A Full Pull
It was probably about 4 years ago that Pete took me to see my first Horse Pull. That’s not something I could see in my neighborhood in Chicago. That would be a little out of place. But here, beyond the bend in the road, past a few dusty buildings tucked amidst cropland, one of the first horse pulls of the season took place. 4 years later, the art of the pull started to sink in. Namely, that this is a sport, and these are equine athletes that train specifically for these events. And they are one hunk of sheer power in a bolt of movement.
Like any sport, there is an exactitude and science behind every movement. I haven’t figured all that out yet. I’m still trying to get beyond the awe of the horse’s massive musculature and sheer determination. There is a beauty in that power, sort of an homage to this beautifully engineered animal. Today’s event was only the beginning of the season, a demonstration if you will. A promise of the season to come. At first I thought it was all just fun and games, let’s see some horses pull some weights. But the announcer took the time to speak about the sport a little bit more. And this is what I learned, that there’s more to it than meets the eye. For example, there are hookers and pullers for each team. The puller drives the horses while the hookers, one on each side does just that, hooks the team in and they’re off. They’re not just pretty accessories those hookers, they have to be quick, deft and sure. And the puller, I am assuming here, needs to be able to communicate with the horses with absolute assurance. That’s gotta be a lot of training for everyone, horse and human.
One more thing, they go for the full pull.
That was what I kept hearing announced after each pull, “and it’s a full pull“! Again and again. I know the question marks were bouncing around like little cartoon drawings above my head. What the heck is a full pull?! And they don’t seem to be doing anything less than a full pull so what’s the big deal? Someone must have seen my overhead question marks bobbing around because Mr. Announcer said that a full pull is 27.5 ft. I’m trying to imagine pulling 7000 lbs 27 feet. Nope. But I did drive a heaping pile of concrete blocks for 6 miles in my car once. Not the same thing. And it was Pete’s car. And I wasn’t supposed to do that. oops.
Anyway, these are power horses no doubt. And they do the full pull and love it. You can see it in the way they hold their heads up high and prance off the arena. I want to see more. Maybe try to understand the art of the full pull. And maybe try to encourage myself to do a full pull when the going gets tough. Meanwhile, I’ll just look forward to seeing more of these beauties…