The other day I offered him another of his favorite summer treats. As the temperature crept into the mid-90s, and the sun beat down on his black absorbent coat, I lifted the hose from the water tank I was filling and turned it his way. Tossing his mane, Ben did what he always does at this invitation: He turned about so that the water soaked both his sides, his eyes narrowing at the deep pleasure of this mid-day cooling. Then he ambled up and matter-of-factly took the hose-end from my hands into his mouth for a long, slobbering drink.
One day last fall, I fell in with a farmer wandering through the horse stables at the Illinois State Fair. Naturally enough we got to talking about the Percheron show. I was more anxious for an audience than anything else, and began unloading the story of the old mare in Virginia. I had no idea that I was talking to Dan Augstin. He lost no time in stating to me, in his own way, that bloodlines in Percherons have just as much significance as they do in Shorthorns, or any kind of purebred stock in which the pedigree goes back to Adam’s time. He took me to his stalls, and there told a story that dated back to the time of old Louis Napoleon, one of the first Percheron stallions ever brought to this country.