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Jul 18

Crowds hoofing it to see draught horses

Jessie, 11, and father Mark Rowe with Geoff Harvey and Georgia Rowe, 10, with two shire horses.THESE humongous draught horses will be no drag at Westbury Show this weekend, as what looks to be an annual sledge-towing competition takes off for its second year.
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The draught horse pull last year garnered interest from competitors across Tasmania and is this year being ramped up with a significant prize pool.

A total kitty of $1000 makes the event the most valuable competition of its kind in the state, according to Westbury Show society horse committee president Geoff Harvey.

“We ran this last year and got people from all over the state, not just to compete, but to watch,” Mr Harvey said.

“It’s pretty uncommon now days, there’s not much done of it anymore.

“This horse pulling or draught horse pulling is done a lot in the US and European countries, but last year was our 150th Westbury Show so we thought we’d try something different and we came up with the idea.”

He said US-styled horse pulling was designed on endurance, making the horses pull weights until they were fatigued.

“We didn’t want to go up that road because of issues with cruelty to animals and that sort of thing. We just got a weight that they could pull fairly easily and we just judge on other things, straightness of the pull, the way the handler handles the horse and that sort of thing.”

Mr Harvey has spent more than six months training the shire horses, owned by competition sponsors Mark and Ange Rowe.

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