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Altoona-based draft horse team to take on Iowa State Fair competition

Shining Stars Percherons shows have won both world and national titles before, and now the team will join in on the fun at the Iowa State Fair.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Local 5 and CW Iowa 23 are bringing exciting 2022 Iowa State Fair experiences to you, from live newscasts to an interactive Local 5 Weather Lab experience. Come see us in front of the Administration Building (Grand Concourse) each day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

There's something about the big horses that draw a crowd. 

Lucky for Iowans, the state fair is hosting teams of draft breeds from around the country. Even luckier — Local 5 got to spend a morning at the Altoona farm of one of the favorites, the Shining Stars Percherons

The thundering hooves, the jingle of the harness - these impressive horses are hitching up to work. 

"I've always been drawn to the draft horses because they're, I don't know, they're just majestic. And they're so easy to learn and to teach. You know, they're great to be around," said Faith Brooks, the Shining Stars farm manager for owner Dianna Marquart. 

Putting horses Ariel and Ray through the paces is a workout aimed to get them tuned up for the Iowa State Fair.

"Yeah, we always have the best cheering section, I'm not gonna lie. It's really great because Dianna has a lot of family here too, in the area," Brooks said. "Like her sister runs the rib shack and so all of her employees, they'll come and cheer us on."

"The horses feel it, we feel it. And it just makes it exciting. And hopefully, I don't let them down," she added.

Shining Stars shows have won both world and national titles before, and recently added a statuesque gelding, Cody, to the show string - a reigning world champion himself.

This team of four is driving their way to the fair, with Brooks at the lines and trailblazing herself. 

"In our industry, there's not a lot of women in my position, so it's really exciting to maybe have the opportunity to get to excel and try to whoop the boys," she said. 

Judged on their confirmation, movement and even the tack they’re wearing, Brooks and the horses should look and act like one.

These horses know how to work and how to put on a show, according to Brooks, there’s a secret to their success. 

"We like the challenge of trying to figure them out — what makes them work, what makes them tick. And for us, it's really important that they drive a happy class and that they did the best they could and we did the best we could, and that the ribbon doesn't really matter as much in the end."

With steep competition headed toward the Iowa State Fair, now's the chance to support the local team and the gentle giants — the Shining Stars Percherons. 

The team will be at the horse show at the state fairgrounds Thursday, Aug. 18. through Saturday, Aug. 20. Below is a full schedule:

Join us for a good time!

Posted by Shining Stars Percherons on Friday, August 12, 2022

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