CLINTON COUNTY 4-H FAIR: Kirklin native shows horse
Four years ago,
George Biddle got into horse pulling because he thought it'd make for a fun
Based on the friends and family lining each side of the backstretch at the
Clinton County 4-H Fairgrounds on Monday, Biddle's assertion was more than
Biddle, with assistance from his brother Travis, competes in competitive horse
pulling all summer long. Monday's event was his third in four days, after events
in Plainfield, Ill. and Rensselaer on Friday and Sunday.
"Everybody just kind of pulls together," Biddle said. "It's just good, clean
Biddle, who owns four horses (two heavyweights and two lightweights), only
brought the heavyweights Monday. His pair of horses bowed out after failing to
make the required distance of 27-feet, while carrying 7,000 pounds.
At the beginning of a horse pulling event, each team gets three attempts to
clear the required weight and three passes to get the horses hooked onto the
load. Pulling starts at 5,000 and ends at 8,000 pounds.
After each of the horses complete their runs at a certain weight, a Caterpillar
will bring out slabs of concrete and 10 or so workers will add the weight to the
Since the weight is an estimate, no world records could be set at Monday's
event. Events in Michigan usually have the proper equipment for such
Biddle said he trains his horses daily, with each one of them pulling weights
for four miles. They usually get a break after 1/3 of a mile, but Biddle does it
to build up their cardiovascular system.
Once a week, he'll put 3,000-4,000 pounds on the sled and take the horses a
half-mile in short intervals. Biddle's heavyweight horses weigh around 2,200
pounds and the lightweights 1,600.
Most of the horses competing at horse pulling events are Belgian horses, which
account for more than all other breeds combined. Henry Hawkins of Mulberry, who
emceed the event, said that studies done in the 1920s and 30s showed that
Belgian horses were the best ones to use for events like this.
"It takes, time work and money to front those horses," Hawkins said, who was
unable to bring his own horses in for the competition. "The horses got to work
together, otherwise they don't make a good team.
"It's all about conditioning, too."
To get to the actual pulling portion of the contest, it takes two or three
handlers to hook the two horses up to the load. And as once as the horses are
latched on, they pull right away, and its up to the driver to take care of
Frankfort residents Jerry and Mary Hall experienced their first-ever horse
pulling event and Jerry Hall said he attended in hopes of taking some good
"We like it," Mary Hall said. "It's fascinating seeing the horses brought up to
the sled and pace the entire time until they get them hooked up and ready to
Article Courtesy of www.ftimes.com