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Old 06-27-2017, 07:06 AM
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Hey, it took me a lot of years just to do the 'easy' part. It'll take me a while to get to where I'll be farming with draft animals.
Didn't mean to belittle your acquisitions. You're miles ahead of most of us. Just a gentle nudge to keep going with it. As has already been said in various ways by others, if you don't learn how to use them, learn about working with animals etc, then a pile of prep/tools is just a pile of stuff. I'm sure you know this. And I suspect you're a bit more serious than the average prepper because these are not things to "have on hand just in case" that one simply orders from amazon. This require time investment and practical application to learn how to use before a crisis.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:40 AM
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Draft animals have to be fed 365 days a year, tended to, and maintained. Not to mention equipment that actually works. A tractor can be parked 365 days a year, weather you use it or not. Cost is about the same in investment terms.
Can you see why our ancestors migrated to tractors? Those who didn't fought the change, and died. I knew the last three old times who still drove their team to town to get groceries. One was my grandfather!
I was little, but I can remember him coming in for dinner. It was the chains on the harness dinging as the team came around the yard. Oh, that was my job, watering the team at dinner time. The windmill pumped water all the time, I just had to put the spout in the horse trough..

How many members can remember following a team plowing, cultivating the corn, or putting up hay? It was the best memories of my grandfathers.
Getting enough feed stored away for a year would be my concern at this point as well as having fields planted in oats and hay. The day a horse is brought onto the property, feed will be needed.
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Old 06-27-2017, 08:33 AM
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Didn't mean to belittle your acquisitions. You're miles ahead of most of us. Just a gentle nudge to keep going with it. As has already been said in various ways by others, if you don't learn how to use them, learn about working with animals etc, then a pile of prep/tools is just a pile of stuff. I'm sure you know this. And I suspect you're a bit more serious than the average prepper because these are not things to "have on hand just in case" that one simply orders from amazon. This require time investment and practical application to learn how to use before a crisis.


I didn't take it as any critisism, I am just trying to make it clear that I am not on a fevered quest to change over to horse farming. If I were very rich I would start the transition immediately but for me it is a work in progress. If there was a way to predict the future and know there is a super crash coming November 29th 2017, I'd have my horses in a week. Maybe I can start a new Mayan Calendar prediction.

Meanwhile this is a small step in the direction I am heading. I'd been looking for horse drawn equipment for some time and Saturday it happened to a pleasing degree. I still have some niches to fill.
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Old 06-27-2017, 09:02 AM
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Getting enough feed stored away for a year would be my concern at this point as well as having fields planted in oats and hay. The day a horse is brought onto the property, feed will be needed.


I've had horses (pleasure, not draft) in the recent past (cattle in the more distant past) and have enough pasture for a decent number of grazing animals. Both did very well on strictly hay and pasture with grain as a treat for keeping them coming when called. I've not used grain to fatten cattle.

The only grain I have stored at this point is some corn in a small corn crib. I have enough hay in the shed for a year of feeding a small herd and the shed is full enough that I haven't made hay either last year or this year because I have no more space to store it properly. I did plant about another acre in field corn this spring and I'll add whatever results I get to my store. Normally I plant a few acres in other grains (again just in case) but have not stored any because of lack of storage facilities (and more than anything else time enough to get 'er all done). Also getting stock right now would take more time away from other priorities (like my gardens and other food production).

My hesitation for obtaining large stock right now is that over the years, I've been gone (a lot) making a living and my fences and facilities have been neglected and need lots of work. I still travel a lot also and I am adjusting my lifestyle to a degree to change that.

Another big thing is that although I do believe very strongly that hard times are coming and much danger lies ahead, but I want to continue a 'normal' life as long as possible (most people wouldn't consider my life normal) While I do try to use due caution and discretion, I have no intention of living my life in a box waiting for the Apocalypse to happen next week. If it does happen next week, I'm pretty well prepared for it, just not completely satisfied and it takes lots of time to get to where I ultimately want to be.
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Old 06-27-2017, 09:11 AM
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For your harness I would suggest nylon. It lasts a long long time and doesn't require oil

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I was actually wondering if people were using nylon. I do know leather takes a lot of care and proper storage.

I have some nylon pack horse gear and suspected there was probably nylon harness but never checked it out. Thanks.
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:43 AM
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Suffolk is actually the one I think would fit my needs best. Big enough to do serious work and not the giant size of the clydesdale, percheron class.
Percheron, and Clydesdale are usually the hotter breeds. Shires and Belgium are supposed to be the calmer ones. But you may find a bronco in any breed. If at all possible spend some time with the horses your looking to buy. Maybe even take them home for a week.
There are lots of horse traders out there who will ace a team to make them look puppy dog gentle. But in about two hours the ace wears off...... Not a good thing.
And don't buy a goofy mare with intentions of raising a Colt or two. If the mares nuts good chance she will pass that on to her offspring.
Not all horses like to pull a plow. I've had some pretty broke teams become very untrained when asked to walk in a furrow the first time.
But the is something very calming about farming with draft animals. No loud noisy machinery, no wondering if it's gonna start. When not using you can turn them out in the pasture.
Many farmers and ranchers will tell you. "We got rid of the big horse and got tractors, so we could have more time with family and friends. But we all got tractors with lights on then. Now we work 24 hours a day. No more picnics, softball games, no more taking Sunday off so the horses can rest".

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Old 06-28-2017, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mtnairkin View Post
I don't know about them. I'll look it up.
I have a good friend in halfway Oregon that raises some in-between Belgium horses not quite Minature and not quite full size. And they are all very gentle quiet horses. If your starting out I would say give him a call. If interested pm me and I'll give you his name and number

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Old 06-28-2017, 12:48 AM
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I think if I were gonna try oxen I would go with Dexter's or a Dexter cross. At least for the first team or two. They are smaller and easier to handle

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They make a pretty good milk cow too.. all I need now is a peach tree
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:28 AM
mtnairkin mtnairkin is offline
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Percheron, and Clydesdale are usually the hotter breeds. Shires and Belgium are supposed to be the calmer ones. But you may find a bronco in any breed. If at all possible spend some time with the horses your looking to buy. Maybe even take them home for a week.
There are lots of horse traders out there who will ace a team to make them look puppy dog gentle. But in about two hours the ace wears off...... Not a good thing.
And don't buy a goofy mare with intentions of raising a Colt or two. If the mares nuts good chance she will pass that on to her offspring.
Not all horses like to pull a plow. I've had some pretty broke teams become very untrained when asked to walk in a furrow the first time.
But the is something very calming about farming with draft animals. No loud noisy machinery, no wondering if it's gonna start. When not using you can turn them out in the pasture.
Many farmers and ranchers will tell you. "We got rid of the big horse and got tractors, so we could have more time with family and friends. But we all got tractors with lights on then. Now we work 24 hours a day. No more picnics, softball games, no more taking Sunday off so the horses can rest".

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The Shire is another I've been interested in.

Tell me what you mean by 'aceing' a team?

I am not going into this blindly or hurriedly. Getting lots of advice about the learning curve on horses. I don't consider myself an experienced horseman but I'm not a rank beginner either.

Tractors are great but they too have problems. There is a lot of down time and repair time involved and something always seems to be not working quite right. At the present time I barely got through with my spring work with my tractor. It was dying out when under a load. I changed the fuel filters and that seemed to help for a few hours (the old ones were clean) but still had problems with no power. Bleeding the injector lines, they seemed to have not near enough volume or pressure. I think I need a new pump. The local repair guy is swamped, everyone is making hay and breaking down. Luckily I did bumble through my plowing and planting so I don't need the tractor badly but it'll be about two weeks before I can get him to check out the pump.

All that has nothing to do with my quest for animal power. Being a survivalist I'm looking for ways to keep operating when the supply lines shut down. Using horses is not an entirely simple solution but everything else being equal, it is more long term sustainable than the alternative. Also I do like the idea of the peace and quiet and naturalness of farming with animals.
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:05 AM
Major Mjolnir Major Mjolnir is offline
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Aceing a team is giving them a light dose of tranquilizer to make them appear calmer.
"The standard pharmaceutical preparation, acepromazine maleate, is used in veterinary medicine in dogs, and cats. It is used widely in horses as a pre-anesthetic sedative and has been shown to reduce anesthesia related death." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acepromazine
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:35 AM
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I have been following along and enjoying this conversation, but I couldn’t help but notice the irony in the difference between the old technology being discussed and the new technology being used to discuss it with in some posts:

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I have an interest in old technology too, so that’s why I’m enjoying this thread so much. As a sewing machine user, I’m geared up to use people-power if the grid fails me, including treadle and handcrank sewing machines and a supply of adequate threads to sew either leather or woven tack, should I be called upon to make any repairs. I’m using that old technology to sew with today, even though the grid is readily available to me. I’m kind of beginning to dislike the sound of an electric motor-powered sewing machine on the rare occasions that I use one.

I’ve not farmed with animals, but I’ve done a little farming with tractors (hired hand). I can relate to the peacefulness of farming without a motor running, but would really notice the difference between farming with an air-conditioned 8-wheeler making a 32-foot swath versus following along on foot behind a team.

CD in Oklahoma

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Old 06-28-2017, 11:41 AM
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Beat me to it.
If your ever at a horse sale and you notice a horse waking around with his pecker out and maybe a lot slobber on his mouth. That's a good sign he's been aced.
Mares can be harder to notice ace signs.

Shires are pretty horses a lot people like them for the fact they have a little more whether then some other draft horse. Makes them easier to ride.
There used to be an outfit outside of Joseph Oregon that raised only black Clydesdale they were pretty neat looking. But I don't know if they are still around

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Old 06-28-2017, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnairkin View Post
The Shire is another I've been interested in.

Tell me what you mean by 'aceing' a team?

I am not going into this blindly or hurriedly. Getting lots of advice about the learning curve on horses. I don't consider myself an experienced horseman but I'm not a rank beginner either.

Tractors are great but they too have problems. There is a lot of down time and repair time involved and something always seems to be not working quite right. At the present time I barely got through with my spring work with my tractor. It was dying out when under a load. I changed the fuel filters and that seemed to help for a few hours (the old ones were clean) but still had problems with no power. Bleeding the injector lines, they seemed to have not near enough volume or pressure. I think I need a new pump. The local repair guy is swamped, everyone is making hay and breaking down. Luckily I did bumble through my plowing and planting so I don't need the tractor badly but it'll be about two weeks before I can get him to check out the pump.

All that has nothing to do with my quest for animal power. Being a survivalist I'm looking for ways to keep operating when the supply lines shut down. Using horses is not an entirely simple solution but everything else being equal, it is more long term sustainable than the alternative. Also I do like the idea of the peace and quiet and naturalness of farming with animals.
Sounds like injectors is bad

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Old 06-28-2017, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Olpoop View Post
I have been following along and enjoying this conversation, but I couldnít help but notice the irony in the difference between the old technology being discussed and the new technology being used to discuss it with in some posts:

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I have an interest in old technology too, so thatís why Iím enjoying this thread so much. As a sewing machine user, Iím geared up to use people-power if the grid fails me, including treadle and handcrank sewing machines and a supply of adequate threads to sew either leather or woven tack, should I be called upon to make any repairs. Iím using that old technology to sew with today, even though the grid is readily available to me. Iím kind of beginning to dislike the sound of an electric motor-powered sewing machine on the rare occasions that I use one.

Iíve not farmed with animals, but Iíve done a little farming with tractors (hired hand). I can relate to the peacefulness of farming without a motor running, but would really notice the difference between farming with an air-conditioned 8-wheeler making a 32-foot swath versus following along on foot behind a team.

CD in Oklahoma

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Following on foot can be very tough, hence a fore cart is very nice. They can be bought or built fairly easy. Or equipment with a seat. And now days they have combined technology and have new styles of horse power equipment. One I've been very interested in is a ground driven baler

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Old 06-28-2017, 01:58 PM
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I like the Norwegian Fjord size, they can be fun to ride , drive and don't forget mares can produce milk and if you are in a survival situation they look meaty. I have danish friends who bred New Forest Ponies that were lovely, heavy sturdy short bone big bodied but not as bulky as the Fjord and they bred them and sold off foals and milked the mares . I would not be trying to rationalize keeping them just for occassional draft work but if you had grandkids who rode, milked , sold foals or got meat and utility from them it could justify the resources they take to keep ?
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:58 PM
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....One I've been very interested in is a ground driven baler
I’ve seen a video of a horse-drawn baler, but the old baler was hooked to a dolly to hold the tongue up and powered by a Continental engine just as it would be if pulled by a tractor. I guess I’ve not ever seen a ground-driven baler.

My Dad used horse-drawn haying equipment on the ranch in Colorado until sometime in the late 40s or early 50s. I remember playing like a rancher on the two horse-drawn sickles and the rake parked out of service along the fence between the tack building and the corral as a kid. Dad still had his team, but I don’t think that he used them for anything except pulling the sled to feed cattle in the winter. The hay stacks were out in the meadow and I got to ride along while he fed. I still remember how big those (Belgian probably) horse’s feet looked to me. I figured that I would lose a whole foot if either one of them ever stepped on me. That must have helped keep me out of the way, because I don’t ever remember getting stepped on and I still have both of my feet. I wish that I could remember that team’s names....

I’m not sure when he got his first tractor, but at one time he had either a Ford 8N or a 9N that I drove pulling the slip while he bucked hay bales. I wasn’t very old. My legs weren’t long enough to reach the clutch and the brakes at the same time, so I had to hit the clutch with my left foot, throw it into neutral, let out the clutch, and then hit one of the brakes on the other side with the other foot. The hay fields weren’t very flat, so if I wasn’t going downhill where the slip would stop me, I had to use a brake if I stopped. If I had to stop going up a steep incline, after getting it out of gear, I had to hustle both legs over the gearbox to use both feet to stand on the two brake levers (I wasn't very heavy either). Seems like Dad would operate the clutch and gearshift by hand while walking beside the tractor while I eased off of the brakes to get me going again.

CD in Oklahoma
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:59 PM
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If your looking for colts head to Canada. The estrogen farms sell lots of draft cross horses. Most of the colts turn out pretty good

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Old 06-28-2017, 03:05 PM
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Iíve seen a video of a horse-drawn baler, but the old baler was hooked to a dolly to hold the tongue up and powered by a Continental engine just as it would be if pulled by a tractor. I guess Iíve not ever seen a ground-driven baler.

My Dad used horse-drawn haying equipment on the ranch in Colorado until sometime in the late 40s or early 50s. I remember playing like a rancher on the two horse-drawn sickles and the rake parked out of service along the fence between the tack building and the corral as a kid. Dad still had his team, but I donít think that he used them for anything except pulling the sled to feed cattle in the winter. The hay stacks were out in the meadow and I got to ride along while he fed. I still remember how big those (Belgian probably) horseís feet looked to me. I figured that I would lose a whole foot if either one of them ever stepped on me. That must have helped keep me out of the way, because I donít ever remember getting stepped on and I still have both of my feet. I wish that I could remember that teamís names....

Iím not sure when he got his first tractor, but at one time he had either a Ford 8N or a 9N that I drove pulling the slip while he bucked hay bales. I wasnít very old. My legs werenít long enough to reach the clutch and the brakes at the same time, so I had to hit the clutch with my left foot, throw it into neutral, let out the clutch, and then hit one of the brakes on the other side with the other foot. The hay fields werenít very flat, so if I wasnít going downhill where the slip would stop me, I had to use a brake if I stopped. If I had to stop going up a steep incline, after getting it out of gear, I had to hustle both legs over the gearbox to use both feet on the two brake levers. Seems like Dad would operate the clutch and gearshift by hand while walking beside the tractor while I eased off of the brakes to get me going again.

CD in Oklahoma
What your explaining is a motorized fore cart. Some have electric motors, some have fuel powered motors, and some have ground driven hydraulic pumps, and some are just a cart. All are very handy. Some of the hydraulic ones are set up with a 3 point hitch. So running equipment built for a tractor is possible

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Old 06-29-2017, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Olpoop View Post
I’ve seen a video of a horse-drawn baler, but the old baler was hooked to a dolly to hold the tongue up and powered by a Continental engine just as it would be if pulled by a tractor. I guess I’ve not ever seen a ground-driven baler.

My Dad used horse-drawn haying equipment on the ranch in Colorado until sometime in the late 40s or early 50s. I remember playing like a rancher on the two horse-drawn sickles and the rake parked out of service along the fence between the tack building and the corral as a kid. Dad still had his team, but I don’t think that he used them for anything except pulling the sled to feed cattle in the winter. The hay stacks were out in the meadow and I got to ride along while he fed. I still remember how big those (Belgian probably) horse’s feet looked to me. I figured that I would lose a whole foot if either one of them ever stepped on me. That must have helped keep me out of the way, because I don’t ever remember getting stepped on and I still have both of my feet. I wish that I could remember that team’s names....

I’m not sure when he got his first tractor, but at one time he had either a Ford 8N or a 9N that I drove pulling the slip while he bucked hay bales. I wasn’t very old. My legs weren’t long enough to reach the clutch and the brakes at the same time, so I had to hit the clutch with my left foot, throw it into neutral, let out the clutch, and then hit one of the brakes on the other side with the other foot. The hay fields weren’t very flat, so if I wasn’t going downhill where the slip would stop me, I had to use a brake if I stopped. If I had to stop going up a steep incline, after getting it out of gear, I had to hustle both legs over the gearbox to use both feet to stand on the two brake levers (I wasn't very heavy either). Seems like Dad would operate the clutch and gearshift by hand while walking beside the tractor while I eased off of the brakes to get me going again.

CD in Oklahoma



I still have an older square baler that is independently driven (baling) by a Wisconsin gas engine. I don't use it anymore but it's still in good repair and it's one of the implements I look at thinking of how to convert to horse drawn. Much of the equipment I have, especially the ground driven stuff just would need a dolly to carry the tongue weight. Off the top of my head, plow, disc, baler, rake, corn planter, etc.

One interesting thing I see among the Amish is that they will use a lot of engine powered equipment (like my baler) being pulled by horses. A few years ago I saw a farmer using an engine powered sprayer (weed killer) pulled by his team. What got my attention was the smell of the herbicide and he was a long distance from the highway. I stopped and watched for awhile and kept wondering what he was doing to himself and the horses enveloped in herbicide mist.

Also just last year I watched several men on a horse drawn ground driven corn shucker. The horses were going along at a good clip and a couple of men were kept busy as the (big) contraption was turning out shocks of corn. Gears turning, levers slapping, knives slicing, etc. I was pretty impressed with the technology involved, probably dated close to 100 years old. I would have liked to get a video of the operation but I know some Amish do not like to have their pictures taken and they were moving way too fast for me to ask.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:40 AM
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I have been following along and enjoying this conversation, but I couldnít help but notice the irony in the difference between the old technology being discussed and the new technology being used to discuss it with in some posts:



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I have an interest in old technology too, so thatís why Iím enjoying this thread so much. As a sewing machine user, Iím geared up to use people-power if the grid fails me, including treadle and handcrank sewing machines and a supply of adequate threads to sew either leather or woven tack, should I be called upon to make any repairs. Iím using that old technology to sew with today, even though the grid is readily available to me. Iím kind of beginning to dislike the sound of an electric motor-powered sewing machine on the rare occasions that I use one.



Iíve not farmed with animals, but Iíve done a little farming with tractors (hired hand). I can relate to the peacefulness of farming without a motor running, but would really notice the difference between farming with an air-conditioned 8-wheeler making a 32-foot swath versus following along on foot behind a team.



CD in Oklahoma



Sent from my out-of-date Compaq tower using Windows 7


As for using an iPhone or an XT1650 most of us are not anti-tech. We drive cars and farm with tractors. But, we foresee certain SHTF to EOTWAWKI scenarios where much of this technology will not work or where the fuel for it will not be available.


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