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Experience real horsepower at Big Thunder! Each of the hitches seen at the show train year round to compete and display the raw power the magnificent horses posses right there in Loveland, CO.
Many of these hitches have traveled from across the country to compete at Big Thunder. We invite you visit the barns either before or after each performance to meet the crew and their gentle giants!

Ticket Sales

Tickets can be purchased online, at the Budweiser Events Center Box Office or at the door day of. Ticket pre-purchase is encouraged. Performances will sell out!

General Admission Tickets
$15 Adults
$12 Seniors
$10 Kids (2-12)

VIP Seating (Limited Quantity)
 Includes padded seats, non-alcoholic beverages and appetizers
$25 Adults
$15 Kids (2-12)
Kids under 2 years old get into the event for free.

Draft Horse University
 This is an add on to the Saturday General Admission ticket.
Draft Horse University is not open Sunday.
More information about Draft Horse University is below.
$10 (in addition to the General Admission ticket price.)

Ticket pre-purchase is encouraged. Performances will sell out!


Group Sales

Bring your group out to the show and receive a group discount! Please contact 970-619-4122 for more information. A minimum of 10 tickets required.


Take a self-guided tour of the barns before the each performance. See the preparation it takes to get these gentle giants show ready! Class Schedule

Doors/Day of Ticket Sales Open 5:00pm
Barn Times: 5:00-6:15pm
Pre Show 5:30pm
Ticketed Performance 6:30pm

Draft Horse University: 10am-Noon
Doors/Day of Ticket Sales Open Noon
Barn Times: Noon-1:45pm
Pre Show 1:00pm
Ticketed Performance 2:00pm

Doors/Day of Ticket Sales Open Noon
Barn Times: Noon-1:45pm
Pre Show 1:00pm
Ticketed Performance 2:00pm

Draft Horse University

Become a draft horse expert! Joins us for Draft Horse University Saturday 10am-noon for an informational and interactive session on topics from shoeing to training, harnessing and more. Draft Horse University meets in the Ranch-Way Feeds Indoor Arena bleachers.

A $10 Draft Horse University ticket must be purchased in addition to a Saturday General Admission ticket.

Stick Horse Rodeo Information

Back by popular demand, the Stick Horse Rodeo returns! Kids 2-10 years old are welcome to the arena to ride a stick horse around a pattern, fastest time wins a prize! Submit your name in the Stick Horse raffle located in the Ranch-Way Feeds Foyer before each performance. Winners will be announced at the beginning of each show to claim their horse!

Thank you to 287 Ranch Supply for sponsoring our Stick Horse Rodeo!

Class Descriptions

Single Cart

The single horse cart was used primarily to travel a stallion from one ranch to another for the purpose of servicing mares. Hence, the name stud cart. In judging the cart class, the judge takes into consideration both the conformation of the horse as well as its manner of going. A cart horse should have a good snappy trot and carry it"s head up, looking alert. When the judge calls for a walk, the horse should walk and stand quietly when at a stop. A ladies cart horse should be easy to handle so she may practice proper buggy etiquette.

Tandem Hitch

Everyone has heard of tandem axle trucks and trailers but few realize the term originated with horses. When two horses are hitched, one in front of the other, they are a tandem team. This type of team was originally used when the roads and streets were too narrow to hitch two horses abreast but they still needed horsepower. The larger horse us usually hitched directly to the cart or wagon with the smaller one in front as the smaller horses are usually faster. The judge usually looks for a team that is well matched in its manner of going. The lead horse should keep traces tight but not so tight that it appears to be pulling the whole load. A tandem is one of the more difficult teams to drive as you need to keep the horses in a straight line.

Unicorn Hitch

When a team couldn"t quite pull a load or get stuck in the mud, an extra horse was added to help the team out, thus adding an extra bit of horsepower. This is called a unicorn. The advantage of having one horse in the lead is all the power is being used to pull the wagon ahead, there being no sideward pull.

The Unicorn Hitch is judged on conformation of the horses, manner of going and a small percentage for equipment. This class takes a skilled driver as the lead horse must stay ahead of the team. On the other hand, he must not have to pull the whole load either. The team must be well matched in size and manner of going, and the lead horse in particular, should be stylish and well mannered.

Two-Four-Six-Eight Horse Hitch

Playing a very important part in the early days were two, four, six, and eight horse hitches as they were being used for work about the cities, especially on brewery wagons. They were used for hauling chores with day wagons. Another team was added as more horsepower was required.

A team hitched directly to the wagon is called the “wheel or pole team”. This hitch is usually the largest since they do most of the pulling, and the backing of the wagon. The middle team is called the swing team. The team in front is called the lead team. When hitching an eight horse hitch, the team behind the lead team is called the point team. The lead team usually consists of the smaller and faster horses as they must travel a greater distance when the hitch is making a turn.

In judging the combined hitches, the manner of going is of prime importance. The harness and wagon and conformation of the horses is taken into consideration but they are not as important as how well the horses work together. All of the horses should be pulling equally so that all of the traces are tight thus the skill of the driver is very important.