Wherever you find yourself it’s always interesting to tap into the events going on in the local community. Some of the most rewarding experiences are because you find out what is going on when you are in an area. Case in point – I recently attended my first Horse Pull, in the mountains of North Carolina.
We watched six beautifully groomed and well-cared for two-horse teams pull a cart filled with cement building blocks. Pull weight started at 3,000 pounds and blocks were added in increments of 1,000 or 500 until only one team was able to pull the cart the required 27.5’. The larger heavyweight teams didn’t have to start until the cart held 5,000 lbs. Some of these draft horses are working farm animals and watching them you could see why having a good team would have been essential for early settlers.
In this event, the horses wore harnesses and owner/trainers were allowed to hold them with a lead and give voice commands; the crowd was asked for quiet during each brief pull. They don’t have to be quiet long, each pull just lasts a few seconds, if you look away you might miss it.
Horse Pulling is a big sport, just Google it and you will find clubs and events all over the U.S. It’s a well-regulated and controlled sport. Standards are set and vary depending on the weight of the participating horses (usually Belgians), but I could never find out why the 27.5’ distance rule was set. This Saturday afternoon spectators also enjoyed food provided by local EMTs, music, raffles, and info booths from local groups (like a bear hunting org).
By the way, one of the most enjoyable aspects of attending a local event is talking to others attending. Locals are generally very willing to share info and explain what’s going on. My friend and I loved chatting with some old-timers and learned about far more than horse pulling.
In the end, teams Buster & Eddie, Barney & Davy, Tom & Rock, Tony & Jake, and Norm & Bud were eliminated one by one until only Rex & King were left as victors – successfully pulling 10,500 lbs. They made it look easy.