Man your horses! Horse pulling is back this year at the Big Butler Fair. We’ll have a variety of horse pulling events, including single draft horse pulls. Whether you’re a seasoned teamster or just want to check out the fun, be sure to join us at the track!
If you’re a competition veteran, horse pulling needs no explanation, but for spectators, we’ll give you the run down…
Horse pulling is a show of strength and endurance. When a horse enters a pulling competition, it carries large amounts of weight behind it. Horses were historically used as farm help, carrying large loads (hay, wood, bags of feed, etc). Farmers always teased each other about their horses being stronger and faster, so it was only fitting that we’d eventually be doing it for sport.
Usually during a pull, one or two horses in a specified weight class are judged on how efficiently and quickly they can carry a load. Gradually throughout the competition, weight is added to challenge the horse(s) until they can no longer complete the pull, eliminating weaker horses and eventually crowning a champion. Competition always starts with about a 1,500 lb load and can go for a distance of 12 ft – 27 ft 6 inches (official regulation distance).
The difference in style comes with what the horse pulls. Competitions can be held using either a stone boat or a machine called a dynamometer.
Think of a stone boat as a sort of sled with runners on the bottom. The competing horse is rigged to this and tries to move forward with increasing loads added. It’s challenging because those runners create resistance for the animal to combat as it drags through the mud or dirt.
A dynamometer, on the other hand, is a machine for horses to both train with and compete with. Instead of pulling a sled behind them, the competing horse is rigged to a sort of pulley that lifts vertically-stacked weights upward as the horse pushes forward.
Join us at the Big Butler Fair for a true showing of what “horse power” really means!