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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

Multiple Hitching with One Set of Lines

Multiple Hitching with One Set of Lines

by Abe A. Raber of Fredricksburg, OH

A great deal of interest has been shown the last several years in using multiple hitches in horse farming, especially in spring fieldwork. The question often asked is how to keep it simple and easy in driving and assembling the hitch as far as lines are concerned. We demonstrated our method at the Horse Progress Days at Mt. Hope, Ohio in 2003 and have been asked numerous times how we drove four, six and eight-horse hitches using only two lines.

The rope and pulley system is an excellent way of hooking horses together. The softness and flexibility of ropes is a plus in keeping shoulders fit and gives horses a sense of confidence when they’re working. The turning of fresh soil in March or April and clatters of traces and birds singing is music to a teamster’s ears, adding to the joy of driving four, six, or eight horses working smoothly together.

We had been using the tandem hitch in a single bottom sulky plow, when it occurred to me that there should be a better way of driving — a method using fewer lines to contend with. When turning at the end of a furrow, you had four lines, two lift levers, sometimes the furrow wheel lever to steer, and, oh yes, the coulter right there to shred the ends of the lines.

I talked to a guy from southern Indiana and he explained how they drive their multiple hitches with two lines. After trying it myself and liking it, I will attempt to explain how it is hooked up. It is quite simple, and takes very little extra hardware and leather.

Multiple Hitching with One Set of Lines

Here is what you need:

  • Two straps 3/4-inch wide that can be adjusted from 30 to 36 inches with a regular line snap on each end.
  • Two straps 1/2-inch wide with rings on each end that can be adjusted from 12 to 20 inches.
  • Two large steel rings four inches in diameter.

First — The four-inch rings are placed on the wheel team’s (the team closest to the equipment) bridles on the inside, fixed into the short jack strap that holds the bit on the bridle. This is where the inside part of the wheel team’s check line passes through going to the lead team.

Second — The 1/2-inch by 12 to 20-inch straps are attached to the inside branch of the wheel team’s lines coming through the four-inch ring on the bridles, and will connect where the leader’s butt lines would generally snap on. Please note: Start by having those approximately six inches long then as you get to know what your lead team needs. They can be made different lengths to accommodate the way they will walk comfortably.

Third — The 3/4-inch by 30 to 36-inch straps are to cross-tie the wheel team together since their inside check lines go on up to the leader’s. Those go from one inside bit ring to the hame ring that holds the back strap of the harness on the other horse, and vice versa.

The question comes up, “Is the check line adjusted on the wheelers from regular team driving?” Surprisingly, it is not, except on a few occasions where you may want the wheel horses farther apart.

The wheel team should be hooked in the shortest possible link of their traces which keeps it shorter and everybody close to the load. This is where the 16-inch adjustable strap can be made so they all pull alike. To make it a six or eight horse hitch, use a jockey stick on either or both sides as would generally be done in three or four horses abreast.

As we all know, lines were never made to push a horse but to hold them. Just as in the four-line method, a lead horse or team that have the spirit to tighten those lines makes it work great. In the two-line method they are always the same distance apart.

When we started using multiple hitches we used the four-line method, but have now switched to the two-line method and like it very much. I hope this can be of help to all interested teamsters to use in your spring and summer fieldwork. Be careful and always use safety precautions. Never have lines around your back and tied together when sitting or standing on your equipment. Best wishes to all.

Abe and Betty Raber operate a 35-cow Holstein dairy farm and are well-known for their Percheron horses.

Spotlight On: How-To & Plans

English Sheaf Knots

English Sheaf Knots

Long ago when grain was handled mostly by hand, the crop was cut slightly green so seed did not shatter or shake loose too easily. That crop was then gathered into ‘bundles’ or ‘sheafs’ and tied sometimes using a handful of the same grain for the cording. These sheafs were then gathered together, heads up, and leaned upon one another to form drying shocks inviting warm breezes to pass through. In old England, the field workers took great pride in their work and distinctive sheaf knots were designed and employed.

Blacksmithing

Blacksmithing

from issue:

Modern farm machinery is largely of iron and steel construction, making an equipment of metal working tools necessary if satisfactory repairs are to be made. Forging operations consist of bending, upsetting, drawing out, welding, punching, drilling, riveting, thread-cutting, hardening, tempering, and annealing. Heat makes iron soft and ductile. Practically all forging operations on iron can be done more rapidly when it is at a high heat. Steel will not stand as high a temperature.

The Woodfired Bottom-heated Greenhouse Bench

Cultivating Questions: The Woodfired Bottom-heated Greenhouse Bench

It took several incarnations to come up with a satisfactory design for the bottom heated greenhouse bench. In the final version we used two 55 gallon drums welded end-to-end for the firebox and a salvaged piece of 12” stainless steel chimney for the horizontal flue. We learned the hard way that a large firebox and flue are necessary to dissipate the intense heat into the surrounding air chamber and to minimize heat stress on these components.

Horseshoeing Part 4B

Horseshoeing Part 4B

Forging is that defect of the horse’s gait by reason of which, at a trot, he strikes the ends of the branches or the under surface of the front shoe with the toe of the hind shoe or hoof of the same side. Forging is unpleasant to hear and dangerous to the horse. It is liable to wound the heels of the forefeet, damages the toes or the coronet of the hind hoofs, and often pulls off the front shoes.

Eighteen Dollar Harrow

Eighteen Dollar Harrow

by:
from issue:

This is the story of a harrow on a budget. I saw plans on the Tillers International website for building an adjustable spike tooth harrow. I modified the plans somewhat to suit the materials I had available and built a functional farm tool for eighteen dollars. The manufactured equivalent would have cost at least $300.

Delivery Wagon Plans

Delivery Wagon Plans

from issue:

While the low down delivery wagon is an improvement, the objectionable features are increased. But with all those objections the low down wagons increase every year. Their convenience outweighs all other objections. They are handy for country delivery and are fitted up inside to suit either grocers, bakers, butchers or milk delivery, or a combination of the four.

The Tip Cart

The Tip Cart

by:
from issue:

When horses were the main source of power on every farm, in the British Isles it was the tip-cart, rather than the wagon which was the most common vehicle, and for anyone farming with horses, it is still an extremely useful and versatile piece of equipment. The farm cart was used all over the country, indeed in some places wagons were scarcely used at all, and many small farms in other areas only used carts.

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.

An Efficient, Economical Barn

by:
from issue:

A well thought out, functional barn should be the center piece of any farming endeavor, horse powered or fossil fueled, that involves livestock. After building and using two previous barns during our lifetimes, I think the one we now have has achieved a level of convenience, efficiency, and economy that is worth passing on.

Blacksmithing with Pete Cecil Building a Fire

Farm Drum #29: Blacksmithing with Pete Cecil – Building a Fire

Lynn Miller & Pete Cecil talk about Blacksmithing basics, and Pete demonstrates building a fire in the forge.

Basic Blacksmithing Techniques

Illustrated guide to basic blacksmithing techniques, an excerpt from Blacksmithing: Basics For The Homestead.

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.

To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Pig

Within so-called alternative agriculture circles there are turf wars abrew

Harvesting Rainwater

Harvesting Rainwater

by:
from issue:

Collecting rainwater for use during dry months is an ancient practice that has never lost its value. Today, simple water collection systems made from recycled food barrels can mean a free source of non-potable water for plants, gardens, bird baths, and many other uses. Rainwater is ideal for all plants because it doesn’t contain dissolved minerals or added chemicals. One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot roof yields approximately 600 gallons of water.

Audels Gardeners and Growers Guide

How to Store Vegetables

Potatoes may be safely stored in bits on a well drained spot. Spread a layer of straw for the floor. Pile the potatoes in a long, rather than a round pile. Cover the pile with straw or hay a foot deep.

Haying With Horses

Hitching Horses To A Mower

When hitching to the mower, first make sure it’s on level ground and out of gear. The cutter bar should be fastened up in the vertical or carrier position. This is for safety of all people in attendance during hitching.

Disc Harrow Requirements

Disc Harrow Requirements

by:
from issue:

One of the most important requirements is disc blade concavity, that is, correct concavity. Further along we set forth the purposes of disc concavity. We feel it is important enough to devote the extra time and words in a discussion of the subject, because seldom is disc concavity talked about, and very few know that there is difference enough to cause good and bad work.

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