Horse and plow farming on the rise

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BeckyW, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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  2. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    My grandmother said this would happen someday! Is there a reel-type mower attachment available? I have too much grass (weeds, actually) to want to push a mower, but don't want a riding one as I am mechanically inept. Could one mow an acre or so with a horse instead?
     

  3. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    http://www.farm-garden.com/heavyhorses

    Paul Muller, whose wife is a member of this board, writes a column for Farm & Garden called Heavy Horses. His first two articles are online and more are coming. Paul knows heavy horses well and does a great job in writing about them.
     
  4. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    Yes, you can mow a yard with a horse. The past few days, I have been mowing my yard with 3 horses! They miss a spot here and there. But I sure like hearing them chewing compared to the sound and smell of the lawn mower!
     
  5. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I remember well the days of my childhood spent dropping seeds into the ground behind Daddy's mule. We loved old Shortie, but he could sure be ornery!
     
  6. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've seen draft horses used for logging fairly routinely in rough country or sensitive ecosystems where you couldn't take a tractor. I'm not sure for that use they've ever gone completely out of fashion.

    Horses are also used routinely in even the really big mechanized "Factory farm" feedlots in my area to move cattle.

    There will always be a use for draft animals ...

    That said, I will mention that, having had a bit of experience with horses and having seen some spectacular injuries, that working a team of draft horses isn't for the inexperienced. If anyone's thinking of getting a team who doesn't have horse experience -- I'd suggest A: taking lessons and B: working for a couple of years for a stable, doing grunt work. Most big stables need reliable labor for grooming, cleaning, and readying horses for clients & it's a good way to learn "hands on" stuff you can't learn out of a book, like learning "survival instincts." -- how to read a horse, what not to do, where not to stand, what spooks horses, how to handle a biter, how to handle a kicker, how to know when a horse is thinking of doing something bad ... etc.
    Leva
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I'm one of the ones getting into the revival. Mine are Belgian drafts: one is an ex-pmu mare and the other is a mu farm born filly coming in two months. Already horse drawn equipment is going up in price and is getting scarcer to find used. I think it is an interesting reversal. Thinking about it the other day I relaized that most of us have no qualm about driving 70 or more on a crowded interstate while talking on a cell phone but few of us have any clue as to how to hitch (or control) a horse for a slow drive or a day of work. I purchased the books by Lynn Miller which are excellent resources and I love his philosophy about horses.
     
  8. IwannaFarm

    IwannaFarm Well-Known Member

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    Could you use draft cows for the same basic idea? I've been thinking on Dexters for that kind of thing.
     
  9. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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    Dexters are a historic "oxen" breed. They are a great choice.

    Oxen are stronger than most horse teams and need less feed for the work they do. However, they are slower and less able to deal with some terrains.

    Read more here...

    http://www.ruralheritage.com/ox_paddock/index.htm

    Drew Conroy is a great resource for oxen and has a couple books out on the subject.

    J
     
  10. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    I saw a show on RFD TV about all the equipment out today for horses. They have an annual show. Guessing you could Google it and find more info. I was amazed at all that is out there, including large round balers.

    It looked like the horses pulled a "cart" On this cart sat the team driver and ran the controls for whatever was being pulled. You would hook the implement to the cart and off they went.
     
  11. Old Jack

    Old Jack Truth Seeker

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    Sounds like one could make money repairing and building such equipment
     
  12. ponyexpress

    ponyexpress Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the links, Maine Farm Mom. Interesting reading!
    DH and I are looking into horse drawn equipment. We want to start baling our own hay. Preparing for "no gas" if it actually happens!
    I'd much rather be out with the horses than on that noisy tractor anyday!
     
  13. mulliganbush

    mulliganbush Well-Known Member

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    I have mules. I don't think of comparing them to tractors; I kind of consider it's like having several strong men helping me out with the lifting and carrying. Several strong, smart, agile, curious, loud men helping me out.

    I don't know about baling--I've never tried that and I don't have a mower. But they can plow between rows of plants and never step on one. They've been mine only since the first of the year, but last year I watched them calmly plowing in corn that was over their heads without snatching bites, or panicking at being closed in. They've helped me clear up a stream near the house and scrambled up and down steep places without problem. They respond individually to their names--try to get a tractor to do that.

    The drawback is that it takes years of training to get them to this stage or a chunk of money to buy them already trained. The equipment I've seen is costly, more because people buy it for it's curiosity value around here. I kind of inherited these, so I don't know what their price would actually be.

    Ray
     
  14. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    It's a forecart.

    Stacy
     
  15. country friend

    country friend country friend

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    I have been doing buggy horse for pleasure transportation now for two years now . My horse Harvey can easily do a 50 mile round trip in one day and that is with my wife and I both . I do have plows for him but never have tried it just seems much easier to fire up the old ford tractor or tiller . But I do know if I had to old Harvey sure could do it .
    I have two other friends that go to church with us and the have buggies to and now there is a new member who is getting one .
    The pastor of are church and over half of the men horse back on trails not far from the church . No we are not Amish .
    Just country boys who love god , Country and horses.
    Indian country Friend Jack Bunyard
     
  16. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    We have a 1898 doctor's buggy that we are restoring. Horse transportation is exactly why we moved to this place. We are 6 miles from the closest town, 10 miles from another and probably about 6 from another. And the town we do all our shopping in is only 13 miles away.