The 20th annual Horse Progress Days will be held at Arthur, Ill., July 5-6. The area will welcome between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors from the U.S. and several foreign countries to see live demonstrations, attend seminars on a variety of topics and obtain information on all aspects of farming with draft animals.
The 20th annual Horse Progress Days will be held at Arthur, Ill., July 5-6. The area will welcome between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors from the U.S. and several foreign countries to see live demonstrations, attend seminars on a variety of topics and obtain information on all aspects of farming with draft animals.

ARCOLA, Ill. — The 20th annual Horse Progress Days returns to the Arthur area July 5-6, and event organizers plan on living up to the motto, “Something for Everyone.”

The show is shared between six sites in the eastern half of the U.S. As it was in 2001 and 2007, the Vernon Yoder Farm, located at 650 E. County Road 400 N., Arcola, will be the site for this year’s event.

The Arthur-Arcola area will welcome between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors from the U.S. and several foreign countries to see live demonstrations, attend seminars on a variety of topics and obtain information on all aspects of farming with draft animals.

More than 150 vendors will be on hand with equipment, feed, animal health services, tack and harness, horse breeding and many other exhibits related to agriculture in general.

The event is a family affair where organizers will set up a large Ladies Tent with displays and exhibits specifically targeted for the women in attendance. Children will have the opportunity to visit a petting zoo, enjoy a playground area and view some exotic wildlife.

Each day the show will start out with a pony pull at 8 a.m. All different types of equipment will be on display, with the field demonstrations starting at 9 a.m. each day.

At the same time, produce demonstrations will start with plows, tillage, rototillage, transplanting, cultivators, sprayers, no-till pumpkins, mulch lifter and irrigation hook-ups, as well as drip and overhead irrigation technique demonstrations.

Next up each day is sheep herding, which takes places at 10 a.m., before a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. The break will feature famous cowboy Krist King and a whip cracking demonstration.

The afternoon starts off with a hay demonstration with small to large mowers, followed by rakes and balers. Plant diagnostic problems will be discussed at 2:30 p.m., followed by an auction at 4 p.m.

Seminars fill both days, as well, with multiple experts in their fields giving demonstrations and advice and discussing a multitude of issues dealing with horse farming and all things agriculture.

A complete schedule of the demonstrations and the seminar will be available the days of the show or can be found at www.horseprogressdays.com.

Ivan Gingerich will talk about supplemental grazing for livestock or how farmers can add more livestock without adding extra acres to the space; Milt Yoder will bring 46 years of farming experience into showing proper harness and collar fitting that works for both farmers and their horses; and Chris Jess will walk attendees through basic horseshoeing.

Want to know what to look for in a good draft horse? Robert Detweller and Gary Nebergall will focus on physiological details, while Lisa Eller, owner and expert on Belgians and other draft breeds, will discuss equine reproduction.

Training horses will be the topic of Wilmer Slabaugh and James Wheat, who will talk about and demonstrate round pen training, standing to shoe, trailer loading and other methods to work humanely with a horse.

Horse Progress Days also boasts an emphasis on the “local” farming movement and not just with the draft animals. Raymond Yoder and David Schlabach will bring their knowledge on growing produce and fruit to share with those in attendance.

Tex Thomas, a member of the American Rabbit Breeders Hall of Fame, will be on hand to discuss all things about the care and breeding of rabbits. David Fischer, University of Illinois Extension dairy educator, will be giving a seminar on forage quality to improve profitability.

As the name implies, the stars of the show will be the draft animals themselves. Each day will start out with a performance of the famous Percheron team, Texas Thunder.

That team and multiple others will display in a breed presentation at 6 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday to conclude the daily events with some of the finest draft horses in North America.

The beautiful and best horses will come from all over the country, as well as some of the finest farms and ranches — Behn Brothers Clydesdales, Oklahoma Express Clydesdales, Blue Ribbon Farms Percherons, Shady Maple Farm Halflingers and Rock Creek Farms Belgians, as well as 2012 World Champion Belgians owned by Bob Gunville, along with many local hitches of 4/6/8 in a grand display of horse power.

Ample parking will be available on the large farm, which will be the site of the largest show of its kind in North America.

A bus tour has been organized to visit a wide selection of Amish businesses the day before the sale on Thursday, July 4. The tour will give visitors a most complete overview of the largest and oldest Amish communities in Illinois and one of the largest in nation — all surrounding the Arthur area.

Sites to be visited include Dax Holz Haus, Family Health Foods, Edgewood Buggy Shop, D.G. Wood Processing, Beachy’s Bulk Food, Sunlit Pasture Farms and Shady Crest Farm Market.

Lunch will be served at the Amish home of Lorena Hochstetler. Contact Neil Hostetler at (217) 543-2217 for information on the pre-show bus tour.