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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: Book Reviews

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 2

How do you learn the true status of that farm with the “for sale” sign? Here are some important pieces of information for you to learn about a given selling farm. The answers will most probably tell you how serious the seller is.

Why Farm

Farming For Art’s Sake: Farming As An Artform

Farming as a vocation is more of a way of living than of making a living. Farming at its best is an Art, at its worst it is an industry. Farming can be an Art because it allows at every juncture for the farmer to create form from his or her vision.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 3

What goes with the sale? What does not? Do not assume the irrigation pipe and portable hen houses are selling. Find out if they go with the deal, and in writing.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 5

You might think that your new farm is fenced all wrong, or that a certain tree is in the wrong place, or that a wet area would be better drained, or that this gully would make a good pond site, or that a depression in the road should be filled, or that the old sheds should all come down right away. Well maybe you’re right on all counts. But maybe, you’re wrong.

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.

Honoring Our Teachers

Honoring Our Teachers

by:
from issue:

I believe that there exist many great practicing teachers, some of who deliberately set out to become one and others who may have never graduated from college but are none-the-less excellent and capable teachers. I would hazard a guess that many readers of Small Farmer’s Journal know more than one teacher who falls within this latter category. My grandfather, and artist and author Eric Sloane, were two such teachers.

Retrofitting a Fireplace with a Woodstove

How to Retrofit a Fireplace with a Woodstove

Because the venting requirements for a wood stove are different than for a fireplace you need to retrofit a stainless steel chimney liner. A liner provides the draft necessary to ensure that the stove will operate safely and efficiently.

An Introduction To Grasslands Farming

From Dusty Shelves: A World War II era article on grassland farming.

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

Storey’s Guide To Keeping Honey Bees

It is well known that the value of pollination and its resultant seed set and fruit formation outweigh any provided by honey bee products like honey and beeswax.

Basic Blacksmithing Techniques

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

McCormick Deering/International No 7 vs no 9

McCormick Deering/International: No. 7 versus No. 9

McCormick Deering/International’s first enclosed gear model was the No. 7, an extremely successful and highly popular mower of excellent design.

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.

Haying With Horses

Haying With Horses

If the reader is considering the construction of a barn we encourage you to give more than passing thought to allowing the structure of the gable to be open enough to accommodate the hanging of a trolley track. It is difficult or impossible to retrofit a truss-built barn, which may have many supports crisscrossing the inside gable, to receive hay jags. At least allowing for the option in a new construction design will leave the option for loose hay systems in the future.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 4

Assuming that you’ve found a farm you want to buy, next you’ll need to determine if you can buy it. If you have sold your property, and/or saved your money, and have the means to buy the farm you are sitting pretty. If you do not have the full price of a considered farm, in cash or any other form, you will likely have to look for financing.

Posts

Driving Fence Posts By Hand

Where the soil is soft, loose, and free from stone, posts may be driven more easily and firmly than if set in holes dug for the purpose.

Apples of North America

Freedom has been called the ugly duckling of disease-resistant apple varieties. But that shouldn’t detract from its many merits. These include the freedom from apple-scab infection for which it was named, a high rate of productivity, and an ability to serve as a good pollinator for its more attractive sibling, Liberty.

Old Man Farming

Old Man Farming

Long after his physical capacities have dwindled to pain and stiffening, what drives the solitary old man to continue bringing in the handful of Guernsey cows to milk?

"Work Horse Handbook, 2nd Edition" by Lynn Miller

Draft Collars and How To Size Them

It is difficult to accurately measure a horse’s neck without fitting. In other words, there are so many variables involved in the shape and size of a horse’s neck that the only accurate and easy way to size the neck is to use several collars and put them on one at a time until fitting is found.

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