Horse pulling is a drag horse competition using one or two horses harnessed to a weighted sled. The winner is the horse that can pull the most weight over a short distance.
The horses used in this sport are trained regularly to develop strong muscles and tendons. This prevents them from getting hurt during a competition.
The sport has different weight classes and rules designed to prevent animal cruelty. There is a standard set of rules in place by the Eastern Standard Draft Association in addition to unique rules at each event.
The horses pull a device called a dynamometer which is a machine specifically made to test the horse’s strength. Typically, 1500 pounds will be loaded onto the dynamometer and horses are expected to pull it for a short distance. The competition continues until only one horse remains, capable of pulling the most amount of weight.
Horse pulling emerged during the early days of dairy farmers using their horses for farm work. Farmers would challenge each other to see who had the strongest horse. The sport has since evolved into an organized sport using equine athletes.
Interesting Fact: The Belgian horse is the popular breed of choice for horse pulling.
- Tractor Pulling — a motorsport involving modified tractors that pull a weighted sled along a 10 meter wide, 100 meter track.
- Ban’ei Races are a horse pull competition held in Japan.
- Carriage Driving — sports in which horses or ponies are hitched to a wagon, carriage, cart or sleigh by means of a harness.
- Harness Racing — horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a sulky.