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Another team for the Rose Bowl Parade

By Staff | Dec 25, 2009

Richard Tesdahl, of Goldfield, has an eye for pairing horses. Since 2003 he's sold teams of painted horses with white "socks" to Wells Fargo. The horses shine in the spotlight pulling the Wells Fargo stagecoach in the Rose Bowl Parade. Tesdahl said it takes nearly a year to prepare the horses for sale.

GOLDFIELD – Richard Tesdahl has an eye for horses.

His favorite breed is the paint horse known for white spotting patterns. Tesdahl specifically looks for paints with socks.

Not too long ago his talent of pairing these horses caught the eye of Wells Fargo.

The business purchased a team of his horses to pull its trademark stage coach in the Rose Bowl Parade. Since that day in 2003 the lucrative sales continue.

However, the giant bank wasn’t exactly the first to notice Tesdahl’s horses.

“I know a fellow who drives for Wells Fargo (in parades),” Tesdahl said of his connection. “He is an Amish man who broke horses for me, and one day he came out and I showed him the four horses, like this – all with white socks.”

The man didn’t show much interest, Tesdahl said, but about a month later, he called Tesdahl inquiring about the team. The rest is history.

This year four more painted horses with white socks will join a team of 12 pulling the Wells Fargo stagecoach at the Rose Bowl Parade Jan. 1.

“Right now they’re pulling a $400 sled and soon they’ll be pulling a $90,000 stagecoach,” Tesdahl said as Duane Coe, of Nora Springs, exercised the horses on the Tesdahl farm.

According to Tesdahl, it takes about a year to break the horses and prepare them for their moment in the spotlight.

“It takes a lot of time and patience,” he said. “You need to get them used to the harness and then you line drive them.”

To line drive them, Coe and Tesdahl pair an inexperienced horse with a horse that’s trained to drive.

In the summer, Coe drives the horses on his farm near Mason City.

“I love driving horses,” Coe said. “I think I was 4 when Santa bought me my first pony. I was happy with that gift and it started my work with horses.”

Tesdahl started driving horses with his family when he was 9. Soon he’ll be 90, and he still has a knack for pairing horses.

The four he’s trained for the Rose Bowl Parade this year came from different states: Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri.

“I bought ’em, matched ’em up and put ’em together,” Tesdahl said.

But not all of his horses come from neighboring states.

One of his most recent painted purchases came from Webster City.

“I’ve been trying to buy him for a long time,” Tesdahl said. “The owner kept saying no until they found out they couldn’t break him. So they sold him to me.”

The horse he named Buster never carried a rider, but Buster was used to the saddle.

With a little patience and an experienced horse on his left, Buster worked up a sweat pulling Tesdahl’s old green sleigh through fresh December snow.

“He’s doing pretty well today,” Coe said.

But it’s the Wells Fargo Rose Bowl Parade team that will capture Tesdahl’s and Coe’s attention in New Year’s Day.

“I always like to watch and see how they’re hooked up,” Coe said. “You know, make sure there aren’t any mistakes.”

Contact Lindsey Mutchler (515) 573-2141 or lindsey@messengernews.net.

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