Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dixie Draft Horse Pull

A few weeks ago we went to the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh.  After spending the day at the farm show we hopped on over to the Horse Complex and got ready to watch the Draft Pull/Mule Coon Jump.

The opening ceremony was a Belgian Draft Horse carrying the flag followed by the Percherons pulling the buggy carrying the lady that would sing the National Anthem.

To me there is nothing more beautiful than a flag being carried on horseback.  Followed by a Percheron pulling a beautiful white carriage.

The next part of the opening ceremonies was very interesting and educational.  Different folks from all over the state brought their old horse drawn machinery and buggies so people could see how things were done over 100 years ago.

It's hard to imaging running outside in the morning and getting the horses harnessed up to head to work versus just jumping in our car and heading out.

Instead of a 15 minute drive to work it could take up to two hours to get where you were going.  It was a way of life, when things were slower and not so fast pased.

The sickel saw was very interesting to see.  This was how they would cut hay.  Today we can take down a field in a matter of hours where this could take up to a couple of days.

After the opening ceremonies they started with the Mule Coon Jump.  Mules are talented creatures and back in the day they would use them for hunting.  They would teach them to jump the fence so they wouldn't have to walk to a gate and just jump the fence where they were.

At times they would have to cross into their neighbors pastures and this was a time saving way to teach them to jump.

The mule has to start inside the white box which is 12x12.  From there they have to clear the jump at the current height to move to the next round.  The jump will be raised and they will continue this process until they get to the mule that could clear the highest.

The mule that is up first actually won the round.  She ended up jumping the height of the jump standards which goes up to close to 5 foot.

Being around horses my entire life I never imagined a mule jumping as high as a horse but it was pretty cool.

The next event was the Draft Mule Pull. 

The teams are attached to a sled and the sled holds a certain amount of weight.  Each team pulls the same amount for 20 feet.  Each round more weight is added.  The teams keep pulling until they can not pull the distance anymore. The mules got up to 6500lbs which is crazy!

During the break between the Mule pull and the Draft Horse pull they brought out the Fresians.  

The Fresian is a sporty, smaller breed of draft horse that is used from police horses to cross country.  They are very versatile and also beautiful to watch!

The last event is the Draft Horse Pull.  This is where they bring out the big boys.

Most of the teams that were entered were the Belgians.  This is one of the larger breeds of draft horses.  Some of these guys were huge and looked like football players.

The mules and draft horses that are used in these pulls are in shape and used to pull all the time.  They are athletes themselves.

The draft pull is the same as the mule pull.  They start at 1500lbs but end up going close to 12,000lbs with these guys.  They are definitely heave hitters.

We didn't stay for the entire night but got to watch several teams.  If you ever get a chance to go and watch a Draft Pull you should do it.  It is always interesting to learn about how life was before cars and trucks.  

This is where the real horse power came from.

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