Each year, over 400 horses are shown by their exhibitors at the Wisconsin State Fair.

The six-horse hitch competitions at the Wisconsin State Fair (held Aug. 1-3 & Aug. 9) are qualifying shows for the North American Six Horse Hitch Classic Series.

Read on below to learn more about horse terminology, where you can find them at the Fair, and the type of competitions they are shown in during their stay.

Horses at the Wisconsin State Fair

Horse Breed Belgian

Quick Horse Facts

Key Horse Terminology

  • Equine: the scientific name for the animal family that includes horses, donkeys and zebras
  • Stallion: a mature male horse
  • Mare: a mature female horse
  • Foal: a young horse, of either gender, that is one year old or younger
  • Colt: a  young male horse under the age of four
  • Filly: a young female horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: a castrated male horse
  • Pony: a mature horse that measures less that 14.2 hands high
  • Hand: a measurement of height for a horse, one hand is equivalent to four inches
  • Draft Horse: a large horse used for hard, heavy tasks such as plowing and farm labor
  • Light Horse: any breed of horse that is primarily used for riding or light work such as pulling carriages
  • Team: refers to a group of horses

Common Breeds Shown at State Fair

  • Draft Horse Breeds:
    • Clydesdales (shown in photo above), Belgians, Percherons, Spotteds, Shires
  • Light Horse Breeds:
    • Quarter Horses, Arabians, Appaloosa, Paints, Buckskins, Halflinger, Thoroughbreds, Welsh, Westphalian
Neighborhood Corral in the Livestock Horse Barn

Where Can Horses Be Found?

Livestock/Horse Barn

Horses are shown by their exhibitors at the Fair between Thursday, August 1 – Sunday, August 4 and between Tuesday, August 7 – Sunday, August 11.

Horses will stay in the Livestock/Horse Barn as follows:

Aug. 1 Clydesdale Draft Horses
(Aug. 1 closes @ 6 pm)
Aug. 2 Clydesdale Draft Horses
(Aug. 2 closes @ 6 pm)
Aug. 3 Clydesdale Draft Horses
(Aug. 3 closes @ 2 pm)
Aug. 4 Draft Horses for Horse Pull in Case IH Coliseum only
Aug. 7-8 Belgian, Percheron, Spotted & Shire Draft Horses
(Aug. 8 closes @ 5 pm)
Aug. 9 Belgian, Percheron, Spotted & Shire Draft Horses
(Aug. 9 closes @ 11 am, 4 pm)
Aug. 10-11 Light Horses
(Aug. 11 closes @ 4 pm)

The Livestock/Horse Barn is open daily from 8 am – 9 pm except where noted in the table above.

“Neigh”borhood Corral

Horses can also be seen every day during the Fair from 9 am – 9 pm in the “Neigh”borhood Corral.

Horse Event - Hitch Show

Horse Event Descriptions

All horse shows are held in the Case IH Coliseum.

Stop by the Case IH Coliseum to see these events:

  • Halter: horses are led, not ridden, and judged by the correctness of the horses’ bone structure, muscle and body proportions
  • Hitch: teams of two, four or six horses pull a wagon or cart in a series of maneuvers
  • Horse Pull (shown in photo above): draft horses in harnesses pull a weighted load
  • Over Fences: horses and riders jump over elevated rails
  • Gymkhana: horses and riders complete timed speed events, which may include obstacles and patterns
  • Stock Seat Equitation: evaluates riders on riding form and ability to maneuver their horse
  • Western Pleasure: evaluates horses on manners and ease of riding
  • Trail: horses and riders maneuver through a series of obstacles