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MailTribune.com
  • Hanley Farm draft horse pull

    Dan Jordan of Selma faces owners of seven other teams Saturday
  • SELMA — Like most folks today, Dan Jordan is concerned about the galloping price of fuel.
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    • If you go:
      What: First Saturday at Hanley Farm, featuring its first draft horse pulling contest.
      When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Pulling contest is from 1 to 3 p.m.
      Where: Hanley Farm, 1053 Hanley Roa...
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      If you go:
      What: First Saturday at Hanley Farm, featuring its first draft horse pulling contest.

      When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Pulling contest is from 1 to 3 p.m.

      Where: Hanley Farm, 1053 Hanley Road, Central Point. The farm is owned by the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

      Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children age 3 to 12 and seniors 65 and older. Children under 3 and SOHS members are admitted free.

      Details: Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to the viewing area for the pull. Other events include guided tours, demonstrations by the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, wagon and miniature horse cart rides, goat milking and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations and music by Banjo Bill. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

      For more information: Call 773-2675 or 773-6536, ext. 229, or visit online at www.sohs.org.
  • SELMA — Like most folks today, Dan Jordan is concerned about the galloping price of fuel.
    But he figures six gallons of oats a day is good mileage, particularly when you consider it fuels horsepower that can pull 12 tons.
    "With the price of gas, I know I'm going to be using Rex and Red a lot more," he said, adding, "We're fixin' to sow some oats this fall."
    The veteran horse handler was referring to his sorrel Belgian draft horse team, which he employs to plow, pull logs and win draft horse pulling competitions.
    "These guys eat six gallon of oats a day when I work 'em," said Jordan, whose honeyed North Carolina accent speaks of his roots. "And they get all the alfalfa they can eat and the water they can drink."
    With Rex weighing in at 2,600 pounds and Red a relatively svelte 2,450 pounds, the pair whose hooves are the size of pie plates can fuel up on a lot of alfalfa and swill a lot of water before their tanks are full.
    They'll need all the high octane fuel they can consume when they compete against seven teams from throughout the Northwest in the first draft horse pulling contest Saturday at Hanley Farm in Central Point.
    The rules are simple: Starting pull weight is 1,000 pounds and it must be pulled 271/2; feet. Each team has three attempts to pull the load. A thousand pounds is added after each round. The winner is the team that pulls the heaviest load the farthest.
    Rex and Red have not lost a pulling competition in the three years since Jordan moved to Selma, where he works with Rex and Red and trains horses.
    "Down in California last year, we pulled 24,000 pounds — a record," Jordan said. "It was raining. If it's wet, it's easier for the horses. Nobody else could move it, but we pulled it six foot something."
    Last month, his team won a draft horse pull in Grants Pass, pulling 12,500 pounds.
    "A guy flew in from Alberta with a team he paid $35,000 for out of Pennsylvania," he said. "He sent a guy from Oregon to get them and work them all winter. He did it just to beat me. Those Canadians, they hate losing."
    That team pulled an impressive 11,500 pounds but couldn't keep up with Red and Rex.
    "The other pullers are after me," Jordan said with a grin. "None of them speak to me no more."
    For the past quarter of a century, Jordan, 49, has had a team of draft horses participating in pulling competitions. With the help of his son, Troy, Jordan has won the draft horse pull at the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
    "I've been foolin' with farm horses since I was 12 years old," he said of his childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Boone, N.C. "My dad taught me pretty much what I know about horses."
    To accentuate his point, Jordan periodically lets fly some tobacco juice.
    "This is one of the best teams I've ever had," he said of the pair he bought three years ago in Kentucky. "I can hitch them to anything."
    That includes a hay wagon where he offers rides at Lake Selmac near Selma. His team also periodically is hired to log parcels. And last month they plowed four acres at Hanley Farm.
    He often works Rex and Red out on a 20-acre parcel owned by friend and fellow draft horse aficionado Bob Reed near the shores of Lake Selmac. Reed has two blond Belgians that Jordan helped train.
    Jordan is currently training Eagle, a 1,500-pound part Appaloosa and Belgian from Gold Hill.
    When it comes to preparing Rex and Red for competition, Jordan goes through a lot of oats. Their daily ritual begins with pulling a 750-pound sled four miles.
    "I go distance to build their wind," Jordan said. "When I bring 'em in, I hook 'em to that load there, which weighs 7,000 pounds."
    He was pointing to a sled loaded with three large oak logs.
    "I drag it one hundred foot while they are tired, back and forth, four times," he said. "That builds their legs.
    "In competition, they've got to be able to have good wind," he added. "They are going to be tired on their last pull. And their last pull is the one that counts."
    With Rex 10 and Red 9, Jordan says they have several good years of pulling ahead of them.
    "My goal is to win Denver," he said of the annual draft horse pulling during the Denver Farm Show each January. "You got pullers coming from the East, North, South and West. It's the biggest pull in the USA."
    He plans to enter Rex and Red next year.
    "You got to get there early and work the horses so they get used to the elevation," he said. "I want to work them at least three days so they'll be ready.
    "That's the big one," he added. "I've pulled against all them guys. They're tough."
    But he figures he has the horsepower.
    Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.
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