BORN:  MARCH 4, 1993--DIED:  FEBRUARY 19, 2022

We apologize for not updating Tuff's page to former friends.  We just can't bring ourselves to move his photo.  He is sorely missed.

   Tuff is the “Big Dog” at Jake’s Flat Farm.  At 17+ hands and weighing in at over 2200 pounds, this gentle giant steals the show.  Tuff is a jet black Percheron with a long curly mane and tail.   We purchased Tuff who’s registered name is actually, “West Virginia’s Lucky Man”.  The Percheron breed originated in France, when Barbs and Arab horses were brought to the Percheron Valley in France during the Crusades and bred with the local draft stock to create a breed with the size, speed, intelligence and presence desired for a “war horse”.  When they were no longer used as a “war horse” they were trained to pull carts and for draft work.  In the United States, Percheron’s were utilized as drafthorses, pulling carts, wagons, and working  in the logging industry, dragging logs from the forest as they were cut.  The breed almost disappeared before WWII, as tractors and cars gained popularity and only recently have returned to popularity as both a heavy driving horse, and used for logging in pristine forest which require "green"harvesting methods, disallowing tractors and other vehicles that damage the forest.  Finaly they have become used more commonly as supersized saddle horses.  

    Tuff loves attention.  He has a dedicated fan club that visits his pasture from the high way or stop in the drive to say "hello" to him. Tuff’s immense size makes him a formidable teacher in spite of his gentle nature.   Tuff also enjoys a good joke or a new game. 

When we purchased Tuff, more than 15 years ago, he had been harnessed and started to learn to drive.  We began training him to ride using Monte Robert's "Join-Up" technique of equine/human communication.  He quickly bonded with John and learned basic ground work and under saddle skills.    He enjoys the cold snowy weather and opts to sleep outside inspite of having two stalls to choose from.  He is a big fan of food and never misses a meal.  He doesn't like the heat of the summer and prefers to graze at night and stay in the stall out of the sun during the day.  We also have learned that Tuff is a big baby when the vet visits.  He hates wormer, vaccinations and anything remotely similar to medicine.  He hates horseflies and will stand at the fence waiting for John to come swat them with a fly swatter.  On the other hand, he loves to dress up in ribbons, bows and fancy outfits and show off for an audience.  He almost smiles for the camera.  

    Tuff has very strong feet inspite of their large size, allowing him to run barefoot rather than requiring shoes.  However his large size and big feet "size 8" in horse size.   Recently in the fall 2021 Tuff was diagnosed with EPM and we thought we were going to lose him.  Fortunately, with excellent care from Henry River Mobile Vet, and FootHills Mobile vet, he has made a recovery.  His recovery from the active disease took about 6 weeks and was very expensive.  Several of our facebook friends pitched in with donations to Carolina Hoofprints who forwarded them to us to support his care.  Currently he is recovering from the neurological damage done by the EPM.  At his age this is a slow day to day recovery.  He spends days sleeping under the covered arena and continues to go out in the evening when there is nice dry weather.  At his advanced age he is unable to sustain his weight on grass pasture and requires twice daily supplemental feedings of concentrated feed products.  He has also lost a number of molars and requires any feed to be cut up into small pieces or ground up. He continues to enjoy a good quality of life inspite of these challenges and is well loved and enjoyed by all of his friends and stablemates.

On a cold February morning in 2022 Tuff was unable to stand on his own and laid down in the arena.  After much effort to improve his comfort we realized that his quality of life was gone and that asking him to continue was too much.  With great sadness we made the decision to euthanize him that morning.  He was buried under the covered arena in his favorite spot.  He is sorely missed by all of us.