Facebook  YouTube

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese
Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Tillage with 5-tine Canadese (Italy)

Test report SmP 2015-1

Spring Tooth Cultivator EQUI IDEA Canadese

for horse traction


  • Paul Schmit, Tuntange (Luxembourg)
  • Albano Moscardo, Verona (Italy)
  • Richard Parent, Biederthal (France)


Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

General view front left, 5-tine Canadese


By multiple field tests in Italy and Luxembourg, the possible range of use of the spring tooth cultivator Canadese, manufactured by the EQUI IDEA Company from Verona (VR-Italy), for small-scale crop growing using horse traction was analyzed.

Tests and measurements during the vegetable growing seasons of 2014 and 2015 showed that this 5-tine cultivator requires a medium to heavy pulling effort on a working depth ranging from 30 to 80 mm, on light to medium-heavy soil.

As EQUI IDEA was, by request of its customers, extending its product line during the test period for the present report with spring tooth cultivators offering greater working widths, the first prototype of the new Gran Canadese with seven tines was also included in the test series.

The Canadese particularly suits, with its light weight and handy construction, small gardens or vegetable fields, especially in hilly or terraced landscapes, where the area for maneuvering at the headlands is limited, requiring that the implement has to be moved often by hand.

In order to improve the crumbling and the leveling of the soil, follow-on tools like cage rollers or drag tines should be offered as an option in the future.

Further information about a horse’s acceptable draft power can be found at www.schaffmatpaerd.org.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

General view front left, 11-tine Gran Canadese


Based and inspired by old small french-made cultivators called “Canadien”, the modern version of the Italian “Canadese” revives all the characteristics of this very popular tool amongst smallholders of the bygone times.

After the first prototype was built and tested in winter 2010/2011, the sales started in spring 2011 and the Canadese turned out very quickly to be one of the best sellers of EQUI IDEA. Thanks to its moderate price and its high manufacturing quality, the Canadese is often the first choice of newcomers for making their first steps in growing vegetables using animal traction.

Today, the Canadese can be found in vegetable gardens, and organic vineyards of Europe. Besides all regions of Italy, other main sales areas of the Canadese are France and Germany, with an annual production reaching 10 units per year.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

As with all other EQUI IDEA products, all parts as well as the overall structure of the Canadese are computer-designed. This allows simulating fundamental correlations, like the line of draft between the adjustable singletree attachment and the load center of the tool, before the manufacturing and assembly of the first prototype starts. During the later production, laser cutting and powder coating of the steel parts insures a consistent quality.

As a renewable and environmentally friendly energy source, horse traction is currently undergoing a renaissance in small-scale agricultural holdings, winegrowing, market gardening and forestry. However, contrary to other places on earth, smallholder producers in Europe relying on animal traction need lightweight and handy implements. This enables work with lighter draft animals in smaller plots or terraced fields, as they still can be found in the hilly areas of Continental Europe.

Besides developing new prototypes, one of the goals of the non-profit association Schaff mat Päerd is to support equipment manufacturers by testing their products and publishing related studies. Because the topographic, economic and social situations in much of the world do not favor big hitches, this report focuses especially on a single animal hitch. Further information about the EQUI IDEA product range can be found at www.noieilcavallo.org.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Crop management in a vineyard (Tuscany, Italy)


Technical characteristics of the implement:
Model: Canadese / Gran Canadese
Working width: 5-tine Canadese 600 mm
7-tine Gran Canadese 900 mm
11-tine Gran Canadese 1500 mm
Working depth: 15 mm / 30 mm / 50 mm / 80 mm / 95 mm
Total width: 5-tine Canadese 640 mm
7-tine Gran Canadese 940 mm
11-tine Gran Canadese 1540 mm
Total length: 1300 mm
Total height: 800 mm
Tare weight: 5-tine Canadese 36 kg
7-tine Gran Canadese 69 kg
11-tine Gran Canadese 86 kg
Max. handle lifting force: 0,152 kN (5-tine Canadese)
Front wheel size: 200 x 50 mm
Single tree width: 750 mm
Single tree height: 100 … 200 mm
Horses in the test:
Name: Tenor
Breed: Comtois
Date of birth: 02.04.2007
Height: 1,53 m
Weight: 750 kg
Collar size: 24” half sweeny
Name: Merina
Breed: French Ardennes (ID-Nr MR0340)
Date of birth: 15.04.2000
Height: 1,55 m
Weight: 728 kg
Collar size: 25” half sweeny

Materials and methods

The measuring tests took place on the following farms:

  • MOSCARDO farm in VERONA (ITALY) on 04.09.15

In order to evaluate the required traction effort, the draft forces were measured on different soils and with different working depths, listed here below:

  • 80 mm deep on medium heavy sandy loamy soil of a vegetable garden in Luxembourg
  • 30, 50 and 80 mm deep on light sandy soil of a grain field in Italy

All parcels were flat and free of stones. All measurements were made in the morning between 09.00 and 12.00 a.m.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

5-tine Canadese fitted with measuring equipment, draft springs, safety quick release snaps and front wheel (Luxembourg)

The measuring device consisted of the following components:

  • two Lorenz K-100 force sensors mounted between the leather front tug straps and the central tug rings on both sides of the harness (tests in Italy)
  • a Lorenz K-12 force sensor mounted between the adjustable hitch and the single tree (tests in Italy and Luxembourg)
  • an AHLBORN Almemo 2690-8 data logger with memory connector and micro SD card mounted on the handle.

As well as the pulling effort generated by the single hitched horse, the function, operation and action of the implement were examined. On both farms, each time, the same horse was used for the related tests.

In order to guarantee the statistical significance of the measurements, they were repeated at least three times, depending on the field size, with recorded times for the partial measurements between 01 min 30 s and 05 min 27 s. The measured values were recorded with a summary-measuring rate of 100 Hz resulting in a frequency of 25 Hz for each of the four dimensions (time, left side draft force, right side draft force and total draft force). In order to not exceed the scope of the current report, the graphs below represent just a selection of the results, providing an overview of the characteristics of the implement.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Graph 1


Graph 1 shows the left and right side draft forces in both traces as well as the total draft force on the single tree for one of the trials with 80 mm working depth on the test field in Italy. With a difference of just 7% between the left and right side, nearly balanced draft forces are generated by the test horse.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Balance of forces (Luxembourg)

Another trait to be highlighted is the very regular walk of this horse resulting in low draft force oscillations characterized by a small mean deviation of the figure. This results in a uniform locomotion of the implement and therefore in an efficient conversion of the animal’s physical strength into work.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Graph 2

Graph 2, also relating to the trials made in Italy, points out the influence of the working depth to the horse’s effort and in particular to the draft force oscillations. By comparing the figures for the various working depths, it comes out that varying the working depth from 30 mm to 50 mm increases the average value of the required draft force by 26 % and varying it to 80 mm increases it by 38 %.

It can be concluded that, for this type of soil, the draft effort is not linearly dependent on the working depth. Contrary to the test shown in graph 1, the high draft oscillations must be clearly emphasized: it more than doubles when increasing the tines penetration into the soil from the shallowest to the deepest setting possible. At a working depth of 80 mm, the stress peaks reach 1,4 kN, equivalent to a peak load of 143 kg on both shoulders of the horse.

Within this context, the adaptation of draft springs or a device for absorbing high draft force peaks during this particular use of the Canadese, one of the current research works within SmP, should be advanced.

In comparison to the Multi-V (see test report SmP 2016-2 in Small Farmer’s Journal, Volume 41, No. 1), another implement of the EQUI IDEA product range, which was also tested during the trials in Italy for the report in hand, it can be concluded that the Canadese requires less draft force for the same working conditions (number of tines, working depth and width). This can be explained by the fact that the Canadese runs on two skids bolted to the underside of the frame, which guarantees a precise and constant working depth. Furthermore, these replaceable skids prevent an abrasive wear on the frame itself.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Summary Graph 3

Contrary to all expectations, Summary Graph 3, which gathers the average values of all trials, shows an increase of the required draft effort of just 7 % for the additional two tines of the 7-tine Gran Canadese compared to the 5-tine Canadese, and for the same working depth of 80 mm. However, it must be pointed out that this finding cannot be seen as a general rule, but in relation to the light sandy soil of the test field in Italy.

The same Summary Graph 3 points out the influence of soil structure when working in crop residue with the 5-tine Canadese in a vegetable garden with medium-heavy soil in Luxembourg. It requires 17 % less effort from the horse as the tillage work on a sandy grain field in Italy. This difference can be explained by the coarse structured ground, which sets less resistance against the progression of the implement.

All Canadese models are equipped with spring tines of the Amish manufacturer Pioneer from Dalton (OH-USA). By their shape and high flexibility, they perform an advantageous vibrating action and efficient crumbling of the soil. The working depth can easily be adjusted by a hand lever on a teethed segment with five settings. Turning at the headland is preferably done with lifted tines in order to prevent torsion strains on the tines and the frame.

The height of the singletree can be adjusted tool-free in five positions, depending on the size of the draft animal. During the design process, it was also taken into account to use the Canadese with smaller draught animals, like donkeys, which are common work animals in Mediterranean countries.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

First prototype testing of 7-tine Gran Canadese (Italy)

For changing the hitch position, a securing pin has to be pulled out of the hitch selector, allowing to hook the swivel of the singletree in the desired position. On the bigger Gran Canadese, the hitch selector at the front part of the frame is double and the singletree is attached by a perforated steel flat bar in order to minimize the bending strains on the front structure.

As on all other tillage equipment, the higher the position of the evener is, the less lift is applied on the front end of the cultivator. For an efficient and comfortable work level of the horse and an optimal working result by an even penetration of all tines, the line of draft, starting under a 90°-angle on the hames, should be adjusted in a straight line from the collar to the load center of the implement. It is located nearly at 3/5 of the space between both tine rows. For a perfectly balanced implement, not just the draft force of the horse and the weight force of the implement, but all other acting forces from the ground should intersect at this point.

Of course, the location of the load center varies with the soil conditions and the working depth, but it should be the aim to achieve this balance of forces as accurately as possible. The field tests showed that this fundamental co-dependence of the various loads influencing the implement has been taken into consideration in a successful way during its design process.

The stability of the Canadese and its excellent maneuverability due to the handles, even in difficult terrain, are guaranteed, thanks to its small dimensions and by a sufficiently low center of gravity. The Canadese doesn’t necessarily need to be guided by the hands, which allows leaving them on the lines of the draught animal, which refines the communication between human and animal and by that also their working comfort.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Front wheel on 5-tine Canadese (Luxembourg)

For simplifying the transport of the Canadese, SmP developed a front wheel kit, to be bolted in the same way as the tines to the front cross bar. When raising the tines off the ground, this wheel is lowered at the same time. This raises the front end about 170 mm from the ground, which allows the Canadese to be pushed very easily, like a wheelbarrow, instead of being dragged on the ground. In the meantime this option is also offered by EQUI IDEA.

The Canadese is an extremely simple implement and does not require special maintenance. Parts subjected to wear are the spring teeth, their shares and the lateral sliding skids under the frame. All these parts are easy to replace since they are bolted on. All details of the operation and maintenance of the Canadese are explained in a richly illustrated 12-page manual currently available in English, French, German and Italian.


As a secondary tillage implement, the 5-tine Canadese offers good working results. Its lightweight construction makes it a user-friendly tool, which counts for both the animal and the operator. Even at greater working depths, the required draft effort remains in an acceptable load range for a single horse.

Related to the issue of animal welfare, the importance of shock absorption should be addressed when working at a greater depth, especially in stony ground.

As a handy implement, the Canadese is particularly suitable for small gardens or plots, where the rear end has to be lifted often during short turns at the headlands. However, its light weight also sets the limits of this implement. The main area of operation is shallow working of light garden soil.

To better suit the different row crop distances across Europe, EQUI IDEA has designed bigger models offering 7 and 11 tines along with greater working widths. First tests show evidence that the 7-tine Gran Canadese is also suitable for work with a single horse.

Additional tests must be conducted to determine the operability of the 11-tine model and the overall product line under heavier ground conditions.

Spring Tooth Cultivator Equi Idea Canadese

Spotlight On: Livestock

Types and Breeds of Poultry

From Dusty Shelves: A 1924 article on chicken breeds.

Littlefield Notes Making Your Horses Work For You Part 2

LittleField Notes: Making Your Horses Work For You Part 2

from issue:

Every beginning horse farmer at some point will find himself in need of procuring that first team. After land, this is certainly one of the most critical purchasing decisions you will make in the development of the farm. The animals you choose can make your farming glow and hum with moments of blissful certainty, or contribute to frustration, bewilderment, loss of resolve, and God forbid, horses and people hurt and machines wrecked.

A Gathering of Comtois in France

A Gathering of Comtois in France

from issue:

I was soon planning for a stop in the town of Pontelier, the main hub in one corner of the country I had never been to and was bent on exploring: the Franche-Compte. As luck would have it, this region has its very own breed of draft horse, the Comtois. It was to an “exhibition” of this horse that I was heading, although thanks to my lousy French, I was not sure exactly what kind of “exhibition” I was heading to.

Camel Power in Georgia

Camel Power in Georgia

from issue:

Last spring we got the bright idea to plow some corn with one of the camels, so we went to the shed and drug out the “Planet Jr. one camel cultivating plow”. My 86 year old Grandfather said “Son, don’t worry about thinning that corn, those camels are going to do a fine job of it, for you!” We plowed corn and I have some video to prove it, and as soon as I quit running over the corn and learned how to “drive the plow” we didn’t lose any more corn!

Horseshoeing Part 3B

Horseshoeing Part 3B

Besides good, tough iron for the shoe, we need an anvil with a round horn and a small hole at one end, a round-headed turning-hammer, a round sledge, a stamping hammer, a pritchel of good steel, and, if a fullered shoe is to be made, a round fuller. Bodily activity and, above all else, a good eye for measurement are not only desirable, but necessary. A shoe should be made thoughtfully, but yet quickly enough to make the most of the heat.

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge

from issue:

In the morning we awoke to a three quarters of a mile long swath of old growth mixed conifer and aspen trees, uprooted and strewn everywhere we looked. We hadn’t moved here to become loggers, but it looked like God had other plans! We had chosen to become caretakers of this beautiful place because of the peace and quiet, the clean air, the myriad of birds and wildlife! Thus, we were presented with a challenge: how to clean up this blowdown in a clean, sustainable way.

"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.

On The Anatomy of Thrift Fat & Slat

On the Anatomy of Thrift Part 3: Fat & Salt

On the Anatomy of Thrift is an instructional series Farmrun created with Farmstead Meatsmith. Their principal intention is instruction in the matters of traditional pork processing. In a broader and more honest context, OAT is a deeply philosophical manifesto on the subject of eating animals. Fat & Salt is the third and final video in the series. It is the conceptual conclusion to the illustrated, narrated story that weaves throughout the entire series, and deals instructionally in the matters of preserving pork.

New York Horsefarmer Ed Button and his Belgians

New York Horsefarmer: Ed Button and his Belgians

In New York State one does not explore the world of draft horses long before the name of Ed Button is invariably and most respectfully mentioned. Ed’s name can be heard in the conversations of nearly everyone concerned with heavy horses from the most experienced teamsters to the most novice horse hobbyists. His career with Belgians includes a vast catalog of activities: showing, pulling, training, farming, breeding, and driving, which Ed says, “I’ve been doing since I was old enough to hold the lines.”

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

During October, 1910, The Pennsylvania State College and Experiment Station purchased a group of ten grade Belgian and Percheron colts and one pure bred Percheron for use in live stock judging classes. An accurate record of the initial cost, feeds consumed and changes in form has been kept in order that some definite information as to the cost of developing draft colts from weaning to maturity might be available for farmers, investigators and students.

Cattle Handling Part 2 Use Good Cow Sense When Handling Cattle

Cattle Handling Part 2: Use Good Cow Sense When Handling Cattle

from issue:

Cattle are very intelligent, and are just as “trainable” as horses. Like horses, they “reason” differently than humans. Understanding the way cattle think and why they react to you the way they do can enable you handle them in ways that will help rather than hinder your purposes. If you can “think like a cow” you can more readily predict what cattle will do in various situations and be able to handle them with fewer problems.

Chicken Guano: Top-Notch Fertilizer

Whoever thought I’d be singing the praises of chicken poop? I am, and I’m not the only one. Chickens are walking nitrogen-rich manure bins.

Boer Goats

Boer Goats

from issue:

The introduction of the Boer Goat has stirred up a lot of interest in all sectors of agriculture. The demand for goat meat exceeds the supply; goat meat is the most consumed meat in the world. One of the main points about South African Boer Goats is that out of all meat goat breeds the Boer is the top meat producer whereas in the cattle business you have over 100 breeds of beef cattle that all compete for the beef dollar.

The Milk and Human Kindness Part 1

The Milk and Human Kindness

from issue:

I know what it’s like to be trying to find one’s way learning skills without a much needed teacher or experienced advisor. I made a lot of cheese for the pigs and chickens in the beginning and shed many a tear. I want you to know that the skills you will need are within your reach, and that I will spell it all out for you as best I can. I hope it’s the next best thing to welcoming you personally at my kitchen door and actually getting to work together.

Step Ahead Horse Progress Days 2016

Step Ahead: 23rd Annual Horse Progress Days 2016

from issue:

I had only been to Horse Progress Days once before, at Mount Hope, Ohio in 2008. It had been an eye-opener, showing how strong and in touch with sustainable farming values the Amish are, and how innovative and sensible their efforts could be. So at the 23rd annual event in Howe, Indiana, I was there partly looking for signs of continuity, and partly for signs of change. Right off I spotted an Amish man with a Blue Tooth in his ear, talking as he walked along.

Work Horse Handbook

Work Horse Handbook

Horses are honest creatures. And, what I mean by honest is that a horse is almost always true to his motivations, his needs, his perceptions: if he wants to eat, if he needs water, if he perceives danger. He is incapable of temporarily setting aside or subverting his motivations to get to some distant goal. This is often mistaken as evidence for a lack of intelligence, a conclusion which says more of human nature than equine smarts. What it means for the horse is that he is almost never lazy, sneaky or deceptive. It is simply not in his nature.

Cultivating Questions A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Cultivating Questions: A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Market gardening became so much more relaxing for us and the horses after developing a Horsedrawn Guidance System. Instead of constantly steering the horses while trying to lay out straight rows or cultivate the vegetables, we could put the team on autopilot and focus our whole attention on these precision tasks. The guidance system has been so effective that we have trusted visiting chefs to cultivate the lettuce we planned on harvesting for them a few weeks later.

Work Bridle Styles

Work Bridle Styles

Here are fourteen work bridle styles taken from a 1920’s era harness catalog. Regional variants came with different names and configurations, so much so that we have elected to identify these images by letter instead of name so you may reference these pictures directly when ordering harness or talking about repairs or fit concerns with trainers or harness makers. In one region some were know as pigeon wing and others referred to them as batwing or mule bridles.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT