I'm very happy with our Newer Spreader. Had it for 1-1/2 years with no problems. Quick and easy to use. The one caveat I was given before buying it was not to let manure sit in the spreader for a long time before spreading it, or it can get blocked up. If your horses are stalled, you would probably spread daily and the size of the larger Newer Spreader should be just about right for cleaning all your stalls each day. Mine are on 24/7 turnout so I'm only picking run-ins, trailers, cross-tie areas, and stalls used for meals/convenience. I pick into six muck buckets, cover them with rubbermaid trash can lids, stack them behind the barn, and dump them into the spreader when I have a full load (every 5-7 days). The spreader pulls behind our golf cart and is light and easy to maneuver for hooking/unhooking/storage. The manure is shredded and breaks down easily. It's not thrown all over kingdom come, kicked out like a traditional spreader. It is dropped in a tidy, shreaded swath about three feet wide and 300' long for a full load. I have many friends using these and even in busy training stables, they hold up and are highly recommended.
With more than 2-3 horses, you ought to consider the kind with a box, like the Millcreek or ABI ones.
Those come in many sizes.
Depending on how many horses you have, what you have to pull it with and if you are spreading daily or composting in a pile and spreading every six months may determine which kind to use.
We have had both, Millcreek and ABI and either one are fine.
A friend borrowed our Millcreek and then begged to buy it so we sold it when we didn't have but a couple of horses and were spreading the manure with the loader on the tractor as we cleaned.
Later, needing one again, ABI was having a special and was 20% less, so that is what we have now.
If you have other than only manure, if you have hay and bigger bedding, you may not want those drum spreaders with mesh, they clog up easily.
We have and love our Newer Spreader as well. If you asked me what the one must have on a farm would be, I would definately say it! Well and something to pull it with. We use a four wheeler for spreading. I will say that ours does fling the manure, I've been hit more times than I can think with manure balls. . Some manure spreaders come with shields to protect the driver, might be an option to look for in your spreader (or an easy fix to add your own).
We have a 25-year-old ground driven spreader from Country Mfg: http://www.countrymfg.com/manure_spreaders.htm. Some of the best money we ever spent ... ranks right up there with the front end loader in terms of improving the quality of life when doing farm work. The company has been excellent about providing replacement parts when little things have broken over the years. We compost our manure first, then 3-6 times a year, load it into the spreader and run around the fields.
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
- Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926
We have an older John Deer spreader, which the best feature of is that you can fix it easily! It has BIG parts, strong chain and bars, so it can handle larger loads of manure with no problem.
It has a PTO, which I like over ground driven because I can spread the manure or park the tractor and let it empty the spreader in one place if I want or need to. Sometimes it is just way too wet or sticky ground to spread in the fields, so manure can be piled up, then picked up and reloaded in spreader when the ground can handle the tractor wheels without getting stuck. No problem spreading, even if I load it to the top edges and heap it high in the middle, getting rid of the pile. It is a true farm use spreader, not a hobby or mini-farm implement of less solid construction.
We got it for a good price at an auction, husband put in a new floor, new chains and spreader bars he made up. Boards are easy to replace if needed, which we have done again over the years on the floor. Husband made me a whole set of spreader bars one year for Christmas, replaced the older, rusty ones for me. Great Gift!! It is marked with a 40, which I believe means it was made to hold 40 bushels It is a larger size, holds plenty. It gets used daily, spreads the manure on fields almost daily, especially in winter to prevent manure freezing and breaking the chain.
We had a Millcreek back when they first started building them. It was ground driven, worked well. It held up to the loads and was nice at a smaller size to manuever around the place. Quite a nice machine, though I did have to drive a bit further to empty with ground drive chain. Unfortunately the Millcreek got hit by a speeding truck and wrecked while crossing a road. Son was not hurt, though the tractor got shoved into the ditch and spreader looked like a giant crunched it up. Couldn't afford to replace it at the time, so we got the less expensive, used JD.
We usually have about 6-8 horses stalled every day, though our tie stalls don't create as much manure and bedding as box stalls. So spreader does have a bit of a load each day, a tiny size spreader is too small for us. We spread on our fields, it adds a lot of organic matter to the soil, which is extremely helpful with our clay dirt. Kind of like mulching the whole pasture! Grass grows well and lots of it, for our horses on those fields.
Love my ground driven spreader. I compost the manure from my 3 horses and 2 ponies and what doesn't get picked up by local gardeners gets spread about twice a year. The only draw back is flying poop. If I drive too fast the paddles at the back spin too fast and sling the poop forward hitting me in the back of the head. When I bought the spreader, used, it had a blue tarp covering part of the wagon but that got in the way when I was loading the spreader with the front end loader so I took it off. Now I know why that tarp was there. Now I've slowed down to smell the, well, actually, I'm smelling poop, but slowing down to a moderate speed solved that problem. I've also learned not to spread on windy days for the same reason. Wearing a hat helps too.
Loved my $400 40 year old New Holland Spreader that we used for over 10 years. Sadly, it's now pretty much dead- as in we've pulled the chain and now unload by hand every couple of weeks when it gets full. Considering a new pto driven Pequa (love that style apron chain, and they seem to be built like "real" farm equipment) if we can't find another decent used one soon. Fingers crossed that a Gehl at a nearby auction this weekend will be in good shape and be reasonably priced.
ETA: I like PTO driven so we can stockpile manure in the summer (or when I don't want to rut up soggy fields) and spread on the fields in the winter.
I'm looking for a spreader to spread composted manure once a week and am really liking the idea of the Newer Spreader. However, I would be pulling it with a John Deer D140 48-inch riding lawn mower. I have concerns about it causing damage to the lawn mower over time, since I see the majority of people appear to pull it with "larger" vehicles like ATVs and such. Does anyone have any thoughts about this?
Although I'm not familiar with the Newer Spreader, I pull my mid-sized Mill Creek with my 17 horsepower riding lawnmower with ease. Somewhere I read that you need at least 17 hp for this type spreader.
I have a 40+ year old IH ground driven spreader that is awesome and was $400. With 4 stalls, I have to dump it every 3-4 days.
I don't know about the Newer spreader but I think a large yard tractor could pull mine on good ground ( not deep mud or steep hills maybe). I would think the newer spreader would be even more portable. Is your machine 4wd? That really helps when it comes to pulling.
We do pull our Newer spreader with an atv but not a big one. In a pinch when the atv was dead, we actually towed it with our zero turn out of desperation(though don't take that as a recommendation as they are not built for it). But my point being, I think a decent size riding mower would pull it fine.