A team of Belgian Pulling Horses, take a rest.
This older puller does a great job. I was visiting with a young Amishman, who was watching the pull beside me. We liked how this man got his horses to stand quietly and get even before asking them to pull. Then, both horses leaned into their harness gently. The young Amishman said, "That's the way you want a team to work on the farm."
In my novel, Under the Heavens, I describe a man at a horse pull as a "kind old cowboy." It so happens, that this is the guy I had in mind while writing. I've watched him pull horses for years.
Pictured below, is my other favorite horseman at the pull. This older gentleman sold his team the next day at the Kalona Draft Horse Sale. Whoever bought them will never regret it. His horses were not old, but perfectly trained, and showed a lot of heart. They were the only team at this horse pull not wearing pulling shoes. Horse Pullers put shoes with cleats on their horses much like a football player might wear, to enable them to get good traction. This old fella isn't a "puller" but a man who uses his horses for a variety of things on the farm, and because they are trained right, they will also pull a big load if asked. His horses really got in there and dug, pulling as much weight as the others even without cleats. They pulled all the way through on the second to last pull, after which he very wisely chose to not ask them to pull the final load. Only one team was able to pull the final load 18 feet. It reminded me of the horse pull in Under the Heavens, Lenny's horses didn't have pulling shoes on either.
Above and Below, an Amish girl stands near a big team.
The top picture is better of the girl and the bottom of the horses, so I included both.
This young Amish girl swung the gate open as teams entered the ring.
She had a smile on her face the whole pull.
Kalona Amish do not attend this horse pull, but Amish who are in town for the Draft Horse Sale often stay for it. I'm not sure if their home communities are not against horse pulls, or if they are able to take in new sights while on a trip, that seems to be common among Amish.