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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Collar Hames and Harness Fitting
Collar Hames and Harness Fitting

Fig. 1 — Henry Marcks pair.

On these next pages we have reprinted a special surprise. With the exception of this writing we are reprinting the entire original, uncut – unedited, content of the 1944 leaflet (no. 276) as produced by the Horse and Mule Association of America. The original of this material was loaned to Small Farmer’s Journal by the kind, generous, and trusting Judson Schrick of Decorah, Iowa.

In collecting this sort of material for 20 years I thought I had come across all of the published leaflets of the Horse and Mule Assoc. I was very surprised to find, during my visit to Schrick’s Iowa farm (see article this issue), that there is quite a lot of material yet to uncover.

You may recall in previous issues of SFJ reading something about a man named Wayne Dinsmore who served as the most active and vocal secretary of the Horse and Mule Assoc. in those difficult decades of the 30’s and 40’s. Dinsmore was an eloquent and persistent advocate for true horsepower at a time when an enormous amount of advertising money was feeding the headlong, crazy rush to the tractor. Dinsmore would have enjoyed viewing the resurgence of the draft horse in the 70’s but I wonder what he would think of how we are conducting business now that prices are soft. I’m sure he would have said that NOW is the time to get out there and let people know! Instead of sitting back and wondering if it will ever get ‘good’ again. Promotion and education are critically important if the draft horse industry is to stabilize.

Some updating notes on the text: The reference to the shortage of leather and the prevalence of fabric collars was due to the effect of the war on supplies. Most of us would be hard pressed to find a harness shop with the time to wash and oil harness for us. And many references in this text take for granted that the reader will be a farmer with extensive horse experience. The statement that collar sizes in Dixie will be smaller than up north will be disputed I’m sure. For the most part, the entire text of this excellent leaflet needs no alteration.

Many thanks to Judson Schrick for bringing this leaflet to our attention and letting us borrow it. LRM

Collars, Hames and Harness Fitting

Leaflet No. 276
HORSE AND MULE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC.
(Formerly Horse Association of America)
Wayne Dinsmore, Secretary

Farmers who are good horsemen know everything that is presented here: yet even they will welcome this leaflet because it will refresh their memories and make easier their task when they have to show hired men or boys how to adjust equipment properly. Good horsemen know from long experience that sore necks or sore shoulders on work stock are due to ignorance or carelessness of men in charge, and are inexcusable.

While it is possible to work animals with sore necks or sore shoulders, it is not humane, and the majority of owners will rest affected animals temporarily. This costs money in loss of time and delay in planting, tilling or harvesting crops, and is wholly unnecessary.

Collar Hames and Harness Fitting

Fig. 6 — Scars from collar sores.

In addition, scars often follow which reduce the price when an animal is sold. The mule shown in figure 6 sold for $25.00 less than it otherwise would have brought because of the shoulder scars and the possibility that trouble might start afresh when the animal was put to heavy work.

Keeping the necks and shoulders of work stock in perfect condition is therefore an economic question of practical importance, for there are between 11 and 12 million animals that will be at work in harness in 1944.

Knowledge of the causes of sore necks and shoulders, and avoidance of such causes, will keep work stock free from such troubles. Good farmers know this and are watchful to see that sores do not start.

Collar Hames and Harness Fitting

Fig. 2 — L.J. Smith pair.

The pairs shown in figures 2 and 3, and the pair on the cover page, are present joint holders of the world’s record in pulling contests for pairs weighing 3,000 pounds and over. The photographs were taken at Centerville, Michigan, September 24, 1943, when the three pairs tied for a new world’s record. They exerted a tractive pull of 4100 pounds, equivalent to pulling 10 plows cutting furrows 14 inches wide and 6 inches deep, through ordinary corn belt black loam soil, or equivalent to starting, for 15 or 20 consecutive times, a load of 53,246 pounds on a wagon over granite block pavement.

Collar Hames and Harness Fitting

Fig. 3 — Clarence Harter pair.

The three pictures are presented here because they show excellent fit of collars, hames and harness, under maximum strain. Notice that although the horses are exerting their utmost efforts, the throats of the collars almost, but do not quite, touch the throats of the horses, hence there is no choking. Hames fit snugly into the seams of the collars for their entire length. The belly bands are strong, and buckled at such length as to keep the tugs pulling at right angles to the shoulders, from collars to belly band. Were it not for such proper adjustment of belly bands, the tugs, which are seen to rise slightly from belly band to singletree as the horses pull, would draw the collars upward against the throat and choke the horses. All three pairs have extra hame straps holding hames together across the top. The collars have been fitted closely to sides of neck by collar pads, which also spread the load over a larger bearing surface on the shoulders. On cover, Henry Marcks pair.

Adjust Individually

To avoid sore necks or shoulders, each work animal should have an individual collar, kept exclusively for that animal. This is as important to work animals as individually fitted shoes are to a marching soldier.

Fitting a collar to a new work animal, whether it is purchased or raised, should be done by testing with different size collars till one is found that fits. If it is not practical to take the animal to the harness shop, an approximate preliminary fit can be obtained by testing with collars that belong to other animals, till one is found that seems about right, then measuring for length as shown in figure 4.

Collar Hames and Harness Fitting

Fig. 4 — Collar parts: how to measure.

There are three types of collars: Regular, half sweeney and full sweeney. The first will fit long, flat, slender necks; the second fits the neck that is a bit heavier, slightly thick at the top; the third is intended for a stud like neck, very thick near the top.

Collar sizes designate their length: thus a size 18 measures 18 inches from top to bottom just inside rim, when collar is buckled — size 21 would measure 21 inches — see Fig. 4 for method of measuring. Small animals take size 16 or smaller, very large draft horses size 24 or larger. The majority of collars sold north of the 40th degree of latitude (see any map of the United States) are sizes 20, 21, 22 and 23: south of that they usually are smaller, sizes 17 and 18 predominating in the main cotton raising states.

There are 2 kinds of collars: (a) those made of all leather; (b) other than all leather. The latter frequently have had a ticking (a cotton fabric) face, and split leather back and rims. With the present great shortage of leather, many collars will have duck for backs and collar webbing for rims. These are cotton fabrics of heavier, stronger weave.

Collars other than all leather are serviceable, lasting 3 or 4 years and sell at enough lower prices to justify their use when all leather collars cannot be obtained.

In fitting a collar, it should be put on and so buckled that the sides of the collar are snug enough against the neck to make it feasible to pass the fingers only, held flat, between the rim of the collar and the sides of the neck, when the collar is pressed or drawn strongly back against the shoulders. See Fig. 9 which shows a collar that is too wide; the whole hand goes in, instead of fingers only.

While collar is so pressed back, length should be such that the flat hand can be turned up as shown in Fig. 10. Thus turned, the hand crowds against the throat. If measured, a ruler will show about 2 inches free space between throat of horse and collar, when collar is drawn strongly back against shoulders by pull on tugs — all a man can pull — or by causing the horse to step forward against a load till collars are firmly pressed against shoulders.

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Spotlight On: Crops & Soil

Purslane, Portahoopies and Plow Planted Peas

Purslane, Portahoopies and Plow Planted Peas

For those not familiar with this tasty, nutritious weed, purslane can be a real challenge to manage in vegetable crops for a number of reasons. The seeds of this weed remain viable for many years in the garden, and generally do not germinate until hot weather — that is, after many of the market garden crops have already been planted. To make matters worse, this succulent plant often reroots after cultivation. Purslane also grows so close to the ground that it is impossible to control by mowing.

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Bed Gardening

by:
from issue:

Raised beds may not be right for everyone, and our way is not the only way. I have seen raised beds made from rows of 5’ diameter kiddy pools, and heard of a fellow who collected junk refrigerators from the dump and lined them up on their backs into a rainbow of colored enameled steel raised beds. Even rows of five-gallon pails filled with plants count as raised beds in my estimation. Do it any way you care to, but do it if it’s right for you.

Soil, Vegetation, and Acidity

From Dusty Shelves: Audels Gardeners and Growers Guide teaches us about soil acidity.

Starting Seeds

From Dusty Shelves: A WWII era article from Farming For Security

Henpecked Compost and U-Mix Potting Soil

We have hesitated to go public with our potting mix, not because the formula is top secret, but because our greenhouse experience is limited in years and scale. Nevertheless, we would like to offer what we have learned in hopes of showing that something as seemingly insignificant as putting together a potting mix can be integrated into a systems approach to farming.

Prairie Grass A Jewel Among Kernels

Prairie Grass: A Jewel Among Kernels

by:
from issue:

Years ago, my brother advised against plowing the patch of prairie on the back forty of our Hubbard, Iowa farm. “Some day,” he predicted, “that prairie will be as valuable as the rest of the 40 acres. We know how to grow corn; but that prairie was seeded by the last glacier.” Left untilled by generations of my family, the troublesome treasure has now become a jewel among a cluster of conventional crops on the farm.

Onion Culture

Onion Culture

The essential requirements of a soil upon which to grow onions profitably are a high state of fertility, good mechanical condition, properties – that is, if it contains sufficient sand and humus to be easily worked, is retentive of moisture and fertilizers, and is capable of drainage – all other requirements can be met.

An Introduction To Farm Woodlands

The farm woodland is that portion of the farm which either never was cleared for tillage or pasture, or was later given back to woods growth. Thus it occupies land that never was considered suitable, or later proved unsuitable, for farm enterprises.

How to Grow an Acre of Potatoes

How to Grow an Acre of Potatoes

by:
from issue:

Heretofore potato production in this country has been conducted along extensive rather than intensive lines. In other words, we have been satisfied to plant twice as many acres as should have been necessary to produce a sufficient quantity of potatoes for our food requirements. Present economic conditions compel the grower to consider more seriously the desirability of reducing the cost of production by increasing the yield per acre.

Cultivating Questions Winterkilled Cover Crops for a Mild Climate

Cultivating Questions: Winterkilled Cover Crops For A Mild Climate Part 1

Our mild climate makes it too easy to overwinter cover crops. Then the typically wet springs (and, on our farm, wet soils) let the cover put on loads of topgrowth before getting on the soil. Buckwheat is the only crop that I can be certain will winterkill. Field peas, oats, annual rye and crimson clover have all overwintered here. Any suggestions?

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

This is the account of how one farm put more horse power into the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of its potato crop. Ever since we began farming on our own in 1994 one of our principle aims has been the conversion of our farm operation to live horse power wherever feasible. This has meant replacing mechanized tools such as tractors and rototillers and figuring out how to reduce human labor as we expanded upon the labor capacity of our work horses.

Bamboo A Multipurpose Agroforestry Crop

Bamboo: A Multipurpose Agroforestry Crop

by:
from issue:

The bamboos are gaining increased attention as an alternative crop with multiple uses and benefits: 1) domestic use around the farm (e.g., vegetable stakes, trellis poles, shade laths); 2) commercial production for use in construction, food, and the arts (e.g., concrete reinforcement, fishing poles, furniture, crafts, edible bamboo shoots, musical instruments); and 3) ornamental, landscape, and conservation uses (e.g., specimen plants, screens, hedges, riparian buffer zone).

What We've Learned From Compost

What We’ve Learned From Compost

by:
from issue:

Our compost piles will age for at least a year before being added to the garden. We have learned that the slow aging is more beneficial to the decomposition process as well as not losing nearly as much nitrogen to off-gassing as happens with the hot and fast methods. Another benefit is the decomposition is much more thorough, destroying weed seeds, pathogens and any unwanted chemicals much better in a slower composting setup.

Asparagus in Holland

Asparagus in Holland

by:
from issue:

The asparagus culture in Holland is for the majority white asparagus, grown in ridges. This piece of land used to be the headland of the field. The soil was therefore compact, and a big tractor came with a spader, loosening the soil. After that I used the horse for the lighter harrowing and scuffle work to prevent soil compaction. This land lies high for Dutch standards and has a low ground water level, that is why asparagus can grow there, which can root 3 foot deep over the years.

Cultivating Questions: Alternative Tillage & Inter-Seeding Techniques

Our intention is not to advocate the oddball living mulches we use with this single row inter-seeding system, but just to show how it is possible to utilize the between-row areas to improve insect habitat, reduce erosion, conserve moisture, fix some nitrogen, and grow a good bit of extra organic matter. If nothing else, experimenting with these alternative practices continues to keep farming exciting as we begin our twentieth season of bio-extensive market gardening.

Cane Grinding

Cane Grinding: An Age-Old Georgia Tradition

by:
from issue:

Most sugar cane is processed in refineries to give us molasses, brown sugar, and various kinds of white sugar. However, some South Georgia farms that raise sugar cane still process it the old way to produce the special tasting sweetener for their own food. One such farm is the Rocking R Ranch in Kibbee, Georgia. It is owned by Charles and Patricia Roberts and their sons. The process they use has not changed in the past 100 years. This is how it is done.

Barnyard Manure

Barnyard Manure

by:
from issue:

The amount of manure produced must be considered in planning a cropping system for a farm. If one wishes to manure one-fifth of the land every year with 10 tons per acre, there would have to be provided two tons per year for each acre of the farm. This would require about one cow or horse, or equivalent, for each six acres of land.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT