Harrow/Drag for Mini

I spent several hours mucking the dry lot my mare lives in on Friday and am STILL feeling the effects today :sweat_smile: Unfortunately it’s not dragged/scraped as much as I’d like (in fact, I don’t think it’s been done at all in the last six months since we arrived).

Because the pros of boarding here still outweigh cons, I’m willing to pitch-in and help keep the place tidy and manure-free to some degree, but can’t be doing this manual labour on any kind of regular basis … it’s exhausting! If it were just one mini it wouldn’t be too bad, but she’s not the only one that lives out there.

Given I’m training my girl to drive, it occurred to me that perhaps I could use her on occasion to drag the area instead. I’m reluctant to spend too much, however, because paddock maintenance is beyond my pay grade (of nothing)! Are there any options out there for under $150? I’d love something narrow enough (24" or so) to pass through the groves of trees that are in there. Any suggestions?

ETA: For context, my farm-operation and harrowing knowledge is NIL!

How far along is mini in driving lessons? She needs to follow commands, not mind the traces and ESPECIALLY, whoa when asked. Has she dragged fake shafts yet? They come before a tire drag.

You might consider making a tire drag. Bolt two tires together, then cut a hole thru the tread on the “front” of each tire to feed a rope thru, to pull from. Put ropes together for the pulling point.
There are other details I can give you if you are interested.

I would start the mini with one, small tire first. She HAS to be able to move the tire easily or she will give up trying. Get or make a singletree fo attach her traces to, with a single good size rope thru the tire tread as the pulling location. You will be building her confidence and strength at the same time. Dragged weight is quite exhausting with all the friction on the dirt, so you have to build them up with short works. You can increase tire size as she gets stronger. She SHOULD be able to easily move forward while dragging. If she seems to struggle, tire and drag factor may be too heavy for her. A bonus with dragging is teaching her she can ALWAYS move her load, even if it is not her usual load, so she will try, not quit on you.

I would think you can accomplish a fair amount of manure breaking and smoothing the paddock at the same time. Downside is that manure is broken up but not removed from the paddock. On the plus side is a smoother paddock and mini is getting trained! Our barnyard always looks wonderful when husband is long lining young horses with the dragging tire smoothing the gravel!


What @goodhors says!
If you haven’t acquainted mini with the feel of shafts/traces on her sides, use pool noodles.
Lightweight & if she freaks, nobody gets hurt.
Attach to harness loosely, but so they brush her sides.
Start with her standing, just to get her used to the idea of things on her sides.
Then take a step or more (with a helper at her head) with you behind.
More steps as she gets used to the “shafts”.
You can run baling twine between noodles at your end.
Keeps them in place.
Switch to real traces & gradually add the weight once she’s completely Meh about walking with noodles on her sides.

I have a 6 ft drag and I can’t pull that sucker over the ground. I’m not sure you could find a small enough one a mini could pull unless your mini has superhero strength haha.

Thank-you for the well thought-out replies. We are training to drive already (so have done the pool noodle thing), but obviously have a ways to go still (waiting on a custom harness isn’t great for the timeline). I agree, @StormyDay … I think anything with tines is going to be too heavy for her.

When it’s safe to do so and she’s ready for it, I’m leaning towards assembling a chain harrow (harrows?) out of a small second-hand chain link gate with a tire on top for weight. Does that sound mad? It seems to be the most cost-effective way of doing it.


It certainly won’t be the deepest drag but it should break up the poop and I bet the mini will be just fine pulling it.

Good luck with training your mini to drive! They always love to have jobs like that and really take to it well.


Does the farm have an ATV or tractor, and they’re just not getting around to dragging the field, or do they not have any equipment? If the former, could you ask to use the equipment to drag the field?

I would use a section of chainlink fence as a drag. As the mini gets more experienced & stronger, you can attach some weight (such as a cinderblock) on top, to increase the drag’s ability to break up the manure balls.


The farm does have a tractor, however, the barn manager’s partner has a full-time job elsewhere and is often away on weekends so it just doesn’t get done (which is disappointing). Generally the turn-out gets scraped and the manure is added to an existing pile, which is preferable to just spreading it all around.

@EssexFells … I’d love to use their equipment vs. doing it by hand but for liability reasons, I can’t see them agreeing :worried:

Why can’t there be a snow-blower for manure?! It would be an affordable, walk-behind solution.

<disappears to Google “manure snow blower”>

There’s manure vacuums but they don’t really take any less time than hand picking :joy:

You can mulch poop too, using a mulcher/blower combo. I’ve done it, again with the not taking less time than just picking it up scenario though.

You possibly could use a snow blower for poop. Of course you would need to be mindful of rogue flying nuggets :joy:

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My friend uses her lawnmower with the snow blower attachment, to toss manure over the fence of her paddock!. She says it works pretty well, though she does take wind direction into account when aiming the exit chute!! She hurt her shoulder, so picking poop in quantity is painful. No tractor or loader at the barn she rents. Just her one horse, so probably the same amount of manure as a couple minis over a week. She lives close to the barn, just drives the mower over to clean the paddock.

She was getting desperate to clean paddock accumulation, since her mare is confined this summer with a leg issue. Not able to get mare out in the pasture like she normally does, so manure is more spread around on the bigger area.

If you have a snowblower, you could try cleaning the paddock with it. Aim the chute so things go outside the fence. Look out for flying rocks!! Hope it works for you!

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You could use a piece of chain link fence, that would be light enough

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Oh gosh, I do love the idea of snowblowing poop over the fence (into the laneway … :thinking: ) or dragging a manure vacuum out there.

I think without an ATV (or $5000 budget), options are limited to hand-picking - :weary: - or just dragging it with an old chain link gate. Not that it’ll stop me going down a rabbit hole of manure removal/management searches on Google :sweat_smile:

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Is anyone familiar with the Paddock Blade? I stumbled across this tonight (totally wasn’t lying about the internet rabbit hole :smile: ):

Paddock Blade

Obviously a mini would struggle to pull a full load (or anything close to it), but if you had something much smaller and didn’t mind making repeated trips to the manure heap to dump it …?

ETA: Based on video clips, it looks like you need a fair bit of momentum (i.e. ATV or tractor) to really “scoop” the poop … so scratch that idea!