MARKESAN—Tears of joy were shed at the horse pull during the State Fair Aug. 9 as David Kohn took first place in the 3,000 pound category.
Kohn has been pulling horses with the Wisconsin Farm Team Horse Pull club for almost 20 years and took home the top prize at his first professional competition.
“I’ve wanted to enter the state competition for quite a few years, but I didn’t have good enough horses,” David said. “This year we did.”
David’s sons Mike and Billy Kohn own the nine Belgians the family uses at horse pull shows. They start the training at the end of March every year and the first competition this year was in Dubuque, Iowa the first weekend in May.
“A lot of work and time went into getting them ready,” David said. “We put 400 to 500 pounds on a sled and walk the horses seven or eight miles a day. Having time to do it is the thing. It takes time if you want them to be good.”
David said he and his sons spent more time training the pair that won state, 10-year-old Tim and 5-year-old Red, than any others they’ve owned.
“It takes a special horse to do this,” David said. “They have to learn to squat back and get to the ground and pull. They have to want to do it.”
The two-horse team is allowed to be 20 pounds over the 3,000 pound combined weight limit because of the weight of the halter and shoes. At the State Fair the horses’ combined weight was 3,010 pounds.
The horse team gets three tries to pull 27.5 feet in each round. The eliminator pulling truck started with 2,300 pounds and added 200 each round until David and his team won by pulling 3,300 pounds. Six teams were on the winning load, but Tim and Red pulled the furthest with 24 feet, 3 inches.
“It was very exciting,” David said about the State Fair competition. “It’s something I’ll never forget. When we left the trailer with the horses, it was about a quarter-mile walk amongst all of the people with these big horses to get into the coliseum that is full of people. As soon as we walked in people started hollering. It’s a feeling you don’t have at any other contest.”
David said the prize money, $600, doesn’t mean anything compared to the feeling you get.
“I was very glad that my dad, who is 77, mom, two boys, my wife and a lot of the guys who helped us with the horses were all there and got to enjoy it with me,” David said. “A lot of tears were shed that day. It’s a feeling I don’t get very often, something I’ll always remember.”
“A lot of this goes back to my dad [Eldon Kohn],” David said. “He pulled ponies for years. We always had horses and ponies on the farm. I wanted him to sit on the machine at state, but he wouldn’t do it.”
Jodi Kohn said horse pulling can be dangerous. Every time they hook on she celebrates.
“It’s his life,” Jodi said about her husband. “It’s so exciting. He’s worked so hard, but they all enjoy it. We’re still celebrating.”
Article courtesy of Daily Citizen