Friday, September 2, 2016

Heavy Horses at the Fair

While the grandkids were here for 3 days, we got in for day two of the Markdale Fall Fair.  We saw lots of stuff, but the highlight of the day was the heavy horse pull.  Such beautiful, powerful animals, a celebration of workhorses!

Grandson and I got over to visit the big horses a bit in advance, when they were still tied to their horse trailers and being groomed and harnessed.


When you stand beside them, these are BIG animals!  I think there were at least 9 teams, in two classes, lighter and heavier, entered in the event.

The horses always seem friendly, as long as you approach them from the front.  If they can't see you they get nervous.

The event is a stone boat pull, starting at about 3000 lbs., and rising to over 8000 lbs.  They just keep adding groups of concrete slabs to the pile, and teams have to pull it a certain distance to stay in.  This teamster is just getting his team in place.

They are of course well trained for this event, and these horses like to work.  So the instant the bar behind them is dropped into place they're off!  The dust flies, the horses strain, and the stoneboat moves down the track.

You get some sense of how hard they are pulling in this picture.  The teamsters are pretty careful about how much weight they allow their teams to pull; a number withdrew their team as the weight reached the higher levels.  I got the sense that these teamsters are in it for the love of working with these horses.

 Chatting with farmers sitting beside us (long time spectators), we learned that these horses have horsehoes modified by adding a small claw to give at least a little traction; otherwise you'd just see flying dust.  I managed to capture a blurry view of a horse shoe in action here.

We've seen this event before, and I've photographed some of these horses out in their pasture.  It's always a highlight for us; the grandkids were as entranced as we were.

Decidedly chilly here this evening; actually had to put on a vest to walk the dog - just the kind of weather I like.  Thanks for the suggestions about the multiple posts Blogger was giving me.  I've never used the 'Preview' button, but if I do, hopefully I can avoid the problem.

Linking to:

Saturday Critters


21 comments:

  1. Such beautiful, hard working animals. Great post!

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  2. These are great photos of the horse teams! I've seen this event at the Lindsay fair, and it really is something to see these horses pull that weight. I remember one horse on a winning team was called "Punch". He was all muscle and had that thick stout neck like the horses in your second photo.
    Wendy

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  3. Beautiful horses, what a weight to drag, and that close up, one of the best.

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  4. I've watched them ploughing but have never seen anything like this before. It makes you realise just how powerful they are.

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  5. Thos are beautiful huge horses. and Great photos.
    Glad you have blogger straightened out.

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  6. huge, beautiful horses, this must have been quite exciting for everyone!!!

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  7. Gorgeous creatures. I like the ones showing how hard they are working, and I'm glad that their owners are taking such good care of them. What a strange little hook on those horseshoes! And yes, one of these days we will have a coffee date. :-)

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  8. I love Haflingers. Used to have one. They are beautiful and smaller but still draft horses. I'm not sure I could climb on board some of those bigger breeds. I would have thoroughly enjoyed that event.

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  9. Those are impressive horses! Great photos.

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  10. Love the horses anytime. I see your comment on JoAnn's blog and in Lynden not too far

    from the border in May they have the Draft Horse Plowing contest. Beautiful horses. Come in April for Tulips and May for horses. YAY!
    MB

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  11. Oh wow, these are gorgeous work horses and awesome photos. Great series. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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  12. Beautiful horses and fantastic photos!

    Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

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  13. They do look big. I've noticed the cooler evenings here, and early morning chill. It might be that we've seen the last of the serious heat.

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  14. Those draft horses are always my favorites.

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  15. Oh I love those big work horses. If I ever had a horse I'd like one of those. : )
    Magnificent animals.

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  16. Lovely photos . These horses are beautiful and fun to ride to as I have ridden a few in my farm days as well as worked with them to . They stand 19 hands high from ground to shoulder and weigh in at about 2000 lbs , gentle giants they call them . There are so many different breeds of draft/work horse now a days to . I just saw a program on netflix with British actor Martin Clunes one of my fave Brit actors all about work horses as he has a farm in England and needed to train his . Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

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  17. Those look like Belgians, beautiful animals! Down here the Amish and old order Mennonites that still use horses to farm almost exclusively use Belgians. The last horse loggers I knew used Percherons and much preferred that breed.

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  18. We used to depend on this type of horsepower, now I can see why. - Margy

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  19. You have taken some fantastic shots of the horses. They are beautiful animals. They have horse pulling contests in southern Iowa but not at the state fair.

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  20. Great captures of these handsome animals!

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