This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Anthony 2 years, 10 months ago.

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    I am rethinking my bed making and cultivation setup and am looking at making 60″ wide beds. This would have the horses walking at 60″ apart. What is the best way to set this up to keep the horses at this wide distance? Any training tips while starting out? Anyone know of other applications or of people driving at this width? Most of my other tools use between 32″ and 40″ yokes and eveners.



    where your horses walk starts with how wide you set you double tree. then the cross line side of your driving lines.



    Driving with horses that far apart needs to start with setting the lines up so they will drive that far apart when not hitched to anything, then adding neck yoke and evener that are that wide. I would use “spreaders” – a ring attached to the inside hame ring of each horse by strap or chain, allowing the cross check to be further inside each horse, allowing, guiding them further apart. The longer the distance of the 2nd ring from the regular inside hame ring, the further apart the horses will walk. The cross check buckle is often adjusted also, usually moving the buckle forward on the straight through line to put them further apart. Jay



    Interesting question. You may need to make a custom cross check for it to be long enough to set them that far apart. I would also make the cross check long enough to set it back further on the other line. The angles created will effect how they turn in in some tight turns. It would also be interesting to see how they would drive with a different set up altogether. I think lynn Miller talked about driving horses hooked to a buck rake where they are far apart and driving each one separately. I almost wonder if you could put a team line to each animal, but without crossing them. Flip them around so the long one is on the out side, but it would only need to be a couple inches longer. Then when you drive them you are essential going forward and turning by slowing one or the other. I think that would be a fun experiment.


    Does’ Leap

    One concern I have is that as you move your cross-check forward to accomodate the wider set-up, you are more likely to have them go through the hame rings. Donn’s suggestion of making the cross-checks longer is a good one and would certainly help. I would also set something up so that this could not happen.

    The other thing I might do is put a few eye bolts in a 60 inch 2×4 and clip that into the front side straps (provided you are not using a neck yoke). This would help keep the team from spreading or turning inside-out.



    Goranson Farm


    I’ve been thinking of trying the same thing on my parents predominantly tractor powered farm. We run all of our beds on 6′ centers with 1-5 rows per bed. For some crops (sweet corn, beans, strawberries, squash) the 6′ and 36″ spacing between rows works out well. But I can only cultivate 1 row at a time with the McCormick where with the tractor I can cultivate two. Currently its hard to rationalize using the horses on tasks they perform at half the efficiency of our tractors when there is a myriad of things they can perform with equal or greater efficiency (ie seeding cover crop, spreading fertilizer with the drop spreader, single horse cultivating black plastic, bulk harvests of produce). I’d just love to add another thing to the list.

    It gets a bit more complicated with the majority of the small seeded crops. I’ve been talking with the folks at Crossroad Cultivator about extending the axles of a McCormick so the wheels are on 6′ centers (just like our tractors). A wider yoke and evener would be used to put the horses in the wheel tracks. I’m hoping the tractor tire tracks will work as a guidance system for the horses. We have a beautiful, light, tool bar off of an old G which if I’m lucky will mount easily to cultivate multiple rows at once.

    I’ve seen some I and J cultivators set up with wide eveners and yokes to cultivate black plastic which are definitely worth checking out. From these photos its is challenging to see how they rigged up the lines. I’d love to hear how this works out for you!

    What are you using for a cultivator?
    Any thoughts on how you will rig up a tool bar?
    What are the motivations for extending the width of your beds?

    I’d love to hear what tasks other mixed power veg operations have found for their teams. Right now we are in the middle of Cover Crop season and I’ve only knocked out 3 of 33 acres. Yikes! Got to go get that vetch and Rye in the ground!




    hey carl, you could do that a couple of ways, five feet ain’t that far, longer line spreaders on the hames will get them out there, and moving the crotch line up your mainline will help, and if that don’t do it, a longer crotchline would work. any changes you make, keep an eye out for problems with buckles catching somewhere in the harness. sounds like you have plenty of work to keep you busy without inventing more, good luck there with your farming and remind your dad that tractors don’t make fertilizer.




    Thanks so much for all the helpful pointers. I now have a clearer picture of using line spreaders. I might also need longer cross checks. I plan to use a straight neck yoke to keep the horses’ fronts together.

    Carl, I’ll be another post about the bed makers and cultivators I’m looking at and would love to hear more about your process too.

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