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Farming with Horses Field Day

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

Nestled in-between subdivisions, highways, and strip malls is the farm home of Lane Linnenkohl’s two Percheron draft horses: Molly and Sally and two Morgans: Daisy and Violet.  Lane keeps his horses at a farm that his cousin leases; his cousin uses this land to grow corn. A bank located just across the street owns this farm and Lane struck a nice deal with them. Instead of the bank having to pay someone to come in and brush hog the adjacent lots twice a year, Lane hays these fields free of charge. Lane uses this hay to feed his horses throughout the year, especially to get through the cold winters.

Near one of the barns, horse-drawn implements are scattered about, including a hay loader, sickle mower, and hay wagon. In the pasture adjacent to the barn, Daisy and Violet are ‘staked-in’ grazing. They each have a ‘leash’ around one leg which is staked into the ground, it almost looks as though they are just free in the yard. Inside the barn Molly and Sally are yoked, almost ready to work, and enjoying some fresh cut hay. The attendees of the field day are finishing up the potluck and preparing to learn about farming with horses.

Lane started the field day by going over basic horse care and some of the equipment inside the barn. He said the first thing to think about when starting to farm with horses is to learn from someone with experience, don’t try to do it all on your own. He encouraged the audience to make their own hay to feed their horses, do as much vet work yourself as possible, and keep your horses working to stay well trained.  Lane also mentioned a variety of training techniques as well as how much to feed your horses each day, and how much an average team will cost. “Horses are extremely adaptable,” Lane said “all they need is access to hay, shelter from wind, rain, and snow, and some room to walk around to keep themselves warm.”

Overall, Lane gave the audience some great words of wisdom and a head full of horse knowledge. Some recommended online resources for farming with horses are: Friends of Draft Horses Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/435605529849669/), Rural Heritage Network (http://www.ruralheritage.com/), and Draft Animal Power forum (http://www.draftanimalpower.org/forums/). Lane also personally recommends the books Work Horse Handbook and Haying with Horses both by Lynn Miller. Lane is also willing to give driving lessons to those who are interested, email us for more information.

Learn more about CRAFT at www.learngrowconnect.org/craft

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