It’s all about Pride and Joy

For the past 15 years the fair in Emo has seen a lot of Pride and Joy–about 3500 pounds worth.
Pride and Joy are giant Percheron/Belgian Cross draft horses, they stand about 7 feet high and weigh about 1700 pounds each. Devlin’s Harold Kellar has shown the duo for 15 straight years and, they will be back again in 1999.
Kellar and his dad, Cecil, picked out Pride and Joy from a herd of horses more than 15 years ago. Kellar and his wife, Karen, had trouble naming the twosome until long-time family friend, Grace Silander, suggested ‘Pride and Joy.’
The name stuck.
Ironically enough, it seems Pride is the showman of the pair. His antics have entertained crowds at the fair on many occasions. Karen remembers one time when he was up to his usual horse play.
“My daughter Angela was showing him and he pulled her exhibit number off her back, and grabbed her hat off her head. He was kind of putting on a show all by himself out there,” she recalled.
“He’s a showy son-of-a-gun,” she added. “Pride is kind of the big goof.”
However, his personality does not always rear its head in a positive manner, and sometimes pride literally gets the better of the big horse.
“He gets a little upset sometimes, he’ll kick at stuff, he’ll even kick at me if he can get away with it,” Harold explained. “He doesn’t mean to hurt you it’s just his way of saying he wants to get things over with. That’s just his nature.”
“If you make him make him mad he’s going to get even with you.”
Kellar loves his animals. He knows them very well and is very aware of what they can do. To the experienced veteran, horse driving is not a game.
“You can’t ever really trust them, you have to be alert all the time around them. You can’t just drop the reigns and walk away because things could happen,” he warned.
Kellar will be 59 this winter, he has trained the tandem since before they were two. He has had some scrapes and bruises but no serious injuries. Over time he has become quite close with the horses.
“We’ve had them for 16 years,” he said. “We bought them as babies and we’ve worked with them right from day one, and it’s really been interesting for us. They’re part of the family I guess.
“He’s my buddy, everyone says he’s a lot like me.”
The breed used to be used for heavy farm work like plowing, but nowadays, they are mostly used for sleigh rides, horse shows, or as giant attractions in parades.
But before a horse is ready for public display, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that must be done.
“You start when [the horses] are very young. You are training them basically every day, you are teaching them everyday,” he began. “I start mine [in the harness] when they are two-year-olds, by the time they get to be five or six you pretty well have them mastered. They are pretty well broken the way they should be.”
“Some people start older some people start younger but that’s what I do,” he added.
The more you work with them, the faster the results.
“If you are working with [horses] everyday I would say in five or six months you should have a pretty good animal,” he stated.
Kellar has shown horses in Dryden, Kenora, and Little Fork, Min. but he likes to go the Emo fair. He first showed horses when he was 16 and over the years the horse drivers have become a close knit group.
“We go out there, we all know each other, the guys that have heavy horses we all chum together–win, lose, whatever happens,” he claimed. “If they need something from me, or if I need something from them, I always call it a family thing, if you need something they’re there to help.”
Kellar remembered talking with the other drivers about one inexperienced horse driver from Thunder Bay, who apparently was in over his head.
He had a four-horse team and one horse broke out of the hitch without him knowing. A judge tried to stop the team but the driver thought the judges were trying to penalize him because he was new. Irate at the prospect, he continued to drive. The horse broke loose and a judge had to run after it and reign it in.
Although Kellar hasn’t had any incredibly embarrassing moments, he doesn’t know how much longer the show will go on. The Emo fair must now compete against other shows for horses and drivers. At one time they had 50 teams competing. Now, they only have about 10.
“Our show is getting smaller because not as many people are showing. [Other fairs] have to pick their days too, and it works out many times to be the same weekend as ours,” he said.
At one point in the interview, Kellar said that this would be his last year, but quickly retracted his statement, saying he’ll likely be back a few more times.
The fair starts tomorrow in Emo.