Stan Grad lives heavy-duty
Wednesday October 05, 2005
|HE AINíT HEAVY, HEíS MY HORSE: Percherons Pete and
Ike are chomping at the bit in preparation for competition.
Airdrie Echo ó Airdrieís Stan
Grad has proven to be a force in the sport of horse pulling. Together with his
two Percherons Ė Pete and Ike Ė Grad has won the Calgary Stampede heavy horse
class two years in a row and hopes to continue his winning ways this November in
Edmonton and Regina.
Gradís recent success is something of which he is extremely proud.
"I won the Stampede in 2004 and then I won it this year. It feels good. Itís one
of the prestige ones," he said. "The Stampede draws a big crowd and itís just
kind of a neat one."
What makes his team so interesting is the unique breed. Gradís horses are
Percherons, which are a bit of a rarity in horse-pulling circles.
"Most horses ... in these pulling competitions are Belgian," he said. "I just
have a preference for Percherons."
A pulling team consists of two horses that are hooked up to a steel sled loaded
with a certain weight. Each team must move the sled at least 14 feet for a
successful pull. If more than one team successfully pulls a given weight, 500
pounds are added and teams attempt to pull the heavier weight. This continues
until only one team remains.
While there is a horse-pull circuit that travels throughout western Canada, Grad
tends to compete predominantly in a select few competitions, including Calgary,
Edmonton and Regina.
"At both Edmonton and Regina itís a huge spectator event," he said, "and so I
enjoy pulling there and itís good competition."
Last year, in addition to the Calgary Stampede Ė where he set a record, pulling
12,500 lbs. 51 inches Ė Grad won the Northlands pull in Edmonton; Agribition, in
Regina; and the 2005 World Percheron Congress, which was held in Canada.
"Last year was a good year," he said. "This year I just pulled at the Stampede
and won it and pulled in Edmonton and lost to my buddy in Cochrane, Dennis
Close friends and business partners, it was actually Weinberger Ė who won light
and middle weights this year in Calgary Ė who got Grad into the sport.
"I first went to a pulling competition in Calgary about four or five years ago
and I saw this pair of Percherons that I kind of fell in love with and I
negotiated a deal to buy the team," Grad said. "I had no inclination that I was
going to get into the pulling Ė I was going to just drive them around the
Six months later, Weinberger suggested that Grad enter his Percherons in the
heavy horse pull and offered to help. Grad accepted the offer and now trains his
horses in Cochrane under his friendís guidance.
"Heís the best that I think weíve got in Canada and he continues to show that,"
From his ranch in Cochrane, Weinberger works the horses through a series of
endurance and strength training exercises. The team is hooked up to a steel
stone boat and pulls a regulated amount of weight, for about an hour-and-a-half
every second day leading up to a competition.
"We pull them 100 yards, give them a rest and do it again. Itís exactly like
lifting weights," Grad said. "Theyíre on vitamins and minerals known to the
horse world as well as the best oats and the best hay."
Recent success prompted Grad to get more horses, one of which he has used in a
few pulls this year.
"Iíve got a new horse that Iím bringing on," he said. "Iím going to be pulling
him next year."
However while he wants to eventually establish a new team, Grad will use his
original horses this November, as he wants to win a pull to finish the year.
"Iím back with my old team for these last two competitions," he said with a
Article courtesy of www.airdrieecho.com