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Light farm work with a Standardbred?

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  • Light farm work with a Standardbred?

    I have 2 off the track standardbreds at home. One I've taken driving lessons with and am confident handling at home. I Was thinking about using him for some light work on our mini farm....pulling a harrow to break up manure in the pastures for example, and hooking the seed spreader to a forecart and re seeding the pastures. I'm unsure how many other realistic uses there are for using a light horse on the farm. Any ideas someone could share? Just was thinking that this could be a way to both use and spend time with my horse as well as get work done. My only other thought right now is rigging a muck bucket up on some type of sled and having him pull it to my muck heap for me because the mud is horrid at the moment. Thanks!
    Horses, Law Enforcement, K9's, Life in General, feel free to browse my blog.....http://allinstrideblog.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    I just want to give a thumbs up to the manure bucket idea. I use my minis for this all the time in the winter when the snow gets to be too much. I use an "otter sled" and it fits two tubs of manure just perfectly.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by cayuse View Post
      I just want to give a thumbs up to the manure bucket idea. I use my minis for this all the time in the winter when the snow gets to be too much. I use an "otter sled" and it fits two tubs of manure just perfectly.
      Just curious, how do you hook your sled to the minis? I've not purchased a harness yet, as I've been borrowing my instructors for lessons

      thought about saddling with a wide breastplate, shortening the stirrups and rigging ropes from cinch ring to a single tree to hook to sled and walking behind, ground driving, to just work on our "walk on and whoa/stand" commands
      Horses, Law Enforcement, K9's, Life in General, feel free to browse my blog.....http://allinstrideblog.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        You will want a neckcollar and hames if you plan on dragging substantial dead weight with any consistency. Your horse's neck will thank you for it! Low line of draft is not appropriate for a breastcollar and neither are heavy loads. You can always get a breastcollar later if you want to work with a lighter cart that has a high line of draft down the road.

        Singletrees can function as your "hitch" to anything. I use a super heavy duty spring snap to hook the singletree (or evener for a doubletree) to the tires or our chain harrow. If the object has a lot of drag and you are working at low speeds you don't need shafts and breeching.

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        • #5
          On my minis I use a regular breast collar as they are not pulling much weight or going far, but CERT is correct, neck collar is the way to go. I just ordered a new harness with a breast collar that has swivel traces so the line of draft can be adjustable and I am looking forward to seeing how the minis like it. As far as shafts go, I had shafts made that attach to the sled. Sometimes I don't use the sled with the shafts and use a different sled with without shafts. One mini prefers it this way for whatever reason.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CERT View Post
            You will want a neckcollar and hames if you plan on dragging substantial dead weight with any consistency. Your horse's neck will thank you for it! Low line of draft is not appropriate for a breastcollar and neither are heavy loads. You can always get a breastcollar later if you want to work with a lighter cart that has a high line of draft down the road.

            Singletrees can function as your "hitch" to anything. I use a super heavy duty spring snap to hook the singletree (or evener for a doubletree) to the tires or our chain harrow. If the object has a lot of drag and you are working at low speeds you don't need shafts and breeching.

            This is spot on. It's fairly easy to build a simple stoneboat. But for snow - a lot of people like to use an old car hood as a makeshift sled. Two other things to be careful of: 1) be extremely cautious starting out if the horses aren't used to hearing something actually dragging on the ground. 2) the draft load from something dragging is exponentially higher than the actual weight of the object. A horse-drawn plow doesn't weigh a lot but between the angle of draft & the resistance against the plow blade it adds up to a lot of work for two large horses.

            Your guys are at a bit of a disadvantage because they don't have a true draft breed build. People that regularly do farmwork tend to prefer the "farm chunk" type draft like a Brabant that have almost a 1:1 ratio of body/leg over the tall leggy hitch type like the Budweiser Clydesdales. But even my tall, modern-type Shire had a leg bones that were a different ratio than my thoroughbred & even my WB. I remember explaining it to my eventing trainer when we looked at an 18.1 monster of a WB for sale. The WB was 6" taller than my Percheron gelding. But you could tailgate on the Percheron's rump.

            Just go slow and you should be fine. You may never want to go back to farm work with machines afterwards!


            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Wonderful input thank you.

              CERT- Yes, If i end up with a forecart and plan on dragging much more than a light seed spreader (one that holds one bag of pasture seed that I could easily pull, I will definitely invest in a neck collar harness.

              Wanderosa- I agree with them being at a disadvantage being light horses as opposed to draft breeds. As of now I am only planning light work for them. Today, Dewey dragged some large pine boughs (as thick as my calf and about 15ft long....waterlogged and too heavy for me to want to pull) for me from one side of the property to the brush pile about 100 yards away, he seemed to not even notice it was there.

              My main plan was a sled+ muck bucket since my manure pile is in the mudlot and the mudlot is up to a foot deep in spots and i have to go up a slope to get to the manure pile. we practiced on the pine branches first on relatively firmer ground.

              the sled and muck bucket worked a treat. It glides behind him over the mud, I only have to balance myself; and I dont think he hardly feels any weight behind him. I have to move the bucket about five feet from where we halt, just to the back of the pile and dump it. Totally worth the five minutes it takes to tack him up.

              Right now, since we only plan on using the sled and bucket, I just saddled him, added a breastcollar, DIY'd a singletree, and used rope with 450lb break strength and some snaps and eye bolts to set everything up.

              It will work for now until I decide if I can/will end up with some sort of forecart or just a light buggy for pleasure driving.
              Horses, Law Enforcement, K9's, Life in General, feel free to browse my blog.....http://allinstrideblog.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                What.R.U.Doin -My family has bred and raced standardbreds for years - such a lovely breed. What are the bloodlines/names of yours if you don't mind me asking?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cayuse View Post
                  On my minis I use a regular breast collar as they are not pulling much weight or going far, but CERT is correct, neck collar is the way to go. I just ordered a new harness with a breast collar that has swivel traces so the line of draft can be adjustable and I am looking forward to seeing how the minis like it. As far as shafts go, I had shafts made that attach to the sled. Sometimes I don't use the sled with the shafts and use a different sled with without shafts. One mini prefers it this way for whatever reason.
                  The "adjustable draft" breastcollars help with small differences from the horizontal line they are designed for (keeps the traces from getting overstressed along the top). You get too much lower than horizontal and the neck strap will start to engage instead of just the breastcollar and the horse is pulling with the top of its neck and not its chest. Do I have breastcollars with swivels? Yep! But neckcollars for low draft and heavy loads. For basic training I do use breastcollars and a light tire, but that's just enough to get us to the cart.

                  I'm glad your test run has gone well! Good luck!

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