Mike Schubert of Schubert Percheron Farms grew up with driving horses. His parents, Dave & Bev, raised Percherons. He was fortunate enough as a kid to have a team of ponies and a pair of mules that drove so at the age of 9 or 10 he was already experimenting with hooking multiples - the "unicorn" and four-horse hitch; he'd also borrow a couple to hook the six-horse hitch every chance he could get.
As soon as he was big enough to throw the harness onto the Percherons he started driving them: hauling manure, raking hay and you would find them most weekends in the winter months at Craguns Resort giving hay rides with a team or two.
After Mike graduated from High School he went to work for Bill Dean of Waverly Iowa, who had a hitch of Percheron geldings and owned and operated the Waverly Sales Barn, the biggest of draft horse sales! He was with them for six months until a job closer to home came up at the Ames Percheron Farm in Jordan, Minnesota. The Ames Percherons traveled many places to show, including Canada and throughout the United States. Mike was able to meet many "draft horse folks" in his three years with Ames and also learned a great deal about how a true Percheron show horse is supposed to perform.
The things he learned while out in the driving show circuit have come home with him and help him to make a living training young horses to drive and perform well. He came home to Brainerd in February 1997, and in addition to helping my father, Jerry Foust, farm he spends the rest of his time training young horses of all breeds to drive. His "training season" is from November to March and then he takes the 3- & 4-year-old Ames Percherons to train. He then takes them to 4-5 shows throughout July & August so they have some experience driving in the show ring before they head to the big shows in the Ames Percheron hitch.
Mike loves to take on the challenge of the young draft horses to see them progress almost daily in their training, and then it's a huge honor to see them do so well in the Ames Percheron hitch, a known favorite in many of the shows they attend. It is a lot of hard work and dedication that he would not trade for anything, and thank goodness the whole family
loves it as much as he does since it has become a family affair!
Now that our kids, Jeron & Brooke, are getting older and are taking a liking to the lines in their hands, they spend hours driving their pony "Little Joe" around our 200-acre farm 18 miles South of Brainerd. They've recently asked Dad to drive the Percherons while riding along on the wagon during practice time here at home. I do a small amount of driving myself also, not nearly as much as I used to since our children came along, but I still have a goal of driving the amateur four-horse hitch at the Scott County Fair one of these years!
When Mike is not at home training horses, he has spent time in Spokane, Washington with Terry & Bev Reese who have a hitch of Belgian geldings. He has helped them in putting a six-horse hitch together with the geldings they have purchased in the past year. He would match teams that went well together and that would work well together also. They were new into the showing part of draft horses and had asked Mike to help them get started - another reward is to see success from what you've taught someone else to do! The Reese Family sent their geldings and Cosme, their hired help, to our home this past winter for 30 days of training for both the horses and for Cosme. The best part is they just sent a video showing what an AWESOME job they are doing to get ready for their show season coming up in September, which Mike will attend with them also.
Besides showing Percherons we also breed and raise them to show or to sell. Our herd sire is Rolling Acres Spike, whom we purchased as a reserve world champion at the World Percheron Congress as a 2-year-old. Besides being a sire to many nice foals he is Mike's "right hand man" when it comes to training all the young draft horses to drive. We call him the "breaking horse" because he will literally anchor any horse that would like to run off with his massive 18 hands and 1 ton of pure muscle!
We also have 5 registered Percheron mares from which we raise the babies in order to keep our tradition going.
We are so thankful to all of our clients who have trusted Mike to do an exceptional job at teaching their horses to take to the lines and perform to their ability, and we hope to continue to make this a "family affair" for many, many years. We all seem to enjoy it and it is a wonderful way to travel the country and meet new friends in the horse community.