Face-to-Face with Giants: Vet Tech Students Meet Young Living Farm Percherons

Published on April 14, 2015 by arothstein

By Amanda Black, Administrative Assistant

Nicole Mellor and Champion Percheron with Freeman Yoder

Vet Tech student, Nicole Mellor, with Champion Percheron and Trainer, Freeman Yoder

Young Living Farms in Mona, Utah is known for its essential oils and lavender fields, so why would a group of vet tech students from Broadview University head there for a field trip? The obvious answer: to see the horses.

Young Living Farms is home to over a hundred champion Percheron and Friesians horses. As part of Heather Riggs’ Large Animal class at Broadview University-Orem, veterinary technology students Carol Gallegos, Jenn Duthie, Nicole Mellor, Emery Garner, and Kimmie Laidler received an inside tour into the care of these great animals. The manager of Equine Operations on the farm, Freeman Yoder, was their personal tour guide and introduced the students to every Percheron, old and young.

The Percheron is a French draft horse that has been in the United States since the mid-1800s. Next to the Clydesdale, Percherons are some of the most well-known draft horses today. They stand between 15-19 hands high and come in a variety of colors, the most common colors being gray and black. The Young Living Percherons are high performance horses and travel around the United States to competitions and shows, including the World Percheron Congress held in Springfield, Massachusetts last October where they placed 17 times. Some competitions are done as a single horse and rider or cart, and other competitions require two to eight horse teams. The teams can be seen practicing daily around the lavender fields and are available for wagon tours of the fields and facilities at Young Living Farms.



Caring for a high performance horse is very different from caring for your average horse. Freeman Yoder taught the students about proper nutrition and care for the horses by explaining that large amounts of energy are expended by the teams as they compete and pull the wagons, so their food needs to be rich in usable energy and vitamins. The Young Living Percherons are fed a mix of alfalfa grass, whole oats, vitamins, and minerals.

As part of the tour, the students rode in the “authentic Old West wagon” pulled by a team of Percherons and saw the farm and the miniature-animal petting zoo. The petting zoo is home to several exotic animals including zebras, zebus, a zedonk, and a camel.

“I enjoyed being around and learning about the Percherons. I hadn’t really been around large horses before,” said Jenn Duthie. “I also found it interesting to read the handouts on the essential oils that are used to help keep the horses healthy and performing well. It was a great experience, and I think that every large animal class should go.”

Nicole Mellor agrees with her classmate. “I really enjoyed this field trip! The horses were unbelievable and we even got to learn how the essential oils are made. They have a lot of cool animals there you can see. So much fun!”


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