Yesterday afternoon found us at the Conquerall Mills Horse Pull. We discovered this event last year, shortly after moving to Nova Scotia. One of the great things about the Conquerall Mills Pull is the home made donuts. The donuts didn't quite live up to my memory, but were good nonetheless.
We've learned a few things about horse pulls, but probably have a lot more to learn. These are the workers who look after loading the weights and raking the pit. After the horse attempts a pull, the concrete pad gets swept, the tractor pulls the sled back onto the concrete pad, the sand gets raked, and more weight gets added to the drag if it's the start of another round of pulls. There is a driver and a hooker for a single horse, two hookers for a team of horses. The hookers are responsible to hooking the horse to the drag, which generally means they are standing in a danger zone in my opinion. Hooking is not for me. The sled weighs 1000 pounds, and each concrete block weighs 200 pounds. "2000 pounds on the drag" means the sled and 5 concrete blocks.Each team gets 3 attempts, and must pull the drag 3 feet. Three feet doesn't sound like much, but when the weight starts adding up it's quite a challenge. If the horses go outside the rails, they've missed one attempt.Looks like this guy was trying to give his horse some help!It's a spectator sport, and there's always lots of commentary from the crowd.But the horses are the stars of the show in my eyes. There are several weight classes. Each horse (or team) is weighed, and the score is a ratio of the highest weight that is pulled by the horse (or team) divided by the horse's (or team's) weight. Usually the winning horse or team can pull slightly more than 2 times their weight.
Oh, and let's not forget the Ox Pulls. The oxen are led from the front and seem to be a lot more ornery than horses. The yoke on these guys isn't painted, but I've only seen one other one that wasn't painted red. Oxen can pull a lot more weight than horses.
So that's one of the things we do for fun on a Saturday afternoon in the country!