Need to check fencelines, inspect hay fields or move tools for a fenceline repair? An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) might be the right choice for your horse property. ATVs are particularly handy for getting to places that are not easily accessible by other types of motorized vehicles.
ATVs—also known as 4-wheelers or quads—offer a lot of flexibility. It’s possible to pull a small manure spreader, attach a mower, carry a weed sprayer, or use a small grass seed/fertilizer spreader. They are also useful for moving dirt, transporting items from point A to point B, and driving around sprawling pastures.
It’s important to pick a model that is rugged enough and includes safety features needed on farms. For example, a coil spring shock absorber system is designed to handle more rugged terrain. The Penn State Extension group encourages farm users to buy models that have an automatic clutch, reverse gear, share drive and a differential with a locking mechanism. The Extension service cautions against buying any used 3-wheeler models for farm work as they are less stable than their 4-wheeled companions.
Increasingly, ATVs are being used for the chores once performed with a small tractor. However, just because they are more compact doesn’t mean safety isn’t as important as with tractor operation. Be aware that rollovers are possible on steep, uneven terrain. Always make sure that the person driving the ATV knows how to operate it properly.
Traditionally, ATVs have required more agility and physical effort to maneuver compared to other small machinery. Today, some models look more like mini-tractors or vehicles with seats for two, a cab and a rollover cage. The best part is they can be easily transported on the back of a pickup truck or a small trailer when needed. Four-wheelers are often the go-to choice among hunters, so stable owners who also hunt will enjoy its multi-purpose functionality.