By: Reginald Tiangha
The definition of a Heavy Horse is any breed of horse that is suited to or used for drawing heavy loads.
The Calgary Stampede has two main committees that put on various events involving heavy horses for the public during Stampede week.
The Stampede’s Heavy Horse committee will showcase approximately 110 heavy horse competitions (called classes) during the first four days of Stampede as part of their Heavy Horse Show (held in the Saddledome and Big Top), while the Heavy Horse Pull committee will hold competitions during the final three days showcasing light, middle, and heavy weight classes of heavy horse as they try to pull loads of over five times their own body weight across various distances (held in the Big Top).
The Pull competitions are fun to watch. The competition is based on how the horses used to be used in real life, and it’s fascinating to see how powerful these horses really are.
As for the Heavy Horse Show, while there are many opportunities to catch related events, my favourite of them all is the Heavy Horse Show with Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, which are hitch and cart classes presented to music by the CPO. They’ve been doing it for 10 years now, and sometimes it’s nice to escape to the Saddledome during a hot, rainy, and/or exhausting day to just relax and watch some beautiful horses “dance” to some wonderful music.
Schedule information via the on-line Stampede Planner can be found in the links above, and best of all, these events are all FREE with admission!