Unlimited access >

What to use to pull an arena drag

We’re building our first arena in August and I’m trying to figure out what to use to pull the drag. My old barn I was at used an ATV to pull a parma arena groomer, but I don’t want my husband on an ATV everyday. I’ve heard some people use a riding lawn tractor to pull a lighter drag, but could something like a zero turn lawn mower also work. That might be a stupid question with an obvious answer, but my husband already has a scag zero turn and that would honestly be perfect if we could just use that. I’ve never seen or heard of anybody using one to pull a drag for an arena, but I thought I would put it out there and see what others have to say. I know for any lawn mower option I’ll probably have to make my drag thats not too heavy for it to pull.

I don’t think a ZT will pull a drag without destroying the ZT. They aren’t designed to pull heavy things. I bought a 4 foot drag similar to a Parma before I had a tractor. Supposedly my 25HP garden tractor would pull it with an attachment to raise and lower the drag since the garden tractor did not have a three point hitch. By the time I got my arena ready for the drag I had bought a 22 HP compact tractor so I never tried it with the Husqvarna garden tractor/mower. Honestly, I think the drag was too heavy for the garden tractor and I think I might have gotten stuck in the arena.

I have a friend that pulls her drag with a Gator and it works fine for her. Since the Gator does not have a three point hitch she has to raise and lower the drag manually from the ground. This is a lot less convenient than having a three point hitch that raises and lowers the drag as you drive along when you need to change how deep you are grooming the arena in spots.

1 Like

It depends on the drag - if your drag needs to be raised/lowered to keep the footing at the correct depth, then you need something with a 3 point hitch. If it’s a more crude drag like a piece of chain link fence, then a garden tractor, side by side, or ATV would be sufficient.

Out of curiosity, why don’t you want your husband on an ATV?

1 Like

Thanks for your responses! The guy that is doing our arena said we wouldn’t need anything fancy for our arena drag and I think he mentioned something like a chain link fence with a garden tractor, but I was hoping we could maybe use the zero turn we already have and save the money and space. All the barns I’ve been at have ever only used and ATV/4 wheeler or a tractor, so I kind of figured the zero turn would be out of the question, but it sounds like a garden tractor should work okay, right? Is there a specific type I should be looking for? I know an ATV would be good too, but at my old barn the stable hand accidentally hit the gas when getting on and crashed into the side of the barn and got a concussion and my husband’s brother was in an ATV accident when he was younger and the handle bar punctured his stomach and years later ended up dying from it. Honestly, it’s not so much me that doesn’t want him to go on, but he doesn’t like ATV’s either after the accident.

3 Likes

Years ago, when I first bought my farm, I asked my mechanic if my JD lawn tractor could pull my arena drag. He said “sure”. It was the smallest drag County Manufacturing made. Blew my transmission right up. I use a tractor w a 3 point hitch w an ABI drag now.

5 Likes

If you’re using a chain link fence segment, a garden tractor will work. You may be able to find one cheap if it doesn’t actually mow anymore, but still runs. New ones are ridiculously $$ today! A GT may be able to pull an official drag, not sure. Ours weighs about 200lb but I’ve never used the GT to pull it, and I definitely would NOT use the ZT to pull it

GTs are at least usually designed to pull something, you just need to find out what the weight is, and weight that’s NOT on wheels

1 Like

IME all a chain link fence will do is smooth things out, it won’t work up anything, so you won’t have any cushion on top. You would at least need a set of harrows to break things up.

5 Likes

Our farm came with a 4’ GGT drag that could be pulled by either the ATV or the tractor with the three point hitch. The ATV can do it, but you have to manually lift and lower the tines, and it starts to overheat when we do the outdoor (100x200), though it can handle our indoor (70x150) a little easier. It’s still not the right tool for the job, and I can’t imagined a riding lawnmower or ZT would be more powerful. Our ZT is fun, but guzzles gas and isn’t the most powerful piece of equipment around. We switched to a 7’ Parma groomer pulled exclusively by the tractor. Miles easier, and I can’t imagine going to anything else.

4 Likes

Yes, but it entirely depends on the type of footing you have as to whether or not you will need it broken up. Lots of cheaper arenas here in CA use a very coarse material that drains well and doesn’t pack at all, even after a lot of rain. Those can be leveled with a chain link fence panel.

5 Likes

If your husband is at all handy mechanically or you have access to someone who is I would consider getting an older small tractor with a 3-point hitch. Something like a Ford 8N or 9N, Farmall Cub or similar type tractor. These types of tractors are readily available, reasonably priced and generally easy to get parts for and work on.

3 Likes

I have a smallish arena and I pull my small drag with the ZT. It works adequately.

1 Like

Depends on how deep the footing is and how high you can set the mower deck or if you can remove it. My mower pulls our small drag just fine but the footing gets stuck in the mower. I use the atv with the small drag for a quickie or the tractor and the better drag for a thorough job.

Okay, but if they need to be worked more, a piece of chain link is just going to make it look nice. They do this often at our local racetrack, the chain link makes it look nice, but they might as well race on the paved road out front. At the farm I managed, we needed the harrows drag, or the footing got too hard, the clay was slowly working its way though the sand, so the harrows loosened it up so you wanted to ride on it. We have no idea what type of footing the OP is talking about.

4 Likes

Correct, so

May not be correct.

1 Like

We’re pummeling our brains and the only answer is: team of horses! Hee hee hee.

7 Likes

I’ve done the garden tractor and Z turn to pull a drag. It works if you have shallow dry footing that only needs the surface fluffed.

If your footing is wet l, deeper than a couple inches, or you need something to get into the footing a bit you will end up towing your lawn tractor out with something bigger. Personal experience. Mine could tow a chain link in dry footing and that was it, and depending on your footing you can’t always let it dry out all the way before you drag. I drag mine after the puddles are gone and I can’t do that w a garden mower or z turn.

Why are you against an ATV? We have a midrange “500” one that is easy to operate and store. I use it myself most of the time. It has 4x4 and handles our heavy drag as well as a small manure spreader but isn’t overly powerful.

I’ve used the Loyal 4 ft chain harrow (bought at TSC) for many years, pulled with a Cub Cadet garden tractor. Works great in my sand dressage arena.

The product details on the TSC website claim that it only requires 2 HP per foot of width. In the review section, there are many photos from buyers’, including one that mentions towing with a Cub Cadet riding mower (not even a garden tractor).

ETA: my CC garden tractor is 20 hp, and my harrow is 4 ft wide.

I don’t think a riding mower would do it. We use a 6’ chain harrow on 2 different Kubota RTVs. When the footing is deep, the roughly 20 HP one struggles and barely gets the job done, but the 25 HP does OK. This is sand footing in indoor and outdoor rings.

I use a zero turn with a 4ft chain drag; but my footing is probably a very special case because of what it is. At the barn I rented, I never would have used a zero turn; I would have killed the engine.

1 Like

Yeah, I’m surprised by these replies. I’ve been using my JD ZT to pull a chain harrow for 5 years with no issues!