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Dynamometer vs. Boat

The Dynamometer was built in the early 1900's at the University of Iowa at Ames, IA just to study horsepower.

(Coming soon: The history of the Dynamometer and why the Midwest uses 27'06" for a full pull) Today, there are just a select few that are still in use at horsepulling contests.

The dynamometer pull is a resistance pull so when the team of horses are pushing in their collars, they are lifting the preset weights on the dynamometer. When this happens they are also releasing an oil valve to let oil flow through in a clockwise direction. This preset weight is the same weight and a constant weight throughout a given load. When the team stops and the weights are returned, this valve is closed.

For any teamster not understanding how to start a certain load and pull on the machine, it would be a great learning experience if you could make it a point to understand it instead of blaming it for the way your horses pull on it. There is somewhat of a science to mastering how to start a certain load, but that comes with experience and a true team of horses that don't necessarily have to fight on the load and don't have to hit each load hard. I thought you men liked challenges. Even the expert machine teamster has his bad days. Point given: teamster error!

On the other hand, the boat or sled is a friction pull to where the runners or flat bottom it has on the ground create friction with the ground it is running against. This weight could change at any time throughout a load determined by the ground it is sliding on. Just because they say the weight is 7,000 lbs. on the boat, will not mean that it is 7,000 lbs. for every team that is pulling it. It could easily be 1,000 lbs. lighter or heavier for some other team depending where, in the track, it is sitting. Don't forget the friction is causing some weight conflict also.

Most spectators seem to understand the boat better, because it is dead weight they can visually see, but what they don't know is that the weight they are looking at isn't necessarily the same for all.

The weight they see a team pulling up on a dynamometer is the same throughout the pull. The times this weight would be different, is if a horse tripped while pulling and lost the weight he was holding up, he would have to again lift it to recover from the fall. This can be a costly error on distance.

If you are a TRUE horsepuller, it makes NO DIFFERENCE what you pull on or what the rules are... YOU LOVE TO PULL, YOU TRAVEL TO SUPPORT PULLS, YOU PULL AT VARIOUS CONTESTS AND REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME, YOU ARE TAKING A BIT OF HISTORY BACK HOME WITH YOU. Pullers, please know that we appreciate all of your hard work, dedication and support in the Sport of Horsepulling!

We would love to hear your comments on these contraptions so you can better understand what you are pulling on and/or watching.


Please note that horsepull.com does not agree or disagree with what anyone pulls on. Each teamster has a personal opinion of what contraption is best for them.

Also, if you would like to submit a photo of the contraption you like pulling on, please do so. We will accept one photo of each contraption, be it a boat or machine and list who is the owner/operator of it. Free of charge.

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