I just finished reading the article “Walking Plows: Types of Plows and Choosing Equipment, ” and I have a few tips that might be useful to
anyone who will be plowing with horses and wants to learn.
Here in Pennsylvania Dutch country we call a
“middle-breaker” a “scorer” and a “turning plow” a
“moldboard plow”. There are different-sized moldboard plows
for different uses. To find the size, measure across the
bottom from the landside to the part of the share that is
farthest from the landside. An eight-inch plow is for one
horse, a ten-inch for two horses and a twelve-inch for
three. (When you measure, be sure to allow for wear.)
If you plow with one horse you have a choice of where the
animal will walk–in the last furrow you made or right
next to it–according to which way you swing the beam
(if it’s wood) or where you hook the tree on a steel beam
From there on, simply follow the instructions in the
chapter on tillage in Grow It! You have to steer a walking plow to keep the width of
the furrow you are cutting even. To do so, lean the plow to
the left and it will go to the right, or lean it to the
right and it will go left. When you get to the end of the
field, lay the plow on its side so it won’t dig in as you
travel across the headland.
If you’re going to do much farming with horses you ought to
buy a team. There is not much you can do with one horse,
and one-horse machinery is rare. If you do own a team, you
should try to get a sulky plow. They have wheels so that
you can ride, and are very much easier to use than walking
plows. Sulky plows are still manufactured at a place in
Indiana. (Were not sure what company John has in mind, but we understand that such implements are available
from The Oliver Corporation. –MOTHER EARTH NEWS.)
Rust on the wearing parts of a plow can increase its draft
considerably, so when you’re finished plowing for the
season, take a good handful of grease and smear it on the
moldboard, share, and landside to preserve the polished
surface until the next year.
If you think you can save money by buying a young draft
horse and training it yourself, don’t. Leave the breaking
to the professionals. For a beginner to try to teach a
green horse would be disastrous.
Plowing isn’t actually too hard. Just be sure to
secure a helper to drive the horse for your first attempt.
I am only 13 years old and I can plow.