Carriages & wagons
Horses for Sale
| Alex and the Polar Boys were featured as the
first pair of model horses made by the Peter Stone Horse Company at the May
Day Parade in Shipshewana, Indiana. After the parade we did a photo shoot-
as shown below. (For models of the Polar Boys
click here.) See the Silk painting and
||Alex is driving the Polar Boys. Daughter, Dianna Radermacher is
sitting beside him and Joe Yoder is the Groom.
| Alex Fraser has
been involved with horses since he was a young boy living in Ketchum, Idaho.
He used to coax the neighbor's horses over to a fence and crawl up on
their back to ride around the corral. That
neighbor was Frank McMaster, an old horseman / trainer who was one of the
original horse whisperers way-back before whispering was a catchy phrase. To
keep Alex off the horses he was training, Frank gave him a safe pony for his
own, thinking this would keep him out of trouble. That thrill soon wore off
and Alex wanted to learn more about training horses. Frank couldn't get rid
of Alex so he soon put him to work on a dude string - taking people out for
a ride in the mountains around Red Fish lake near Stanley, Idaho. Even as a
teenager, Alex had horse instinct and common sense, and was able to tack-up
and select horses depending on the dude's experience, size and temperament.
He also worked at the Sun Valley Stables and then started training horses
and teaching people to ride.
| A year after Alex
moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, he met Kayo and found out they shared the same
birthday. She had no previous experience with horses but accepted his offer
to go riding. Alex was training horses for other people and gave the gentler
horses to Kayo to ride. They were married in 1975 and have been together
ever since. They started buying their own horses to train and sell. To add
to his experience as a full service horseman, Alex attended horse-shoeing
school in Arizona. They wintered there with two of their own horses.
| The Frasers became
involved in draft horses in 1976 after watching a local horse-logger pull
out some timber on the neighbors land. The giant of a horse was quiet,
gentle, willing and very able to do the work. This new aspect of
horsemanship intrigued the young couple and offered them a power source they
could use to clear a building site on their own property. They bought
Belgian mare that was being used as a logging horse and with the help of
some ol' timers in the area who grew up working horses, Alex and Kayo learned
how to drive and work horses. Alex used his new skills to do some custom
horse logging around North Idaho. Later that fall they drove their horse in
a local show. And didn't do too bad, considering this was their first
attempt with an old logging horse.
| They soon were logging small parcels for
people who didn't want the larger equipment tearing up the timber area. The need for a second horse was becoming apparent. This is when
"draft-horse-itis" set in. The infliction of draft-horse-itis, as
Kayo calls it, is when you get hooked on these amazing horses and you always
have an itch to improve your stock and expand on your equipment and
activities. You get one horse then you need two, and more harness and more
vehicles and then more horses - it is not curable! But it is fun!
|| With two horses the
Frasers were now able to do more things. In the summer they used the horses
to mow and rake the hay they would need for the winter. They used the horse
to "crop-share" on other small hay fields. During the autumn months they
would skid in fire wood or sell logs to the local lumber mill. When there
was snow on the ground they gave sleigh rides.
|| Haying became an annual
event which soon attracted the help of the neighborhood kids who all wanted
to learn how to drive the horses. This photo is one of many that were taken
by photo-journalist Chris Pietsch and published in the National Geographic
World, the kids edition, in the September 1983 issue. It was a six page
color spread. These kids and several others became the crew for the Fraser
Belgians at the horse shows for many years. They showed in the junior
classes until they were old enough to show in the adult classes. They became
the drivers to beat!
|| Another source of income
for Alex and Kayo included the creation and operation of a horse-drawn
trolley ride business on the streets of Sandpoint, Idaho. They trained
people to drive the trolley horses for several years until the "kids" who
helped them were old enough to drive commercially. They ran this business
for eight years and sold it before they moved to Montana.
| Kayo served
as Secretary/Treasurer for the North Idaho Draft Horse Association for three
years. Around 1976 she started a newsletter for the Association which she
titled the News Spreader. Many people inquired about finding a harness
maker, wheelwright, breeders, etc, so Kayo started an international draft
horse resource directory called The Reach. She published this from
1980 to 1990 when she sold the business so she could take care of her mother
in Florida who was dying of cancer. The Reach is still in print and
published in Indiana now.
| In 1980,
Alex apprenticed with a draft horse show judge who was also a Percheron
breeder in Canada. Since then, Alex has judged draft horse shows in Idaho,
Montana, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and California. The
Grass Valley, California Draft Horse Classic has had him back twice to judge
that top quality show.
|| Alex worked for a local
harness shop for several years and learned how to make and repair
harness. He designed and help to construct his own set of show harness. It
was a different design than was typical for the show ring. It was made with
Rosewood harness leather, instead of black or russet, and was trimmed with
brass hardware. He used a combination of English and Western designs for a
finer harness construction. Very elegant! This photo was taken by Steinley
Labs and used on the cover on a Mischka Calendar one year.
show wagon was also different than most. They bought the wagon in parts and
had pieces made to complete it. From the looks of it - the wagon could have
originally been a hose or water wagon for a fire department in the early
1900's. Kayo learned how to paint from an ol' time antique car restorer, and painted it a dark British Racing Green
metallic. The hardware was either brass plated or solid brass. Polished up -
it looked like gold. The wheels were the same color as the body which was
different from most of the hitch wagons in those days that sported the lighter
colored wheels and chassis. The judges didn't
like this new look at first but they finally noticed how nice the hitch
looked and how well the horses performed. Alex said, "whether or not the
judges liked it - the crowd sure did. That "look" helped me to sell a lot of
horses." It was also the look that led to the creation of the Fraser School
he was building his hitch, Alex bought the dark red horses that the hitch
people over-looked because they didn't have white manes and tails. "But they
could really move!" Alex said as he selected his horses.
||This is one of the few photos
that had both Alex and Kayo at the same time. Kayo is driving Amateur Team
at the Denver Stock Show and placed 3rd in this class.
The photo was taken by Browarny
|| They later trained and
showed a Six Horse Hitch of Dapple Grey Percherons for a client in
Arizona/Colorado. They took this hitch to Denver Stock Show, too.
| With help from their
"kids" the Frasers showed draft horses with a lot of success for over 25
years. They had a six horse hitch of Belgians showing from a Single Cart,
Junior Team, Hitch Team, Tandem, Unicorn, Four Horse Hitch, Four Abreast and
the Six horse Driving and Conformation classes. They attended all the fairs
and shows available in the west including the National Western Stock Show in
Denver, Colorado, The Calgary Stampede in Canada, The Draft Horse Classic in
California, The Idaho Draft Horse International in Sandpoint and the Draft
Horse and Mule Extravaganza in Monroe, Washington. The ribbons really piled
In 1989, Dawna, a woman from California saw
the Fraser's Hitch of Belgians at the Sandpoint show and said, "That is what
I want!" Meaning the quality of horses, turn-out and way of driving. She had
been driving for years but was not very confident, so she asked Alex if he
would start a driving school to teach her how to show horses the way he was
showing. He told her he would be happy to teach her any time, but she
insisted he start a driving school.
|Alex and Kayo moved to Montana
in 1990 to help a friend with his draft horses and to take care of a portion
of his 1200 acre ranch. In 1995 they officially started The Fraser School of
Dawna was their first out of state client. She booked a week of driving
lessons and said her only regret was that she didn't book two weeks of
lessons. She had a lot fun and learned more than she expected. She
eventually decided to buy the team of Belgian draft horses that she used for
the lessons, took them home and used them on wagon train rides and at the
| The first in-state student was
Paula Scott. She had been showing a pair of Norwegian Fjords at the
Combined Driving Events (CDE), but wanted to do learn how to drive a team of
Fjords. She finally talked Alex into driving for her at the CDEs and she has been a good client and friend ever since.
Alex went to his first show in Utah with
four-in-hand of Norwegian Fjords. He trimmed the fat and extra hair to make
the Fjords look sporty. Never having seen a CDE, he successfully
completed the courses and was instantly hooked on this new aspect of driving. Learning the rules was the next challenge.
Paula brought in the top CDE drivers and clinicians so Alex would become
proficient in this new phase of horsemanship. They were the only team of four
showing at the CDEs in the western part of the United States for many years.
They retired the Fjords in 2004. Alex
bought some awesome ponies for Paula so they could have a better four-in-hand.
bought Jesse, a single driving horse, so she
could compete at Training Level. This photo was taken of Paula driving
at the CDE in Jackson, WY.
enjoyed driving for Paula but wanted to compete with his own horses. He is
shown here with the Polar Boys at Shady Oaks CDE in California. This photo was taken by Sharon from
| Another student, that we so proud of is Joe Yoder,
who is now driving Advanced Team (four horses) and has become the
Champion US Pairs driver.
|Other students can be found working the famous Clydesdales
or for other horse farms or corporate ranches.
|Alex Fraser has stayed too busy to compete the last few
years but believes he is providing a valuable service to the people who want
to learn how to drive properly and be safer, whether they drive for fun,
work or competition.
| For more information click on the links below:
|Expert Witness for driving