by Ken Laing
- They eat oats, hay and pasture — all crops that can be grown on your
own farm and are important components of a good crop rotation.
- They give you back most of their feed in the form of easily composted
manure to feed your crops. Have you ever found a use for used diesel exhaust?
- They produce baby tractors to replace momma tractors and extras to sell.
- When you buy a horse you are supporting another farmer. When you buy a
tractor you are supporting a transnational corporation.
- It is not easy to buy a horse on credit, so you avoid interest payments.
When the UN keeps track of starving bankers instead of starving farmers we will
have our priorities right.
- Horses are largely self repairing. Have you ever tried to give your tractor
6 weeks off to get over a broken connecting rod?
- Horses are modular power units. One horse can scuffle the garden, but when
you have a heavier job you can hook 2, 3, 4 or more together.
- Horse machinery is often simple and easy to repair.
- Horses can usually get on the land a few days earlier and with less
compaction than tractors.
- You have to rest your horses in the field, giving you time to think and
dream and make notes and enjoy your farm and the nature around you.
- Horses are pleasant to work with. They are quiet, intelligent, sensitive,
- Working with a rare breed helps insure the survival of a breed that has
already served humans for centuries, as well as producing more income that a
Horses do require a certain level of care year around, as well as requiring
a higher level of management to work with compared to tractors. As is true of
organic farming in general, the labor required for a horse-powered farm is
somewhat greater than for a tractor-powered farm of the same size, a factor that
can be offset to some extent by using larger hitches of horses.
offered this information in his presentation at a Guelph
[Ontario] Organic Conference workshop on using draft horses for farming. He owns Orchard HIll Farm and is a member of the Good Farming Apprenticeship Network,
workshops for people interested in learning to work with draft horses.