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Thinking of (ab)using my pony for farm work... ;-)

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  • Thinking of (ab)using my pony for farm work... ;-)

    He is small, petite and refined. Welsh/Arab cross type, lovely and friendly and my resident teaser.

    I am thinking of using him for farm work. Why not I say? Obviously, he is not going to be very strong.

    Does anyone use a smallish pony to haul things around? Does anyone use a horse to do farm chores?

    I am thinking it could be a) fun, b) useful, c) better for the environment and d) for my pocketbook.

    Stupid idea? Or Eureka moment?
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
    Breeding & Sales
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  • #2
    Sure, why not? It'll give him something to do and entertain his mind.

    Comment


    • #3
      Best get over to the driving forum, and ask about learning to drive, break a horse to harness and put to a cart or other equipment.

      That said, if he takes to it, there's all sorts of things he can do for you. Part of my driving lessons include hooking up the arena drag and lots of steering practice as we change direction on the diagonal and shorten and lengthen our ends, and do the "wiggle" which takes care of little spots. My trainer does ASB's and driving is an initial part of their training, so most all her horses have towed the drag during their work once they are considered finished.
      I can't say it is easier than using the tractor, just a more elegant use of our time.
      A Welsh/Arab would probably be cute as heck put to a cart too.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible

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      • #4
        I used my small (14H) QH mare for hauling manure, especially in the winter. Got the hood of a junk car (has handy holes for dropping hooks into) and would pile the manure on that. Then saddled her up with a western saddle, D rings and a breast collar and chains with hooks. I led her the first year, but rode her after that. That hood would ride over the top of the snow and not sink, I'd unhook her, tip the hood to dump the manure, hook her back up and away we'd go.

        It was so good for her, it taught her to ignore things banging and making noise behind her, it taught her to stand quietly while I did other things and it taught her to trust me.

        If I had my own place, we'd be using all 3 horses for things like dragging pastures/paddocks, spreading or hauling manure, hauling hay etc. Anything I could think of that would be useful and interesting for my ponies.

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        • #5
          If I had a proper harness (with a collar instead of a breast strap) I would hook my obese Shetland up to the harrow and work her big fat hiney. She's broke to drive and could certainly use the work!
          Click here before you buy.

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          • #6
            I used The SillyFilly this winter to help me haul water, UPHILL from the brooke.

            Even though I have experience driving and training horses to work in the woods, I did not really do any sort of respectable training with her...

            I made up a 'harness' with a western cinch for the breaststrap, and the vaulting surcingle to run the lines through. I did not drive her as she had not been bitted yet, but rather led her. I just used rope to attach Black Beauty, my utilitarian black toboggan to the redneck setup. Filled the muck buckets with water, and off she went...

            She took to it like a duck to water.

            Honestly, I think it's quite instinctive to horses to drive and work. To me it felt like 'training' a good bird dog. You're not so much 'training' as just giving them direction, they already seem to know how to use it.

            I would very much like to get a drag that the horses can pull. All my horses ground drive before being ridden. (what can I say, I like steering and brakes) and several have been put to cart, though I don't have any carts available now.

            I would LOVE a horse-drawn mower/brush hog type thing. I'm sure they cost more than I have though.
            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

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            • #7
              Even the small, refined ones have amazing strength -- but an appropriate harness and conditioning are essential to your horse's success and enjoyment.

              Just be sure to make safety your first priority. The lack of brakes need to be considered with any sort of drag, especially if you have any slope.

              My husband can vouch for the strength of small ponies -- our 38 inch, 350 lb mini, Mingus, drug him (200 lbs) across the beach (soft sand) as if he were nothing when a wave snuck up on him.

              I'm looking for a mini forecart for him, but until then he can pull branches, drag the arena/corral, haul manure, and many other not-too-tough chores. When we redo our lawn this fall, I hope to have him pull the roller, but I have yet to see if this can actually be done.

              I also plan to buy a fishing sled boat for other light hauling (I'd need either a foreccart or a means of keeping the sled from coming forward on him.

              This is a long way of saying that your horse should do fine at many farm tasks. Definitely be careful not to overface her, but don't underestimate her strength.
              They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

              Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

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              • #8
                I have a pony sized pulling harness, complete with collar and trace chains. Years ago, I used it with our welsh cross saint to drag the chain harrow.

                Oh, there is a photo of it in a Christmas card here, this pony is "Surprize"
                "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."

                Comment


                • #9
                  using horsepower is also easier on the earth.....the feet make less compaction on the soil, better for tilth, etc....

                  AND....if you use any animal for a "purpose" on the farm, thye are deductible, along with the equipment

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Cool cool!

                    Now where does one find a small pony pulling harness? Used? Ebay?
                    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
                    Breeding & Sales
                    Facebook | YouTube

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My friend hooked her 15.1ish Paint up to some sort of harness, and had him drag her indoor (very small indoor at her old place) with a homemade drag when her 4-wheeler was broken. I heard it was hilarious. He's a very laid back, easy going horse, so I can only picture him walking around with a light drag behind him, dragging the ring. I'm sure he got an apple for his "hard work".
                      <3 Vinnie <3
                      1992-2010
                      Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                        I can't say it is easier than using the tractor, just a more elegant use of our time.
                        Very well said.

                        Originally posted by EquusMagnificus View Post
                        Cool cool!

                        Now where does one find a small pony pulling harness? Used? Ebay?
                        Nope! Beware ebay. 99.9% of the harness on there is dangerous, cheap junk. Brittle, urine-tanned leather that will fall apart at the worst possible moment.

                        Do you have any driving clubs in your area? If you ask around, you might find a good source.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is so obvious, and I don't want to i nsult anyone's intelligence, but...

                          PLEASE don't try this without proper training! Any sized horse, including the smallest mini, is potentially dangerous when hitched to a cart or implement.

                          It's also unfair to even the calmest horse to just assume they will accept this without thorough training.

                          Okay...I'll get off my soapbox now...


                          As for the pulling harness...
                          Collars are fantastic, enabling the horse to better use his or her strength, but it MUST fit properly, and that is nearly impossible to do when ordering long distance. Ponies and minis can be especially difficult to fit properly.

                          I would recommend buying a good, sturdy work harness (suitable for recreational driving as well as light draft work), and then looking locally for a collar so that the maker can properly measure your horse.

                          The harness I've linked to below is rather homely (can I say butt-ugly on this forum?) and definitely not a show harness, but a friend of mine has one and it is definitely well-made and strong, yet very reasonably priced:
                          http://www.ronshorseharness.com/cate...ial-Harnesses/

                          They also sell collars, but again, unless they guarantee proper fit, I'd buy that locally.
                          Last edited by susanne; Jul. 26, 2010, 03:40 PM.
                          They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                          Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Another thought...can you tell I'm a worrier?

                            By "resident teaser," I assume you mean he is a teaser stallion to your mares? (I apologize if I'm assuming wrong.)

                            Please make certain he can be depended upon to focus on his work, even with a mare in heat nearby. I don't think I'd take the risk (again...runaway horse + cart or implement = deadly weapon) , but then, I don't know your horse.
                            They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                            Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              my svelte little Arab mare grew up on a Shire breeding farm, the only light horse there. As a youngster, she was not only taught to pull a cart, but to pull LOGS just like the big boys! Granted, the log was in proportion to her size/ability...


                              I have photos of her doing this, and apparently finding it interesting---but have not tried this at home!

                              The Shire stallion there preferred dressage(under saddle) to log-pulling.

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