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What an exciting day at the Eastern States Exposition (the Big E). After a great breakfast at the Firehouse Restaurant, we headed over to the Coliseum for the horse pulls. I find it quite fun to watch the massive, muscular draft horses pull first light loads, which they move with no effort whatsoever (and are probably thinking "C'mon, humans, give us a challenge!"), up to massively heavy loads that can weigh up to 10,000 pounds and more--approximately the weight of 4 draft horses. Two horses are teamed together and work together.
Draft horses wait their turn to pull the next load.
Donned in fancy leather harnesses, bridles and special shoes to help them grip the special footing, a team of draft horses (generally Belgian horses) is guided over to a "weighted sled" where the pull pole behind them is dropped into the hitch. The horses, excited to do their job, start to go immediately, often before the hook has hit its mark. In such a case, the horses are circled around to try once again.
Each team is to pull the specified weight 12 feet. They get 3 tries within 5 minutes to make the distance. The sleighs are weighted with large cinder blocks. Most runs start at about 1,500 pounds or so, and don't end until all of the horse teams but one have been eliminated.
Check out the slideshow for pictures from this grand event.