Local Clydesdale torches the competition

Robyncroft Fusilier Torch

Robyncroft Fusilier Torch

Meet Robyncroft Fusilier Torch (“Torch”): an intelligent, fun-loving, personable Clydesdale horse weighing almost a ton and displaying beautiful colors and perfect markings.

His steady diet of oats, flaxseed, rice bran, and vitamins and minerals gives him a smooth, vivacious fur coat.

Jim Poole’s JFP Equine Inc. on Kaskaskia Road in Waterloo spent months preparing Torch for the National Clydesdale Sale, which took place April 28-30 in Lake St. Louis, Mo., at the National Equestrian Center.

The Clydesdale Breeders of the USA sponsor this three-day event that starts with training seminars and is followed up with an equipment auction; an Anheuser-Busch happy hour; an annual banquet and music; and finally, the horse sale.

Employee Doug Fog spent many a session with Torch, brushing and smoothing out his coat, as well as driving him and feeding him. Breanna Cowell rode Torch day-in and day-out.

Poole’s wife, Marie, and sons Barclay and Brad also helped prepare Torch for the sale.

“You don’t get many like (Torch),” Poole said. “If you compare him to a car, he rides and drives like a Mercedes or Porsche.”

Before long, Poole’s organization saw their efforts pay off when a couple of business owners came from Pensacola, Fla., to purchase the equine for $60,000 at the sale.

The sale ties Poole’s record that he set in 2014 with his horse Mark. Prior to that, the most a Clydesdale sold for was $40,000.

“I was hoping (Torch) would break the (current) record, but he did good,” Poole said. “We had a lot of comments on how good he looked.”

What got Poole the $60,000 is that Torch happened to share the same qualities as Mark.

“If they were to drive together in a pair, it would be hard to tell them apart,” Poole said.

Torch turned 4 years old in April and is “everything (one) should be looking for in a Best of Breed.”

His unique features include an outstanding 10-size foot (the widest part of the hoof is 10 inches) to provide balance and foundation; beautiful feather — the hair on his legs; and a bold, beautiful color.

“My dad used to say, ‘A draft horse is not much good for anything if he doesn’t have a good foundation,’” Poole said.

Clydesdale horseshoes measure more than 20 inches from end to end and weigh about 5 pounds, which is more than twice as long as shoes worn by a riding horse.

The horses are most commonly a bay color — characterized as reddish-brown with a black mane, tail, ear edges and lower legs.

“You couldn’t have painted him any better than that with a brush,” Poole said of Torch.

Torch may make an appearance at the Monroe County YMCA, 9514 Caring Way, Columbia, between 6 and 8 p.m. June 10 for Healthy Kids Day.

He comes from a breed whose history spans back to the 19th Century in southern Scotland, where farmers bred the first of his kind.

Anheuser-Busch turned these “gentle giants” into a marketing campaign in 1933 shortly after the repeal of Prohibition. They continue to serve as a symbol of the quality of the brewery’s production through the years.

Poole worked as Clydesdale operations manager at Anheuser-Busch for 25 years, during which he oversaw expanding operations to breed and raise more horses.

His current project began in 2011. In addition to selling horses, he gives consultation to those interested in investing in the Clydesdale industry.

“I knew all my life I wanted to work at Anheuser-Busch, and I got to do that,” he said. “I also knew all my life that I wanted to do what I’m doing now.

“It’s a fun thing for me. I always make sure they go to good homes.”

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