Horse Pull

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Horse Pull

Horses pulling for the hell of it
Acrylic on pine panel, 36 x 20 1/2 in (2009)

A staple of fall fairs, horse pulling is an awesome experience. There are even pulling events for smaller horses and ponies! Many associations are devoted to the heavy horses, even as the day of the horse on the farm is edging into posterity.

I gather that horses, individuals and pairs, are divided into classes based on weight. The fellows shown here are approximately 1,500 pounds each (650 kg or so). These wondrous beasts can pull many times their own weight, a deadweight of concrete bars (or other material) loaded onto a sledge. So, these guys can take on something like 10,000 pounds and pull it as deadwight for a set distance measured by the chain man (shown at the right rear). More weight is added until the horses cannot pull the set distance, and the pull is ended.

It must be a little scary to drive these creatures. They are so highly trained that once the drawbar hook "clicks" into place at the front of the sledge, the handlers have to clear away as the horses are up and going instantly. The driver has to steer clear of the twisitng sledge as the horses dig and buck and slide, and make the impossible happen. The balding driver in the foreground is tensed and the reins taut as the big horses kick and power up, up and away.

I expect that heavy horses are raised now for the purpose of show and pull, and perhaps for sleigh rides or featured players in a parade. Such beautiful creatures, impossibly big and strong, usually with names like Nick or Salty, names ypou would apply to a buddy. A large buddy mind you . . .

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