Goose pulling is an old sport originally played in parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, England and North America from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The sport involves a goose that is hung by its legs from a pole or rope that is stretched across a road. A man riding on horseback at a full gallop would attempt to grab the bird by the neck in order to pull the head off. Whoever makes off with the head is declared winner and becomes the noble hero of the day. Goose pulling is still practiced today, in parts of Belgium and in Grevenbicht in the Netherlands as part of Shrove Tuesday and in some towns in Germany as part of the Shrove Monday celebrations.
During the old days a live goose was used. To make the sport challenging, the goose's neck was generously oiled to make it difficult to retain a grip on it, and the bird's constant fluttering and flailing made it difficult to target it in the first place.
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