher sells team of Clydesdales
In 2010, Harvey got a call from Kathy O’Donnell telling him that the Budweiser Ranch in Pennsylvania had too many Clydesdales and it needed to get rid of some of the horses. Harvey worked with teams of horses all of his life, but he never had Clydesdales and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with a team of the big boys.
“When we got them, they were really skinny,” said Harvey. “We decided to name them Tom and Jerry. In Pennsylvania, they had started training the horses, but I had to work with them quite a bit before they could be used to pull a wagon. They were used on a hitch and another team was always in front of them. They were used to following and not being the leaders.”
“They loved to be played with, brushed, petted,” said Shari Harvey, Larry’s wife. “But you had to watch them because they would step on you and their feet are big.”
It was their feet that sent them away from the Pennsylvania Ranch because, though they are beautiful horses, one of them had a black stocking. All the other feet were white and because of that, they were not a matching pair.
Over time as the horses gained weight, they also gained skill in pulling a wagon and performing tasks around the ranch like hauling wood, dragging logs and putting up hay. Larry has taken the horses to parades and to the Experience the Outdoors Day sponsored by Forest Recreation Management Inc. — the concessionaire for the U.S. Forest Service, and used them to give wagon rides to many individuals with special needs.
Growing up in Hawarden, Iowa, Larry was around horses from the time he was a little boy. In fact, he took his siblings to school in a cart led by a horse. Later in life, Larry had a team of Belgians named Daisy and Lilly and another team of Belgians crossed with quarter horses, Poppy and Hoppy. That team enabled him to bring home a Teamster first place trophy at the Edgemont Fall Festival in 2005 and the next year at Edgemont he and the horses won first in all the categories except one.
He had a pony team with the names Chester and Black Beauty that he used to give wagon rides in Keystone at the Rushmore Borglum Story. Other teams had such names as Pete and Repete, Ino and Uno (a mule team), Musty and Dusty, Buttercup and Rosebud and Millie Sue and Willie Jasper.
For a few years, Larry and Shari Harvey and Donley Hewett had their own cowboy show and dinner at High Country Guest Ranch near Hill City. They used Poppy and Hoppy to provide wagon rides to individuals and families that came to the ranch.
For the past seven summers, Larry has used Casey and Cole, a team owned by Husted’s Dakota Badlands Outfitters that are kept at Palmer Gulch Resort and KOA near Mount Rushmore. Larry and Hewett use the horses and wagons to take guests on Western chuckwagon rides and suppers.
Working with horses can be dangerous business, no matter how experienced a person may be. In the winter of 1984, Larry was using a horse to skid logs on the hillside in Keystone, walking behind the logs as he went down the hill and riding the horse up the hill. For some reason on one of the rides up the hill, Larry was bucked off and landed on a rock.
Fortunately, the horse went home, alerting the family to the fact that something must be wrong. Larry broke his pelvis in three places and was out of the horse business for a while until he could recuperate.
As he looks back over his years of working with teams of horses, the South Dakota Centennial Ride in 1989 — a 10-day ride that celebrated South Dakota’s 100th birthday — really stands out to him.
“There were 100 wagons in the wagon train and we went from Humboldt to Huron,” said Larry. “I had Daisy and Lilly then and we traveled most of the time on asphalt, and by the time we ended the ride, the shoes had worn very thin on the toes.”
His wife remembers a few highlights from that ride. They had to go several days without a shower and they were told to lie flat in the field because of a passing tornado near Howard.
“It was pretty amazing to see a barn being whipped around in the tornado, as if it were a cardboard box,” said Larry. “But the tornado passed by us and no one in the wagon train was hurt.”
A baby was born in one of the wagons along the way. The couple had cleaned a section of the horse trailer for the express purpose of delivering a baby there nd that was where the little pioneer was born. At the next stop, the couple was able to see a doctor to make sure everything was all right.
“We went about 15-20 miles each day, but on the last day, we had to go about 30 miles to finish the Centennial Ride. It was quite a sight to see 100 wagons and 100 horses with riders come into Huron,” said Larry.
Now that Tom and Jerry are gone, Harvey is without the team that allowed him to work and play with horses and wagons. Though he is a little sad to see the horses go, he knows he will still have contact with teams of horses.
“Donley has horses that I can use and I’m going on my eighth summer at Palmer Gulch,” said Larry.
To sell Tom and Jerry, Larry put up a notice at the Black Hills Stock Show and was inundated with telephone inquiries about the Clydesdales. He is happy that the duo went to a family in Gary.
“I could just tell that they were going to a good home,” said Larry. “There are kids in the family and I know they will spend time brushing and playing with the horses.”