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.