Smaller stables might be able to get away with utility vehicles, four-wheelers or golf carts as workhorses. Others need a tractor for spreading manure, plowing snow, harvesting or moving hay, spreading seed or fertilizer, and more. Tractors are versatile, making it possible for them to double as mowers.
Lucrative discounts and financing incentives make it easy to step up to or replace an existing tractor. Like power tools, there is a difference in quality between consumer- and commercial-use models.
“Watch out for economy models,” cautioned Steve Andersen, founder of Equine Equipment in Lexington, Kentucky. “It’s better to invest in something that is a little better built and has the comfort features so you enjoy being out there rather than dreading it.”
It’s critical to consider the future when getting ready to buy a tractor. If your three- to five-year plan includes caring for more horses or buying additional land, buying a model suited to that purpose will save you in the long run.
“Think about your needs for the future,” he said. “If you have time to order a tractor, order extra valves for hydraulics. That gives extra power for things like a snowblower and makes it quick to change out.”
Tractors aren’t a small investment. Spending a little more up front can also add up to savings in the long-term. For example, Andersen offers discounts on accessories and attachments when they are purchased at the same time as the tractor.
“If you buy attachments and accessories at the time of purchase ask for a discount,” he said. “If you wait and do it later, it’s considered a part and there are no discounts on parts and labor. For example, a $400-add-on could become a $1,200 part later on down the road.”
The options for add-ons are endless. These are a few that are popular at horse barns.
- Loader for shavings, gravel and muck
- Leaf vacuum
- Posthole digger
“Cabs are really nice, depending on what part of the country you’re in,” he said. They can be headed and air conditioned.