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Pics 2nd Post - Spring Tooth Harrow - IT WORKS!!

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paintponylvr

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While cleaning out/up our barn, between flooding w/ rain water washing thru it, I sent the parts for the spring tooth harrow (1 - 3' section with 8 "teeth", 1 3' wide crumbler, the harrow cart that sits over and has the wheels/seat behind the harrow w/ the horses in front) over to Vicki's to have her put it together. The "guys" (her hubby, his brother and brother's step son) had it together in less than an hour and we sat on it a couple of times and "futzed" - but didn't use it...

Well, yesterday was a relatively clear and warm day. While I was once again working on our place - getting more work and maintenance done, getting a load of hay delivered and placed in various pastures, replacing the battery in a "dead car" and getting it running (I DID THAT TOO!! YAY!) so that I can get it re-inspected and SOLD since I can't drive it w/o experiencing serious back pain and stiffness - VICKI was able to hook her pair and use the spring tooth harrow.

She didn't like the idea of the "unstable" harrow cart (and I don't blame her - I may not be able to use it either - we'll see in the future. Pioneer doesn't have the harrow cart in their 2014 catalog - not sure if they are going to still build them or not). So she hitched her pair to the fore cart and then hooked the harrow to the fore cart. The teeth were set so that first they just touched the ground and then two notches lower - to dig in. Part of the ground she did was somewhat wet, part was drained enough to be dry w/ some in between the two "extremes". The area she did at first was about the size of a small arena - maybe 80' by 180' or so... decent sized. It's on a hill and on one section ("short" side) they are going "up" in a decent grade and on the other short side they are going "down" - though not as steep as the "up" section. Hard to explain and also somewhat hard to see int he pics her granddaughter took. When we talked about it, before I saw the pictures, she said that her pair were running while pulling it (?!).

We went over the ground she used it on - pretty cool - as the teeth tear up the ground w/o actually being a plow and it's set somewhat shallow so that it's 1- easier for the ponies to pull & 2 - not as deep as a plow. If we get another "gully washer" type rain right now, though, Vicki will lose about 1" of top soil on that hill side! The crumbler attachment broke up the clods of dirt and helped in leveling the areas she used it. The combo also pretty much leveled out an eroded trench area that had popped up during the last "gully washer" rain. It was AWESOME. I can't wait to bring it home and use it at my place. It will stay at Vicki's until she has a chance to use it over all of her pasture areas (fewer in number than mine by much larger areas).

As to her ponies - they haven't been worked much lately. They are fat and hyper. Eclipse was fussing - trying to hustle and out pull Kreature. Think that's why vicki "let them go" - and gallop up the incline portion not once but several times. Between her fussing and the extra work of galloping while pulling the equipment, she got tired pretty quick and then just "quit". I wasn't there and don't know if it's because she was tired/getting sore or if her muscles literally "gave out" (which does happen in big draft horses, wouldn't surprise me to see in the ponies). They did do quite a bit of work in a good sized area and then also two "rings" around another paddock. At first, Vicki didn't think it was a lot of work - but I stated that the ponies - not used to working and fat/soft - pulled her forecart, her AND the 300+ lb harrow/crumbler attachment. I thought it was pretty darned good...

Vicki questioned me as to what to do next and my only thing is we just haven't worked any of our critters this year like we have in the past - weather, scheduling of work/appointments and health have all had a serious play in this winters' lack of working with any of our ponies (her 2 and my 20+). I suggested working them separately and ground driving Eclipse with & w/o draw reins to re-train her to respond better. When hooked again as a pair, use a "buck back" strap on her and I REALLY think that it would help. Vicki just doesn't like the idea of a "buck back" strap. I shrugged - I don't know what else to try at this point. Vicki does have a "bond" of sorts with her ponies that I don't have - I find working with Eclipse can be scary - it's nothing like working with mine. The response of her mouth is "heavy" and she "pulls" - along with throwing her head and constantly wanting to "go" with little to no check or relaxation in her movement. Beautiful, but... in some ways, I guess I've over-trained mine, but I do like slow(er) and in-control. The "feel" of my lines - even as 3 & 4 abreast is completely different than with Eclipse single or as a pair. And I do canter and gallop in harness - in the open and w/o expensive, heavy, farm equipment attached, LOL.

If anyone else has any ideas on what she should try - let me know and I'll pass it on. I think I hit the "high points" - conditioning, re-schooling or bringing back better responses and the use of temporary training aids that will allow the pony to train herself.

Will have pictures tonight or tomorrow night to add to this post...
 
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paintponylvr

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Here are pictures finally. The last picture the ponies are getting a break - it does show how the paddock looked after getting worked over. V icki and James will be keeping the spring tooth harrow for a little while, then I'll get it back and use it too. Then it will probably be stored for the rest of the year until next spring.









 
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poniesrule

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Looks awesome! I love reading all of your posts and the work you do with your ponies! I would love to be able to do something similar, maybe in the next few years
(also have to add, I LOVE the name 'Kreature')
 

paintponylvr

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When I purchased those ponies, for some reason I was into "K" names. I named the 3 weanlings - KoKo (LP KoKo Pagasus H), KeChi (LP Jewels Kechara H - never could use Kechara - so shortened to Kechi) and Kreature (LP Kreature Feature H). Think I did that due to sire/grand sires' names (on Kechi & Kreature - KoKo because I just kept the theme and it matched her color -
)

Thanx!! We've enjoyed using the ponies the way that we do. Working on incorporating them even more into doing the work around the property... It will come as we get more equipment and have more ponies trained to work. Can't believe I've been driving Bell and Bit for 4 years now... (well their first hitches single were in May 2010).
 
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Silver City Heritage Farmstead

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So Paula, what would be the SMALLEST area you could use this setup in? Also, you told me about the original seat wanting to "buck" the driver off. (Shaking, nail biting emoticon here!) Could you use it without a seat if driver is off to one or behind, and you had long enough lines? What is the maximum depth it can be set to?
 

Silver City Heritage Farmstead

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So Paula, what would be the SMALLEST area you could use this setup in? Also, you told me about the original seat wanting to "buck" the driver off. (Shaking, nail biting emoticon here!) Could you use it without a seat if driver is off to one or behind, and you had long enough lines? What is the maximum depth it can be set to? Can it be used at the maximum depth to begin? Or is it better (like I think) to make several passes, lowering the depth with each pass?

I could ask you tomorrow, but I thought more people could benefit from the answers here. ;-)
 

paintponylvr

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Hadn't thought about the smallest area. You have to take into account the length of the whole rig - ponies, forecart if using, harrow w/ crumbler. There is a distance between the harrow and whatever it will be attached to. I haven't measured any of these things - really hard to do by yourself! Well the harrow is 3' wide (36"). I don't know the length of it w/o measuring it. Haven't measured the chain either.

harrow3.jpg

With this pic, you can see how the harrow cart is attached to the harrow - the black drawbar that is then attached to the double tree or a multiple horse evener. As that black bar moves up and down - so does that seat. I will be trying it - but AFTER I ground drive the ponies with it. I may have my ponies pull with the forecart, but I don't really think so. My forecart and my weight are significantly more than Vicki's...



If you do more than a pair, next to each other, say a 3 or 4 abreast, that team is going to be farther away from the front of the equipment, too, making the whole unit longer (remember you have the 3 or 4 horse evener which then have either a double tree and single tree attached or 2 double trees attached). The ring that is over the hitch ball is what either the double tree or multiple horse evener will attach to. You don't have to walk behind it, but walking beside it can be tricky, too. I think with the line extenders I purchased, I have enough to lengthen my lines to walk behind this if I choose to. Again, something we haven't tried yet.

Now if ground driving, you can probably get into a smaller area (fence corner) - but you have to think about how you'll turn the harrow around. I know that I can't muscle it around by myself. It's definitely not the same as a walk behind plow, LOL. And with the ponies, I have a source to get a 5" or 7" plow vs the 12" or 14" walking plow that Pioneer markets (way too big for the ponies to pull). I don't really want to do walk behind plow,


As to depth - I don't know yet. I wasn't there when Vicki first used it and I haven't viewed it in operation yet. No up close pics taken showing the depth it was at. It will vary with how wet or dry or packed the area is that is being worked. A harrow is actually meant to be used after a plow has been across the field at least once and maybe even several times. The spring tooth harrow with the crumbler attachment is meant to break up dirt clods and prepare the seed bed. I felt it would work for our situations - breaking up manure piles and aerating the ground a bit w/o actually plowing. I think it will work well. I've been told that you don't really need both a spring tooth harrow and a disk - but w/ us having the spring tooth harrow and Vicki and James having the disk - I think we are well covered w/ what we want to do. This does prepare the ground enough for us to plant grass seed/hay. Eventually, I plan on doing that too, using the ponies!

And here is what it looked like when it got "clogged" with pinestraw (I don't have pine trees in the areas that I will use it). Vicki said it was pretty tuff cleaning that out.



Hey, next time you come up, we should measure the different things (length of traces from collars to chain ends, length of ponies as a unit, length of the chain on the harrow, the length of the actual harrow and also the length of both mine & Vicki's forecarts. Mine is going to be longer since it is larger).
 

Silver City Heritage Farmstead

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Wow...pine straw! Wonder if you could bale pine straw (since it's such a popular mulch here) after "raking" it this way? Also, looking at the catalog picture, does the driver being on that seat raise the front of the harrow or affect the angle of draft? Or does the pulling from the ponies negate that?

I'll drop the tape measure in my pocketbook the next time I head up. You know I'm still fascinated with smaller!
 

paintponylvr

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Poniesrule - it was bugging me that I couldn't remember "exactly" why we used those "K" names.... With my site "broken", I couldn't easily access the info and with both of the ponies sold it took awhile to come up with. "Kreature's" sire is Jewels Kreation by Kewpies Klassic Kreation of Arenosa. I wanted to keep the "K" theme.... Wow, how fast the memory fades!!

Julie -
- I know I never thought of that! Hmm, wonder how hard that pine straw would be to "clean" of manure? Because that's what's mixed back there! One of the reasons Vicki so wanted to try using the harrow to see if it would work. Wonder how hard it is and who bales the pine straw? I've never seen it baled (process) but sure saw a flat bed go thru Lillington the other day with a full load of LOTS of bales of that stuff. Probably headed to "market" for spring use as mulch (YUCK). To both of us, it's just a nuisance!

No need to bring the tape - I have several. Just need an extra hand or three.

Jeez - the ?s u think of... I don't know if it would actually raise the harrow. The harrow is heavier than I am, but I didn't stay in the seat long enough to find out. As my reaction was this -
, a noticeable gasp and a speeding heart, Vicki stood on the black bar as I scrambled down. Neither of us gave a thought to the "fulcrum effect"... We didn't have the ponies hooked - Vicki has no intention of hooking hers (and her lines aren't long enough to allow her to - something I didn't originally take into consideration) with the harrow cart. Sorry - candidate for America's Funniest Videos I don't want to be! The angle of draft changes somewhat when ponies are hooked - it doesn't stay as low as you'd think when critters are hooked. I would think it's lower using the ponies vs larger drafts but we shall see. Hmmm - experiments, experiments.

JULIE - YOU REALLY NEED TO GO TO SOME OF THE PLOW DAYS... I can't remember all the questions to ask when I'm also busy with 3 to 6 ponies when I go to them by myself. Vicki and James work well as a team themselves and James is very mechanically inclined. He's not as into the ponies, but he's into the equipment - so he's been able to talk to the other folk who use the draft horses and various equipment while Vicki handles the ponies. Then "small it down" somewhat to help with use with the ponies. W/O Vicki & James' help and support, I'd never had fully gotten into some of these ventures by myself. He has certainly helped me as far as equipment goes (my own hubby is no more mechanically inclined then I am) - helped with putting together, maintenance and repair in the last 4 years. It has truly been a win/win situation for all of us! James could also answer some of your questions himself once he heard them and thought about it. He's been there most of the time when Vicki has used various equipment at their place... They've also been to more of the Plow Days than I have - going to quite a few w/o the ponies - just watching, learning and asking questions themselves.

We were thinking about going to the Horse Progress Days this year. It's July 4th weekend (my family would LOVE that - NOT) in OH. It moves from State to State... but is always over the 4th of July (love how the Amish use various holidays as their big get togethers! Funny how that works out). WOW - just checked the website and didn't realize it was going to be in MT Hope. I thought it was going to be further north and west... ERRR, would probably need to book a hotel before my Bday to hold a room. My favorite hotel is a hop, skip and jump away from Mt Hope. Wonder if could convince my family that "THAT TRIP" is what I want for my Bday and they all chip in to the funds this time... Horse Progress Days Splitting room and gas costs is very doable!! AND I don't get lost getting there,
:rofl
 

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