Sunday, September 11, 2011

Annual horse pull at Old Fashioned Days

Labor Day weekend for me means it's time to head west to North Salem's Old Fashioned Days. Going to this small town's annual festival has been a tradition for me since I was a kid in many ways, and attending the Sunday night horse pull is a regular activity.

For people who've never been to a horse pull, it might be hard to imagine why this kind of activity would draw a crowd. But like any good competition, it quickly sucks you in, even if you don't consider yourself a "horse person" to begin with.

You can't help but pick out a team to root for, whether it's because you know someone involved, like their story, are impressed with the team's size, or one of the horses is your favorite color. This year's story was bittersweet: One team owner's father, who's been raising these horses and participating in horse pulls for many years, passed away last month. His son is a regular attendee at this particular horse pull, so you can't help but root for him, if only to honor his dad's memory.

And wouldn't you know it, but he ended up winning in the end. His team of Belgian horses pulled 8,000 pounds to beat the other five teams for this year's victory.
The husband of Mom's horse trainer rode his horse at the beginning of the pull during the national anthem. He's one of the organizers of the event, and he served as emcee during the pull, as well. His horse—her excellent training, in particular—was what caught our attention years ago and got us involved in this particular training program. This photo is a testament to a great "stand cue" (a horse trained to stand still while her reins are placed at the base of her neck. 
This horse, Sis, is 26 years old, so she won't have many more years of carrying a rider and flag. She knew she was being called to perform this day, though. She didn't show her age at all.
Can it really be September already? It won't be long and I'll be photographing the changing leaves and fall colors! I'm not ready...

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