Ralph and Ruth Bloom of Bloom’s Belgians in Hillsboro have been showing and breeding horses since the late 1970s and several of their grandchildren are following in their footsteps. This year, two of their grandkids, Todd and Jade (Bloom) Seaman, have been promoting a few of Ralph and Ruth’s Belgian draft horses near and far, including a recent trip to Perry, Ga.
Jade said, “This is a trip we will never forgot.”
Todd and Jade left Ohio at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 with three horses, and started their 10-plus-hour journey south to the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Ga., just as Hurricane Michael was getting ready to make landfall. When they crossed into Georgia there were several digital road signs that stated: “Travel not advised to southern Georgia due to Hurricane.” Once they reached Atlanta, the southbound lanes were empty and the northbound lanes were full. Todd looked at Jade and said, “That should be a good indication that we shouldn’t be here.”
But they kept driving further south.
As they pulled into the fairgrounds at 2:30 p.m., the tornado sirens were going off. They quickly unloaded the horses and waited for the initial threat to pass. They found out from other exhibitors that the barns the horses were staying in during the show were the Georgia State Equine Hurricane Shelter Barns, so that made them feel a little safer. A few hours later they learned that there were three tornados that had touched down within four miles of the fairgrounds.
Later that evening, as Hurricane Michael made its way through Perry, Ga. as a Category 1 hurricane, Todd and Jade weathered the storm in the barn with the horses, as they felt it was a safe structure (and their hotel had no power). The next day the clouds broke and made way for a beautiful day and weekend. The trip was well worth it as they came home with Grand Champion Stallion and Reserve Grand Champion Mare, and the Winning Get of Sire (two or more horses out of the same stallion).
Todd said. “It was a trip that we will never forget. We were very fortunate that nothing major went wrong and we made a safe trip there and back, and hope to make it again next year, as long as there are no hurricanes in the forecast of, course.”
Submitted by Jade (Bloom) Seaman.