In 2002 after a motorcycle accident badly damaged his left ankle, Gregg from The Rural Economist could not ride his show horses anymore. A neighbor set him up with a percheron mare and forecart. Gregg learned about using heavy draft horses for work on his homestead, and the rest…as they say…is history. He will never go back to light horses again!
In a research paper that he wrote for college he learned the following fact: A regular tractor loses two-thirds of the energy it uses in the form of useless heat; a draft animal returns one-third of the energy it uses in the form of useful fertilizer.” He also knows from experience that -if they are well taken care of- the horses will enjoy working and look forward to putting their neck in the collar.
Even though Gregg connected with some mentors in his community he found these books to be invaluable: Training Workhorses / Training Teamsters and Work Horse Handbook both are written by Lynn R. Miller
Listen to hear how Gregg used draft horses to pull trees, plow fields, pull a harrow, cut hay, head hay, spread manure, pull a truck out of the mud it was stuck in, and more. He also shares some tips such as:
- Start with a “grade horse” or non-registered horse to save money.
- It’s good to shop around, and drive the animal before you buy plus other things to look for and check when purchasing an animal.
- It’s best to keep them on a daily schedule.
- They can be fed on $1.25 worth of feed per horse per day.
- If you balance out your chores you’ll only have an hour and a half of daily time taking care of the horses.
- How to treat the disease called “scratches” that plagues horses with furry feet.
- How to make sure your 2 horses will pull together.
- Be careful what videos about horses you watch on YouTube. Some are great, and some stink.
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