For a really different, exciting, and interesting event, consider attending one of the many draft horse competitions that are held all year round in various areas of North America, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom, to name just a few areas. There are also special draft horse competitions held in Japan that are more like draft horse races, and these horses, known as the Ban-ei, are not really a breed but are developed by crossing heavy draft breeds such as the Percheron with lighter breed horses.
In North America and the United Kingdom, as well as most of Europe and Australia the draft horse competitions tend to feature Percherons in several different types of events. There are the in-hand or halter type shows where the horses are judged based on their overall appearance and temperament in the ring. The Judges will base their decisions on the horse's adherence to the breed standard, which is unique for each one of the draft breeds. The Percheron, being one of the smaller of the draft breeds, may compete in the ring with other draft horses, but is competing against the breed standard not directly against the other horses.
Team driving competitions and exhibitions are also common at various draft horse events. Just like the lighter breed driving competitions the judges look for the team working together, control and coordination between the horses and the driver as well as the ability for the team to maneuver through the patterns. Often Percherons are the most popular of the team competitions as their wonderful coat variations can make striking looking teams. Some Percheron teams are completely matched while others contrast each other. Typically teams are two, four or six horses with the six horse hitches magnificent to watch. In most types of competitions spectators are free to wander through the barns and hitching areas to watch the harnessing and preparation of the teams.
The final and most popular event at most of the draft horse competition is the actually draft or pulling events. Teams of Percherons compete with other Percheron teams as well as other draft breeds to see which team can out pull each other. Each team of horses in the pulls is placed into different categories, typically in light, middle or heavyweight and are required to pull increasingly heavy weights from a dead stop down a track a specific distance. This is not a race, although there may be a maximum time allowed for each team to move the load. The team that out pulls the other teams in the competition is considered the winner. Many of the Percherons used in competitive pulls and events are actual working horses, used on a daily or weekly basis by the owners to keep their muscle mass as well as pulling ability at competitive levels. Pound per pound the Percheron is considered to be one of the strongest of the smaller sized draft horses and continues to be a favorite at the draft horse shows and competitions.