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Lewisville Horses Hoof It To National Prominence

At a small farm in the southeast Idaho countryside, one man is training a pair of horses to compete on the national stage.

On a crisp, early morning north of little Lewisville, overnight Eastern Idaho Regional Medical nurse Nick Barney is ending his day with his draft horses, Buck and Andy.

Andy is an 8-year old Percheron. His relatively little Clydesdale buddy Buck is 3 years younger and 400 pounds lighter.

“Yeah, he’s just a little guy compared to this big thing,” Barney said of Buck, as he gestured toward Andy.

Like so many imperfect pairs, they’ve struck a rhythm.

“You just got to keep them thinking they can always do it,” said Barney. “If you got them on something they can’t pull, fix it so they can.”

Buck and Andy are draft horses built and bred for strength. Barney has trained them to pull heavy loads as a pair.

“We go and pull in Rexburg during the winter sometimes just to have fun, everybody brings their horses out,” said Barney. “It becomes an addiction kind of.”

On January 20, with some time off from the hospital, and just a week before the big national Western Stock Show in Denver, Barney decided to take a leap and register Buck and Andy for the lightweight draft horse pulling competition.

“They paid 10 places so I thought if I can just get 10th place I can pay my gas money and have a good time,” said Barney.

Once Barney got those horses to the show, the talk started to fly.

“Some guys who were there said, ‘You’ve probably got a sleeper pair, they’re going to really do good,'” said Barney.

They did. Taking second place, pulling 15,500 pounds.

“They’re big and powerful, but they’re got a temperament just like a puppy dog temperament you know?” said Barney. “They’re just, once you get around them they have their own personality just like a person.”

For Nick, it’s a bond passed down through generations.

“My great granddad lived here, and my grandpa,” he said. “It’s just in my blood I guess.”

The team who won in Denver on January 20th was from Pennsylvania. Barney horses beat out 9 other teams for the second place finish and a $1,600.

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