Friday, October 25, 2013

Horse Pull

 Kalona Sale Barn
 Spring and Fall, Kalona Sale Barn has a draft horse sale.  It's a two day event; equipment and tack on Monday, teams of horses on Tuesday. With all those draft horse enthusiasts here in town, it only makes sense to have a horse pull on Monday evening.  I took a slug of pictures with my cell phone, so that I could share them with you.

Just watching a team get harnessed and ready is a fun experience.

 Our local Amish don't take part in this event or any contest for that matter.  You will see some Amish in these pictures; they are from other communities with slightly different rules.

Watching these super athletes compete is a big thrill for me. I enjoy seeing horses working and it is interesting to see the interaction between horses and humans.

Each teamster has a unique style and each horse seems to have its own pulling form. Some walk upright, others squat and dig, and others seem to almost hop.

 These pulling contests weed out poor handlers quickly. As the loads get bigger, teamwork is critical. Horses that work together well can pull more, and each teamster has a lot to do with that. First, in choosing two horses that compliment each other. Next, in training and conditioning, which takes patience and personal discipline. And finally, knowing how to stay calm during the heat of an exciting pull.  Horses can feel their handlers mood and usually reflect it, some more than others.

This was an exceptional pull, with the sled weight topping out over 12,000 pounds! At the end, there were three teams still in out of nine that entered. All three teams seemed to max out at the same weight and each of the three teams gave more than one try at pulling that last load.

A very important element of top quality horsemanship is knowing when to bow out of an event. If you make your horses try too often on a load they can't handle, they learn to doubt themselves, and give up sooner. Yet, making a successful second attempt on a load, can actually build confidence. Just like with people, we gain confidence from pushing ourselves to our full potential.

Some horses love to pull. Only that kind of horse can have any success at an event like this. Horses that don't enjoy it let you know quickly and wouldn't get far in a horse pull. Some of those horses make great pets and farm horses though. There are plenty of jobs on a farm for a draft horse that wouldn't make it in a pulling contest.

                                         I have a video of part of this pull on my Facebook page                         

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