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  1. #1

    Default For a small horse farm?

    Tomorrow we'll take delivery of our very first tractor (MF 1533) with FEL. After that we'll obviously need to get some implements to help take care of the place.

    We are going to get a PHD as one of the first things so we can redo a few fence lines, and i'm doing my research into which one we should get. (Tips are welcome.)

    Beyond that, riding arena, round pen and pasture maintenance are important tasks. If you have a horse farm, what implements etc do you use, and what tasks do you do with them?

    We obviously need to drag the arena and round pen regularly. The lawn tractor can do touch up maintenance, but we'll need to do some good in-depth dragging regularly as well. The arena is big enough for the tractor, but the tractor is too big for the round pen. So maybe a 4'x4' english harrow? I think the riding lawn mower might be able to handle that?

    Then there are the pastures. What kinds of implements should we be looking at apart from the obvious mower? Some sort of rake / drag to spread the manure that the horses deposit out there? Something to dethatch the grass? Is there one tool that can we could use for now to do the arena and the pastures?

    And then in general, what are good attachments to use with a tractor to ensure healthy pastures?

  2. #2
    Gold Member RWolf's Avatar
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    Central Texas
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    Current, Power King (antique), Soon to have JD 5103

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    I've got 25 acres to maintain and my by-line has some of the impliments I use on a regular basis. How large of acreage do you have? That will determine what size of implements to get but at a minimum you will need a shredder (rotary cutter) and a boxblade. For longgevity I'd go with heavy duty. You may not need it but it's cheaper in the long run not having to replace a broken implement. Look at implements that can do more than one thing i.e. a landscaping rake can do a basic grooming of an arena, smooth out a driveway, cleanup brush etc. For a shedder a 6' will get the job done easier and quicker unless you only have a small acreage then it might get in the way more than not. Also if you have friendly neighbors maybe you could borrow some implements to try out or if you only need to use occasionally. As far as a PHD I've been using my neighbors Leinbach with a 12" augar and have never had any problems and we have some pretty rocky soil in places.

    Good luck.

    [editted]- As far as your rounpen the we we do it is to open a couple of panels and then we have enough room to work in.
    2008 5103, FEL, 6ft. HD Box Blade, 6ft. Rotory cutter. And many more to come.

  3. #3
    Silver Member Malvern's Avatar
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    OH
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    JD 3120

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    Valorum,

    We have a 2 horses with about 3 acres of pasture, I generally use my Yamaha Rhino to drag the arenas and the pastures with a 6' x 4' harrow, works way better than the tractor, faster too.
    Stall cleanings, spreading manure goes to the Rhino. I only use the tractor to cut the pastures with my 72" mmm, our horses don't like tall grass so I try to keep at the highest level the deck will cut.

    The one tool we use the most is the harrow. What you will find harrowing the fields are the bumps so wear a kidney belt or have a good seat.

    We have a Newer Spreader for spreading the manure, I don't know how many horses you have but this thing is pretty neat for our two.

    Malvern
    JD 3120 ehydro with 300CX, 72" 7 Iron MMM Land Pride RB-1572, Land Pride BB-1560, 2005 Yamaha Rhino.

  4. #4
    Elite Member schmism's Avatar
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    Peoria IL
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    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorum View Post
    So maybe a 4'x4' english harrow? I think the riding lawn mower might be able to handle that?
    youll likely come up short on traction.

    Look for a used 4x4 4wheeler as a good option for the smaller rings as they have a lot more pulling power than a riding lawn mower.
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Sumter, SC
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    Massey Ferguson 5609, Kubota GS1800, eXmark LazerZ XP

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    I use a Reveal 4-N-1 for arena dragging, box blade work, prepping soils for seed, and a counter weight for FEL work. A post hole digger, rotary cutter, disc, broadcast spreader for fertilizer/seed, round bale spear, 100 gallon sprayer, and harrow drag round out the implements.

    Buy the right size implement for your tractor and operation. A 10' rotary mower does you no good if it wont fit through your pasture gates. A light duty box blade will tend to pretzel on you if get too rough with it. And a 12' disc is a little too much for a 40 hp tractor.

    Visit some other horse operations in your arena. See what tools they are using and what has worked or not worked for them. Have fun and enjoy!

  6. #6
    Silver Member
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    Aug 2008
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    San Marcos, CA
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    John Deere 4320, Kubota B2710HST

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    Regarding your arena, what kind of base and footing will it have, what kind of riding are you using it for, and how many horses will be on it every day?

    We use a Red Master II, seen here:

    behind the JD listed in my sig to drag our two arenas, and an older version of a Red Master, seen here:

    behind the kubota to drag the round pen. We used to use the Kubota for all purposes, but after we got the larger harrow the Kubota broke down too often.

    These are both expensive harrows.

    However, this is for a 40+ horse boarding stable focused on dressage. Our arenas and round pen have a compacted DG base topped with a footing of washed and screened river sand mixed with Nike Airfoot.

    On the other hand, the therapeutic riding center where I volunteer has an arena of graded local soil. I found them a steal of a deal on a used TR3 rake (see TR3 Rake? Arena Drag by ABI Equine? >>> Best Selling Arena Equipment, I couldn't find a simple photo I could link to). Also an expensive harrow, but it does an amazing good job of turning dirt into a pretty reasonable riding surface with some "cush" to it. And it's amazing how much better the therapy horses are going since we got the 2N tractor and TR3, compared to once or twice a week drags by the neighboring stable's hands using a Parma arena groomer.

    Can you get by with less expensive arena drags? Sure you can. How sound are your horses? We've found that proper footing reduces our vet bills substantially.


    Oops, almost forgot about other implements. Others have already mentioned a bush hog and a box blade. I'd suggest pallet forks for your FEL. Handy for unloading stuff that gets shipped to you, and also for moving things around in bulk if you have a spare pallet lying around (e.g., feed, plants, sandbags, hay bales, shavings). Depending on your local footing and weather, you may want something to flatten out your arena footing to "seal" it against rain. This can be a fancy attachment to one of the above harrows, or a chain-link fence panel, or anything in between. Again depending on your situation, you might want a manure spreader. We don't have enough land for that, so ours goes in a large roll-off and gets hauled away.

    Not exactly "implements", but you'll want some good front and rear work lights on the tractor, and you'll want to mount a tool box unless the manufacturer has provided an adequate one.
    Bill Walker, San Marcos (San Diego County), CA
    '08 JD 4320 eHydro, '00 Kubota B2710HSD, caretaker of a '44 Ford 2N

  7. #7
    New Member
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    Hudson Valley NY
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    Ford 2120 4X4

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    We have a 13 acre horse farm with 4 horses. One attachment I could not do without is my backhoe. As far as pasture dragging to break up manure, I use a 6 foot piece of chain link fence with a 4x4 screwed to it for a little weight.
    Your garden tractor should be able to handle that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    Thanks for the replies this far

    Several of you recommended a box blade. What do you use that for?

    Here's our situation:

    We have 7 acres, about 2/3rds of that is pasture, paddocks, riding arena and round pen. We rent another ~12 acres of pasture next door. The owner of those 12 acres will do the mowing and fertilizing of that part.

    Our facility is a casual self-care boarding operation. This means we'll be doing work mostly on the weekends, so typically no daily maintenance.

    We have 2 horses ourselves, and we have another 6 horses boarding with us. We'll be adding 4 more boarders in March for a total of 12 horses. No more after that. Half of them are out in the pastures 24/7, the others stay in at night. (So on average we will effectively have 9 horses full-time on ~17 acres, which is almost 2 per horse, which is as low as i want to go.)

    We have 10 shed-row style ~10x12 stalls. The boarders take care of feeding and cleaning stalls themselves. We rent a dumpster for the manure for now, but we plan on composting it and spreading it (hence a tractor with FEL ) so a manure spreader is definitely in our future.

    The horses that stay out 24/7 create a good bit of manure in the pastures. There are piles everywhere. I want to break it up and spread it out. Hence my question about what kind of implement is best suited for that. The grass (it's mixed types) is also tangled etc, and i suspect it'd be good to loosen it up a bit before spring, possibly with the same tool?

    The arena and round-pen get casual use. Once we get back into the routine ourselves (we moved in here late November, so still getting settled, you know how that goes), we'll be working our horses in the roundpen and arena several times each week. So the arena and round-pen may get used once or twice a day on average, but probably not more.

    I'm not 100% sure about the layers of footing in the arena & roundpen. I know they didn't just level a dirt plot. The top layer material is M10(?), which is the gray sand. Supposedly there is a proper base layer under it, but i do not know the details. It looks good, for what that's worth.

    For dragging the arena and round-pen, i'm picturing using the riding lawnmower (17HP) or a 4x4 ATV (yet to be acquired) to do the regular maintenance of dragging a harrow or rake, and use the tractor every now and then for leveling out ruts etc and maybe doing a good "stirring" of the footing. The tractor just seems too big and unwieldy for daily maintenance, certainly for in the round-pen (even if we take out the panels, which is a good idea btw!) So for regular dragging i suppose that would mean a non-3PH drag or rake.

    We're trying to balance budget vs doing it right. This is not a professional high-level dressage barn, so things don't need to look immaculate etc. We don't have the budget to afford all kinds of expensive implements, at least not right off the bat. So where we can use multi-use tools to get us by / to get started, that's my preference for now. Expensive tools can come later (when i can properly appreciate them compared to the cheaper ones ).
    Last edited by Valorum; 02-03-2009 at 09:10 AM.

  9. #9
    Gold Member RWolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    BoxBlade uses, there are many. Scarifiers down all the way and tilted forward makes a pretty decent plow to reseed pasture. Scarifiers brought up a bit with the blade level makes a good way to start, clear level driveway or create path/road around pasture. Or level ground. Scarifiers up and box tilted is a great way to crown driveway, create small ditches for drainage. Tilted back a little bit and you have a reverse blade or forward a soil packing tool. In a pinch and in combination with your FEL a means to dig a hole to bury a horse. As you can see using your imagination a box blade can do multiple chorse around the property.

    Edited - Budgeting for the right tools is important and that's why I said get impliments that can do multiple chorse. Another budget buster is buying the lowest cost impliment or too light of duty. You may spend more up front but it will pay for itself in the long run as you won't be replacing it anytime soon.
    2008 5103, FEL, 6ft. HD Box Blade, 6ft. Rotory cutter. And many more to come.

  10. #10
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: For a small horse farm?

    We've got 50+ acres (hay & horses) and average 25-30 horses (hunter/Jumpers). We use a TR3 arena rake for both the sand arena (profile blade) and a dirt arena (teeth), it works fine for both. I just take a panel out and use a box blade with scarifiers in the round pen because the BB doesn't have anything to catch the panels (like the comb on the TR3). Pay attention to your footing....wwalkersd is right, it will really save on vet bills.

    I've got a PHD but all my fences are in, so it's not used very often. I do have a 18" auger for it though....makes a perfect hole for a 15gal tree or shrub. My neighbors use my PHD more than I do.

    Probably my biggest issue is grass & paddock maintenance. We have multiple 3/4 AC paddocks that we rotate the horses around (usually in pairs). I use a cone-type fertilizer spreader to fertilize and reseed paddocks as needed when they are resting. I use a 8'X8' chain drag (carried with a 3pt boom) to breakup manure piles and give a good seed/soil contact when I overseed. If I need to completely redo a paddock (some horses are worse than others or lack of rain) I'll usually disk it, then lightly till it, seed it and roll it with my pasture roller....then hope for rain. I also use a 200gal 3pt sprayer with both a boom and a boomless nozzle to spray herbicide (and sometimes liquid fertilizer when I can't move the horses out).

    I use a finish mower to mow the paddocks (a rare occurance), the common areas, and my yard. It gives a better cut and doesn't stick out in back as far as a brush hog. For the hay fields, I've got the usual stuff...mower, rake, baler, and stacker wagon. I've also got a manure spreader for the bedding/manure from the stalls....it goes to the hay fields. I looked at composting but it was more trouble than it's worth.

    I've got other implements as well. However, I can count the things I've bought new on one hand. If you aren't in a hurry, you can wait for good deals to come along. I guarantee they're out there.

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