Horse-Drawn Farm Equipment

Published July 10, 2018

Farming With Horse Power

Before the invention of motors and engines, farmers used horses to power equipment and get their work done a little quicker. Even today, small farmers and groups like the Amish prefer horse-drawn equipment over heavy machinery.


The first carts were created somewhere around 3500 B.C., and the bit was invented in about 1300 B.C. allowing people a way to guide donkeys, oxen, or horses. These animal-powered wagons can be used to haul people, hay, crops, and other supplies or goods around the farm.

Peg Tooth Harrow

Often used over disc harrows with animal powered farming, the peg tooth harrow features horizontal rows fitted with wooden or metal teeth. They are commonly used for land leveling or soil puddling, which is used for rice production. The concept for these machines dates back to biblical times.


In frigid climates or during winter months, farming doesn't stop. Horse-drawn sleds make carrying loads across the farm much easier than trying to roll wheels through the snow. Sleighs, or sleds, were common during the 1800's for transport and work.

Reaper Binder

The reaper binder cuts down grains, like wheat, and binds it into piles. The first reaper was patented in 1800, but the binder didn't come about until 1850.

Steel Plow

Invented by John Deere in 1837, the steel plow originally featured one blade. By the late 1800's, plows like this featured more blades to lift and turn the soil in preparation for planting. One or two horses could be used to pull the plow while the farmer guided it from behind as he walked.


Between the 1850's and 1900 there were over 100 brands of horse-drawn mowers made. One or two horses pull the machine while the farmer rides on it. The long arm full of teeth extends out to the side to cut down grass or overgrown fields for farming, making hay, or clearing an area for other purposes.

Hay Baler

Although many modern motorized vehicles aren't permitted in Amish communities, some have allowed gas-powered hay balers. These machines feature a gas engine mounted to the baler that is then pulled by horses. Once balers were introduced in the 1950's, the hay could be compressed into a bale for storage to keep livestock fed.

Field Roller

While it may look like something used to pave a road, the field roller actually has several uses on the farm and was invented in the mid-1860's. You can use a roller to level ground that's been dug up by livestock, break up dirt clods after ploughing, or roll over seeds to push them into the dirt.

Disc Harrow

First patented in the 1860's, a disc harrow features a row of sharp discs. This sharp piece of equipment is used to help prepare fields for planting by breaking up dirt clods and destroying weeds.

Wooden Buck Rake

Once the hay was raked into rows, a buck rake could be used to push each row of hay into a pile. First mentions of the wooden rake start around 1865, but many farmers today make homemade versions to satisfy their desire to tinker and need for inexpensive equipment.

Metal Hay Rake

Typically pulled by one or two horses, the metal hay rake, or hay dump rake, made it easier to gather up cut and cured grass, or hay, from fields. This type of rake was invented in the 1870's.

Manure Spreader

Two horses are used to pull a manure spreader, which works manure into fields for fertilization. Early manure spreaders became widely available just before the 1900's and featured large wooden paddles. Today these machines are made from metal.

Although there are now machines to do all these jobs, some people don't need modern technology to get the job done.

Horse-Drawn Farm Equipment