Once upon a time....At the age of 12, my grandfather began
his lifelong addiction to draft horses. He says that his dad was the last
farmer in Calhoun County to farm with horses after everyone else got tractors.
He drove his father's team of horses on the wagon when they were putting up
loose hay and putting it up into the haymound. This is all it took for my
grandfather to get hooked.
Now he is 71 years young. He has had a hip
replacement and a heart attack last fall. Nothing will keep him away from
the love he has for his draft horses. Once upon a time he did think about
going into the standard bred racing but he just couldn't stand to see those
small thin bone horses in his barn. This was short lived 924 hours).
Folks attending horsepulling contests today will know my
grandfather for his presence and knowledge about the sport and horses. He
believes that participating in a horsepulling contest is about the "greatest
high" there is. He has been around drafts so long that he knows what the
horse is thinking before the horse does.
My grandfather can't help except to smile when someone
mentions his winning the National Contest in Centreville in 1993. He also
gets reminded of the photograph of him in mid-air when a doubletree broke at a
contest a few years back. His horses, hitchers, the load, everything in
the photo and there is my granddad in mid air.
With living in Michigan there is only one thing you can't
count on. The weather. But one thing you can count on is Harry Day
doing something with his horses all year long. In the winter months he
bears the cold and snow like blizzard conditions to go logging in the woods and
in the summer months he will bear the heat and rain to work his horses.
All anyone has to do is ask him for help with their horses
and he is there to lend a helping hand....no mater if it's about harnessing a
horse, taking care of them or needing his help at the horsepulls. He is
always eager to give a helping hand to newcomers and to other horsepull lovers.
Being inducted into the Horspullers Hall of Fame reflects a
well-rounded draft horse experience. Horsepullers never erase the memories
they have of horsepulling in their minds. So today we join my grandfather
with those memories, for the new ones yet to come and his dedication and
determination and love for horsepulling.
Photo courtesy of Cecil E. Darnell