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10 months ago

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After a 6 month wait, I finally got my Pioneer Homesteader! I am one happy girl today! The soil finally dried out just enough I could play with it today. My goodness, the difference between it and the sulky plows I have used is NICE! It is so much more stable. It is even more comfortable than my forecart, though certainly they have different uses. The only bad part for me is that the lever to raise and lower the attachment requires an arm about 3 inches longer than mine, but I’ll just have to adjust. Our horses are in between the pole adjustments that come standard, so we are going to make a few tweaks to it to make it work better for our farm and horses. All in all, though, I am thrilled with it!

So after churning up some top sod today, I have a few questions. First, my horses are on the larger end intended for the Homesteader. As a result, if the lines are adjusted such that they walk and face perfectly straight, their bellies almost touch over the pole, and I can’t see where I am going to find my rows. The other issue is that it seems easier for one or the other horse to mistakenly drift and step on my row center while walking straight. Is it acceptable to adjust the lines such that their heads will ever-so-slightly flare outward, to cause the horses to open up a bit?

Secondly, these horses have never done any type of plowing, furrow walking, or really anything requiring such precise, straight lines. One walks like a drunken sailor if given half a chance. I have been making conscious effort over the last couple of months to work on tighter, slower, and straighter in all we do, We spent several hours practicing straight lines in the rows today. Overall, they did OK, but one issue is that they walk faster than I’d like. They aren’t rushing, bit contact is nice and steady, but they just walk along as if going down the street. Even with a heavier pull, they tend to walk a bit faster instead of leaning in and pulling harder. What is the best way to teach the slow, short step, steady work without being in their mouth constantly?

Here is a brief video to give you a better idea. In this clip, I am using the potato plow to get a feel for how it works before having actual potatoes in the ground.

As always, thanks for your thoughts and advice! I don’t think we would be nearly as far along as we are without this resource!

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-04-06 09:06:48 (CST)

Congratulations, Danielle. You and your horses look great with the Homesteader.
I do not think that flaring the horses' heads to the outside with adjusted lines will make them open up at the bellies. They might even push them more to the inside. Only a longer double-tree and neckyoke will accomplish that.
It takes a while before horses learn to walk in exact straight lines, but since they by nature like to follow paths (such as a furrow) they eventually will. Their speed is a result of the resistance they feel and they want to overcome it by force. Most horses will slow down when worked longer or /and more often in the field as they will realize that they just overexert themselves, but not all will understand that. Their anxiety to get the work done is sometimes in the way towards that goal. That's why in Europe breeds were developed that are 'walkers', whereas in America with its larger fields and greater distances to overcome even these breeds were generally pushed towards faster gaits. Of course, like mentioned in the other thread, there are always individual differences, but they have to be considered on the background of the direction the breed took.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2018-04-06 23:25:57 (CST)

I wish I could adjust the yoke and doubletrees, but that is one flaw of the Homesteader....they are set and cannot be adjusted. As far as the walking, I have hope—and a plan for twice as many seedlings as I probably need so we can spare a few to trampling or cultivating

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2018-04-08 09:13:39 (CST)

You don't adjust the neckyoke and double trees, you replace them with ones that are different lengths. I have sets that are 18" neckyokes and others that are 48" long.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2018-04-08 20:22:23 (CST)

Unfortunately, only about half my response got posted. Guess the rest got lost to cyberspace. Yes, I know you replace the yoke and doubletree. We swap things based on need or horse size with our other equipment. The Homesteader is different. We have to fabricate a special bar that serves as the evener on the Homesteader, to which two other bars connect and go downward, to which two single trees connect. No easy feat since we don’t have a welder. Then, I would have get a different yoke for the pole, as none of mine are designed for permanent attachment bolt (like many sulky plows). Hope that makes more sense.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2018-04-09 21:17:13 (CST)

Might try putting fence post or small logs end to end every so often and work them like a row. If you’re drunk acting Horse stumbles on the poles a few times he will learn to pay attention.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2018-04-10 09:26:16 (CST)

Almost all of my neck yokes and double trees are bolted on, slowly getting them changed. I like them so they can't come off. I know how it is when part or all of your post don't get posted it is still out there somewhere lost in space. I would be lost without a welder, cutting torch and a big pile of unused iron of different sizes and lengths.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2018-04-11 13:56:53 (CST)

One of the drawbacks with the Homesteader is, it seems to be better scaled for mid to small size teams and while the yoke is bolt-on, the doubletree is integrated and can't be swapped out. Pioneer told me this scale was deliberate so that it'll work in narrow rows but it can make for some cramped animals up front.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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