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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

The Best Type of Horses for the Farmer

The Best Type of Horses for the Farmer

The Best Type of Horses for the Farmer

Prof. J.H. Skinner, of Indiana Experiment Station, lecture given before Nebraska Improved Stock Breeders in 1910

If we were asked to describe the best horse for farm work the task would not be so difficult. But no consideration of this subject would ignore the question of profit to be derived from horses on the farm. In fact farmers will find about as easy money in a few first-class horses to put on the market as in any other branch of his business. Someone must grow the horses for city and commercial use, and no one is better prepared to do it, so far as feed and surroundings are concerned, than the farmer. Under most conditions farmers cannot afford to lose sight of the profits to be made from this source.

On most farms a few colts can be grown each year very cheaply and with but little trouble. This enables one to dispose of the older horses and thus keep young stock which will be increasing in value. Geldings should never be kept beyond a salable age, as mares will be just as serviceable and at the same time produce a colt worth fifty to one hundred dollars. When we take into account the profits to be gained by such a method and the demands of the market we will doubtless be led to the conclusion that a farmer cannot afford to produce the horse exactly suited to farm work.

The press is full of discussions on the farm horse and how to breed him. Some recommend one, some another, but most all lose sight of the market value of the animal. Formerly what is known as a general purpose horse was commonly found on the farm, and there are those now who advocate such. The market, however, does not recognize any such class, and when they go there they are a cheap, unclassed horse. For this reason if no other they would be unprofitable for farmers. There is, however, another consideration of more importance. Modern agriculture is carried on by the use of heavy implements such as the binder, gang plow, manure spreader, and others. These require a great deal of power and consequently a heavier horse than our fathers used.

Market horses may be divided into two main classes: Those for draft purposes, such as heavy draft, bus, express, etc., and harness and saddle horses, which include drivers, coachers, and saddlers. The heavy draft horse must have weight and strength. It is not so much a question of height as weight. A strictly first-class draft horse must weight 1,600 pounds or more. The greater the weight the greater the value. They must have good feet, legs, plenty of bone and quality, and where these are accompanied with good style and action they command the highest market price. The bus and express horses are of lighter weight and not so strongly built, smoother, and have better action. They should not be thought of as small draft horses, as they are entirely distinct and different. A description of harness and saddle horses is scarcely necessary in this discussion, as I consider them altogether too light for farm work. Moreover, the average farmer cannot put them on the market profitably. The percent of high grade roadsters, drivers, and coachers produced from common mares is small and uncertain. The demand for these is poor.

A study of the market shows that a large percent of the horses that go there are light and unclassed, and as a rule these are cheap and plentiful. On the other hand, horses of the draft types, and particularly the heavy draft, find ready sale at good to high prices. There has been no time during the past decade when a first-class heavy drafter would not sell at a profit to the producer. Such horses are demanded by many manufacturers and wholesale merchants at high prices. In the markets today they will range in price from one hundred and fifty to five hundred dollars, depending on their size and quality. Everything considered, this type of horse will be most profitable for farmers. Some think the light horse such as used for bus and express purposes better adapted to the farmer’s conditions, but in his effort to produce the heavy type a sufficient number of failures will result in enough of the lighter type to supply the demand.

The heavy draft horse is the best for several reasons. He can be produced easily and cheaply, requires little attention, and is readily broken. Furthermore, he can be used on the farm from two to four years, and thus pay his way; blemishes do not detract so much from his sale as in the case of many other types, and he is well suited to the heavy work now found on the farm. It is not my purpose to advocate a coarse, awkward, extremely heavy horse for the farm. A few years ago much was said about the very short-legged, extremely blocky horse, and today such are good sellers, but a far superior farm horse is found in the active, upstanding horse of 1,600 pounds and upward with good action and style. Such a horse will not only sell to advantage but fill the role of farm horse well. He can be taught to walk rapidly, and does not know what a load is. Where such are bred and raised on the farm they cost very little and help mightily in making up for the losses from cattle feeding, etc. They can be produced by mating the heavier mares with pure-bred draft stallions of any of the leading draft breeds of approved type and quality. With the prevailing high prices it may be well to caution breeders against indiscriminate breeding to commoner or inferior sires. Many stallions are being imported annually, and among the number many that ought to be rejected by purchaser and breeder. They are bound to leave their impress on their offspring, and the farmer will be forced to pay the price when after several years the colts come to marketable age.

Spotlight On: Book Reviews

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.

An Introduction To Grasslands Farming

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

A Short History of the Horse-Drawn Mower

A Short History of the Horse-Drawn Mower

Book Excerpt: The enclosed gear, late model John Deere, Case, Oliver, David Bradley, and McCormick Deering International mowers I (we) are so fond of had a zenith of popular manufacture and use that lasted just short of 25 years. Millions of farmers with millions of mowers, built to have a serviceable life of 100 plus years, all pushed into the fence rows. I say, it was far too short of a period.

McCormick-Deering No 7 Mower Manual in English & French

McCormick-Deering No. 7 Mower Manual in English & French

Instructions for Setting Up and Operating the McCORMICK-DEERING No. 7 VERTICAL LIFT TWO-HORSE MOWERS — Instructions pour le Montage et le Fonctionnement des FAUCHEUSES A DEUX CHEVAUX McCORMICK-DEERING No. 7 À RELEVAGE VERTICAL

Horse Sense for Plain Farming

Horse Sense for Plain Farming

Book Review – The New Horse-Powered Farm by Stephen Leslie: Working with horses is not something you can learn exclusively through watching DVD training videos and attending workshops and seminars. These things and experiences can be very useful as auxiliary aids to our training, but they cannot replace the value of a long-term relationship with a skilled mentor.

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.

Basic Blacksmithing Techniques

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Old Man Farming

Spinning Ladders

You die off by passing away. You live on by passing on. I want to pass the culture of my life on slowly, over the ripening time of my best years.

Aboard the Planetary Spaceship

Aboard the Planetary Spaceship

SFJ Spring 2016 Preview: Edward O. Wilson’s new book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, offers a plan for the problem of species extinction: the dominant species, man, must hold itself back, must relinquish half the earth’s surface to those endangered. It is a challenging and on the face of it improbable thought, expressed in a terse style. But his phrases are packed because the hour is late.

Dont Eat the Seed Corn

Don’t Eat the Seed Corn: Strategies & Prospects for Human Survival

by:
from issue:

Gary Paul Nabhan’s book “WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine” (Island Press, 2009) is a weighty tome, freighted with implications. But as befits its subject it is also portable and travels well, a deft exploration of two trips around the world, that of the author following in the footsteps of a long-gone mentor he never met, the Russian pioneer botanist and geneticist Nikolay Vavilov (1887-1943).

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.

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.

"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