By Christine Donnamiller
At the Draft Horse and Pony “Open to the World” Hitch held at Lorain County Fair, sixteen horses, two carts and two drivers consumed the track as 32,000 lbs of horses were moving in unison, to the direction of their drivers, who were in direct competition. The fans were sprinkled throughout the grandstand.
Leonard Myers, of Plymouth, drove the 8 Haflinger Pony hitch, and seated with him was Jay Bowman. Leonard noted this is a tradition of the Bowmans and the Myers. “Jay is such a big help,” Leonard shares. “The front tow horses are the Boman's, we borrowed them for the 8 Pony Hitch”.
Leonard said, "I've been doing this since I was born." His father and grandfather showed drafts. Leonard's wife, Lynn and family live on the "old homestead" in Plymouth. "Our daughter, Kim, normally drives, she has taken over," Lynn chuckles. “She is in college, this is the first year she is not here. Today has been tough, we have talked on the phone alot." She added their son Charles, is in Jr. High School and is focused on his grades.
Leonard and Lynn work full time jobs and take their Haflinger's seriously. Lynn says the ponies are worked and driven everyday. She added their life in the summer is very busy. In addition to their full time jobs and their horses, they also “bale their own hay,” as she smiles. "We run the circuit all over Ohio." (Circuit is a term used to describe all the main shows for the year, according to Lynn).
"Wilson, the horse on the right wheel is the hardest horse I have ever broken,” Jay shared. “He ran off for three weeks straight. I hooked him up to a wagon everyday, and he would just run while he was hooked and I was driving."
The Myers/Bowman team won 2nd place in the 8 Pony Hitch. Lynn shares that the day has been a good day for winning as she displays their ribbons, on the truck door and smiles.