Veteran of world show heads south again

Delvin Szumutku has raised Clydesdale horses for years near Stockholm.

Through those years he has been an avid supporter of the breed, so when a World Show for Clydesales was launched in Madison, WI. in 2007, he loaded up some horses and took in the show.

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Szumutku was at the show again in 2011, and again in 2015 when the show was hosted in Ontario.

So it’s no surprise Szumutku was back in Madison at the end of October as the fourth annual edition of the world event was held.

“I took down three, all three were ones that we had raised,” he said.

Szumutku was also quick to note four other mares he had raised were at the World Show being exhibited by their new owners.

“That is what we do, we breed horses to sell. To me that’s what it’s all about,” he said, adding he takes a lot of pride in seeing animals he has sold go on to be good enough to take to a major event like the one in Madison. “… That’s what I call achievement.”

Szumutku said his mares did well, adding at a show the scale of the world show the goal “is to make the cut.” The classes are so large they are typically broken into smaller groups with judges asking the best to come back for the final 10.

“You want to make the cut, be in the top-10 and get into the final drive,” he said.

One of Szumutku’s mares finished fourth in a class where four of the top-five were entries from Canada, three being from the Prairies.

“So Western Canada was pretty well-represented,” he said.

Szumutku’s mares also ended up in harness at Madison.

“Two mares I took down I leased out to Greenwood Farms,” he said, adding the pair were used to complete a six-horse hitch that took home to top-10 finishes.

While not earning a championship, Szumutku is happy with his finishes, noting the mares were only four years old and green in terms of show experience.

“They’d never been in a show ring, never been off the farm,” he said.

The strong performance, especially by the best of the trio has Szumutku smiling.

“She’ll get nothing but better,” he said, adding he did have to fend off a number of suitors offering to buy the two hitch mares.

“We had numerous offers,” he said, adding the leasee had wanted to simply buy the two mares. “I told them I was bringing them home.”

While Szumutku said he typically breeds to sell the two were too good to let go.

“When the two were born … I said I was going to hide them and keep them,” he said.

The pair are perfectly matched, and two younger mares that stayed at home make a perfectly matched set of four. The prospect of four home bred mares as a perfectly matched hitch looms on the horizon, and the next world show is scheduled for Brandon in 2021.

“If I’m still alive I’d sure like to (show the hitch),” said Szumutku.

Of course when Szumutku says about being still alive, he is aware life can take some massive turns. While attending the World Show in 2011 he suffered a major heart attack.

It was then Szumutku said he came to really appreciate the family that is the Clydesdale business. At the most recent event he was asked to speak on the ‘family’ aspect at the banquet in front of 2600.

While it took him more than a month to agree to give the speech he finally said yes.

“Just to be asked to do it was pretty special,” said Szumutku.

Szumutku’s speech struck a chord with many in attendance.

“A lot of people came up and complimented me on it,” he said, adding one in particular stood out for him. A Vietnam veteran wheeled over in his wheelchair. “He came over and shook my hand … saying he had never experienced that sense of comradeship other than with the guys he fought with.

“That probably meant the most to me.”

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