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Advice for Horseowner with Multiple Sclerosis

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paseneaux
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8 Oregon
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2006-04-26          128359


I have 5 flat acres, 3,600ft. elev., 3 with underground irrigation for horse pasture, small yard, 2 horses. I have limited arm strength expecially with overhead use and the heat quickly saps my leg energy. I need something that has decent steering, need some snow-plowing, scraping of paddocks, scooping poop, mowing, small cart/trailer attachment and manure spreaded.
I'm concerned about changing attachments - just how easy or difficult is this? I am a total novice at any of this tractor stuff, but I do haul around a horse trailer and grew up driving 4W drive trucks. I have gathered information on the NH sub-compacts, the JD 2210, the Massey GC's and Kubota BX23. I just moved to this area, but do have a neighbor who is very tractor savvy and will probably ask him to accompany me when I actually go shopping. He plowed for me this past winter as we had unexpected heavy snows, but he work's part-time and I need to be more independent.I am on a fixed income and will be financing this purchase. JD and NH seem to have good deals right now.In case you are all wondering what the heck this gal is doing with all this and MS--I grew up with horses and riding keeps my leg strenth and balance going...it is a lot of work and time, but the pay-off is worth it. Thank you in advance for all your expertise!

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2006-04-26          128360


I have an uncle with MS so I am familiar with it's effects on a person. One thing I would seriously look at is using a quick attach setup on the 3pt. That way it's easier to connect 3pt equipment to the tractor. I have a JD 4310 and know what it's like to wrestle implements on and off the tractor.

As for the loader, I can only speak to my experience with the 4310. But it's easy to take on and off with little effort as long as you have a solid place to park the loader. A concrete pad would be best so it doesn't dig into the ground. ....

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paseneaux
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8 Oregon
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2006-04-26          128363


Thanks Iowafun---the concrete pad is a good idea and I'd read about the 3pt. hitch attachment. Thank you. ....

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
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2006-04-26          128364


In most cases you can save alot of work in mounting attachments if you can approach them at the correct angle and be able to creep very slowly on the approach. So I would definately recommend a hydrostatic transmission. With a quick attach front end loader you can exchange the bucket for a snow blade quite easily. If you're doing finish mowing, it might be easier to attach a rear mounted mower than it is to attach a mid-mount mower. That is unless you have enough ground clearance to keep the mid mount mower mounted all the time.
Take care and stay as independent as you can.
David ....

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paseneaux
Join Date: Apr 2006
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2006-04-26          128370


David-thank you for the advice. If you do leave the mid-mount attached, how much ground clearance do you need? ....

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
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2006-04-26          128372


I don't have a mower on my Kubota so I don't know how much clearance they allow. Or if one brand allows more than another. I'm sure others who have them or one of the vendors who frequent the site will come online to give their opinions soon.
David ....

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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2006-04-26          128373


Most will only allow about 6 to 8 inches of clearance in the locked out position. ....

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hugheswill
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17 South Texas
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2006-04-26          128379


I bought a John Deere 3120 and just have 50 hours on it which means its been running for 50 hours. I think it's a great tractor. The I-Match attachments might be a really good thing for you. I don't have them, but the I-Match at least per the advertisements let you avoid having to connect and disconnect the 3-point hitch when you change rear attachments. You will need to make sure all your rear attachments are I-Mathc compatible. It will still be a little hard to connect and reconnect the PTO shaft for any PTO driven implement. I've done that about 3 times, and maybe since my tractor is new, it takes a little work to get on and off. On the front end loader, some of the wiser folks who have are more mechanical and have been doing this longer, don't have a problem with it. I took it off once and had a really hard time getting it on. Some sage advice from some more experienced members was to drop the front bucket, which I do routinely now, and is real easy and doesn't take much strength. On steering I suggest that you get a tractor with dual hydralic pumps, one for steering and one for the other implements, e.g. loader. My 3120 steers real easy. In my opinion, and given you physical condition, I think hydrostatic is the only way to go. At least it is for me. It's as easy as driving a car. For mowing, I think cruise control is real nice too. Best of Luck. P.S. My 10-year old really wants to drive the tractor. He could do it if he weighed more and I wasn't worried about him running through something. ....

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hugheswill
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17 South Texas
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2006-04-26          128380


(continued) newer it is harder to do. On the front end loader, I only took it off once and took the advice of more sage folks and drop the front bucket which is real easy to attach and detach. Try to get a tractor with 2 hydralic pumps. Mine at least steers real easy. Hydrostatic in my view is the way to go. It's like driving a car. Good Luck! ....

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jimbrown
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 56 Cochise cnty Az
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2006-04-26          128381


Ok I read what you want to do. I reccommend a small machine. Bx kubota size. Front loader, rear mower. You can use the FEL for cleaning paddocks maybe moving snow if you do not have a lot od snow and for a lot of other things like moving feed bags, bales of hay, ect. Granted it will be one or two bales at a time but the machine does the lifting. I would not buy any other attachments untill I found I really needed them and was sure the tractor worked for you. I do not actualy clean stalls with mine I put the poop in a wheelbarrow and then push it out of the paddock and dump it in the loader and then move it to where I want it with the FEL. I usually just spread it. The loader works OK for this once you learn how to do it. However if you have a gate big enough to get the tractor through you can use the FEL to scoop right out of the paddocks without shoveling. If you realy need a spreader you will be better off with one that does not use the PTO but is driven by the wheels. Hooking the PTO up could be hard for you. The mower will require the PTO to be hooked up but hopefully it would not be a regular everyday type of thing putting the mower on and off. You would have to take the mower off to use the spreader. I could be wrong but do not think you need anything with the back how on it. ....

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DenisS
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 367 NJ
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2006-04-27          128408


Attaching and detaching implements is the least fun part about operating compact tractors, that's why I'd recommend a midmount mower instead of rear mower. I'd recommend BX1500 or BX1830 for you with the front loader. Some folk here will say that you'll need to counter balance the loader with a rear attachment. I loaded my front loader full of bricks without any rear attachments and had no problem whatsoever with hauling them around. On flat land, like you mentioned you have, you'll have no problem with a bale or two of hay in your loader. It's also a lot easier to mow with a midmount mower. I agree with lbrown, don't get more attachments right away, except maybe the trailer cart (even though it's easier to finance them upfront), the loader can do all of the jobs you've mentioned. For a trailer cart, get a used one - will cost you 1/3 of what you'd pay for a new one (though again, you can use the loader to haul stuff around a lot easier than having to hook and unhook the cart all the time). Working the farm with a tractor vs. pitchfork/wheelbarrow is like night and day, you'll really like it. ....

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hugheswill
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17 South Texas
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2006-04-27          128415


I'm sure Horse farmer is probably right about mid vs. rear mount mowers. I have a rear finishing mower and no MMM, and when going around things I have to twist 180 degrees to make sure I dont' take out something on the back end. You might look at the smaller JD 2305 which really looked nice to me. ....

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paseneaux
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8 Oregon
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2006-04-27          128417


Would any of you recommend one of the brands over another for me via ease of use or attachments? You've mentioned the BX and the JD...anything I should stay away from?

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to respond. I appreciate your input and suggestions.I am lucky I am still ambulatory and only have a few days a year I really can't or dont'feel like walking. I'm getting older and feel the tractor will help save some wear and tear on me and extend my energy each day. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5242 South Carolina
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2006-04-27          128421


I have a B Kubota I use a rear finishing mower on. After you use it a little you should be able to judge about how close (on the side) you are to something. You possibly could also use RFM that is same width as the tractor. You also could add a guage to the front of the tractor made out of PVC pipe for just a few dollars to serve as a guide. The rear mounted mower does allow you to back up under tree limbs or over a ditch (with lift holding the mower's weight) which the MMM will not.

The PTO shaft is not fun. The safety shields are important but really make it more difficult. If you go that way, ask for options on the shafts, there are at least two styles for the release and one may be better for you. Also a little grease on the PTO shaft on the tractor helps and I would keep the plastic sleeve on the shaft when not being used to keep dirt out of the grease. Also the design of the PTO shield may be better on one tractor model than another. Mine can be a pain to reach under.

Rear view mirrors can be added if needed to help with any rear attachement from mower to speader.

I would think you need to test the getting on and off of any tractor and the operations of the levers. Any dealership should be understanding on that.

I am going to offer a suggestion here that may not work at all, so anyone who knows please give feedback, there is a small company in Virginia (http://www.power-trac.com/) who builds small Articulating tractor with simple to install attachments that may be your best option. They do not use a 3 pt system, rather their own mounting system when means you can not just use any equipement on their unit. But based upon what little I know of them you can unhook and hook from the seat for at least some or most of the equipment. I think you would have to make hyd hose connections on some items rather than PTO shaft conncetions. They do not have dealerships. You deal directly with the company is my understanding.

We all have limits, just some of us have our major one between our ears.

kt

....

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hugheswill
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17 South Texas
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2006-04-27          128425


I've seen people get into interesting arguments about what is better. I always liked the green tractors, mainly for looks, to be honest before I ever knew anything about them. You might look at the posts about mechanical problems. It is probably a taste and ease of use issue. I'd go and drive both of what you narrow your choice down to. As a new tractor owner as I learn how to use the one I bought I have been impressed with it but don't have anything else to comapre it to. ....

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2006-04-27          128427


I've been thinking about your mower issue. I use a Mid mount mower (MMM) but I don't clean out stalls. Taking it on and off isn't bad, but then I'm not battling MS. To be perfectly frank, I find the MMM a pain in the ass. I try to take it on and off as little as possible. Once on, I love it and it's easier to mow with than a rear mount.

BUT, my MMM sticks out beyond the tires. This may make it not so easy to clear horse paddocks, etc. It's a balancing act as to which way to go. You definitely do not want to be constantly taking the MMM on and off.

do you need to do weekly mowing or is it pasture mowing? If it's around the house (Yard) mowing, then a mmm would be better, but if it's pasture mowing, I'd consider a rear mount mower so you can take it on and off easier. You are less likely to ding it when doing other chores because it's not on like a mmm would be. ....

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DenisS
Join Date: May 2006
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2006-04-27          128430


Someone mentioned it here already - the size of the isle in your barn is what matters. If your barn is on the smaller size, I bet you'll be using the wheelbarrow inside and wheel the waste to the tractor outside; in this case mid-mount mower will not present a problem.

custom mounting may be the way to go like kthompson recommended. try out "easy hitch" that JD offers. definitely practice using the 3-point hitch before comitting to it; I don't have any physical impediments (at least visible ones), but manage to get scratches or bumps every time I change attachments. It doesn't bother me, but for someone with joint pain, that is a major obsticle. ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2006-04-27          128431


When picking a brand of tractor, look at all of them first (Quality is comparable on the big 3 - New Holland, John Deere and Kubota) to decide which suits your comfort level, control layout, ect. Then look at the dealer as far as their friendliness and service potential. The dealer can or break the deal just by thier attitude. Remember, you are at thier mercy for service.

Make sure to shop around a bit. Prices will vary. ....

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kthompson
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2006-04-27          128433


PAS,
I realize this is not what you asked about and may not be an option for many different reasons. If you have room for another horse, could you trade that space for a person to do the chores you need done?

Just a thought.
kt ....

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paseneaux
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8 Oregon
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2006-04-27          128440


I appreciate all your help. You "guys" are full of great suggestions. Thompson; I went to the powertrac site and I was impressed, but am worried about maint/repairs with no local dealer. I do have a 3rd stall. I have friends that moved here when I did and she has one gelding currently being boarded.He may end up here and they would then help out some, but they also work and have a new baby.Iowa; I've noticed that some of the MMM's seem to stick out beyond the tires. My ground is flat and open and I put in 14'gates to the pasture areas, so no trouble there. I may only need to remove it for winter if I went with the MMM. I have a small yard to mow and 3 acres of pasture. With only two horses and irrigated grass, I think I will be mowing fairly frequently. I like to keep my pasture under 6" height, hoping for lower sugar content. Horse Farmer; My barn is small. 36X48 with a 12' center aisle and 4'stall doors to aisle and to the dry-lot paddock. I do use a wheelbarrow/muck cart to clean the stalls. My horses use the stalls as run-ins and are seldom locked in.The narrowest gate I have is to my paddock runs just off the stalls and is 10'.AV&R; I will definitely check out the dealers. Hughes will; I think I would adjust to a rear mount mower, but I do have some "brain" issues with the MS. I can't back up the horse trailer using the side mirrors as I did as a kid...it totally disorients me. I have to turn around and look at what I'm doing. But I shouldn't have to do much backing up on this property, I hope! ....

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Iowafun
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2006-04-28          128498


Ok, PAS, your latest comments help a lot. Since you muck out the stalls using a wheel barrow, leaving the MMM on with a loader shouldn't be a problem. I do that at my place. That way you can put the MMM on in spring and leave it until the grass is done in fall. It also helps with eyesight using the MMM vs a rear mount mower.

Your barn width shouldn't be an issue either. When it comes to dealers, a good salesman will take the time to understand your specific setup, your medical condition and work to find a solution that works best for you. A good one will also let you try the model out. Maybe not at your place, but to try the controls and see how they work with your MS. If they have a good used stock selection, they may even loan you one over a weekend to get real use knowledge.

The top 3 manufacturers, JD, NH, Kubota are all pretty good stuff. The one with the best dealer for making sure you are set up ok and taken care of should get your business. I drive green but they employ the CFO. Otherwise, those Kubotas looked pretty nice and so did the Case/NH stuff. ....

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