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Early Fall HOWA 2010

Country living remains 'part of our lives'

Rural southeast Texas acreage suits family with horses — and their Bobcat tractor

Brian and Jenny Cones

Brian and Jenny Cones

Nearly 130 years ago, the Great Northern Railroad sparked development in Willis, Texas. Today that small community about 60 miles north of Houston continues to attract homeowners with acreages. That includes the Cones family — Brian and Jenny — who live outside of town with their two daughters (ages 9 and 10), with ample room for their horses on a sprawling 17-acre property.

Brian and Jenny relocated to their current property in the fall of 2009 to be closer to their extended family. The Willis-area population has increased by 3,000 residents since the 2000 census, so the Cones searched to find a property that met their needs — namely something big enough for a horse-riding arena, livestock, stables and barns for their equipment.

"A country lifestyle has always been a part of our lives," Jenny says. "We wanted to raise our girls in an area where they could have horses and sheep and outdoor activities." The couple owns 13 horses, which they ride in a new arena on their property.

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Brian and Jenny enjoy everything country living has to offer — plenty of space for their horses, a nice yard with several storage buildings for their equipment and great neighbors. "We've always lived in the country because we've owned horses, we rodeo and we prefer the lifestyle," Brian says.

"We're close enough where we have the conveniences of the city, but we have enough property where we can have an arena and our rural lifestyle. We're nine miles to the girls' school and four miles to the grocery store."

Horse-riding hobbies

The property suits Brian and Jenny's horse-riding hobby well, too. "I grew up in Wyoming with horses, and they're still part of my life today," Jenny says. "My husband is a steer roper and I run barrels. Our girls have finally started to show an interest in horses, and they're starting to rodeo."

With big plans in store for the property, Brian and Jenny needed a piece of equipment that could accomplish all of their construction, landscaping and general upkeep. One of their neighbors, a friendly gentleman named Gene, introduced Brian and Jenny to Outdoor Equipment Outlet in Conroe. It was the beginning of a positive relationship between the Bobcat® tractor dealer and the Cones family.

Brian and his CT440

Brian uses his Bobcat CT440 and front-end loader to move some dirt on his acreage.

Brian and Jenny purchased a CT440 compact tractor (41 hp) with 3-point front-end loader, a 3-point auger and a 3-point box blade. "It couldn't have worked out any better and we couldn't be more pleased with the purchase and our local dealership," Brian says. "We purchased the tractor to help us do work around the property, rather than hiring it out, and we've done quite a bit with it so far.

"The tractor has been just as powerful and just as maneuverable as larger tractors that we've owned in the past. We were a little skeptical about the power and usability of the Bobcat brand, but we've had fantastic results. It's performed above the abilities of some of our previous tractors that had more horsepower."

One of the biggest endeavors for Brian and Jenny was creating the riding arena and replacing the fence that surrounded the property. Both were accomplished with help from their Bobcat tractor. "We put the bucket on the front-end loader and used it to excavate some of the yard. People told us that we needed a small dozer to trim out part of the arena, but we used the tractor and it did a phenomenal job," Brian says.

The couple also removed an old wood fence and replaced it with new electric and pipe fence. They loaded their materials into the bucket and carried it to where they were working. "The compact tractor is the perfect size for our property because it can fit in areas where larger tractors couldn't," Brian says. That feature was a big help when Brian was moving dirt, landscaping material and rock from one area of the property to another.

Unloading bales

Beyond the construction projects, the Cones depend on their tractor to care for their horses and sheep. Semitrailers deliver square bales that are unloaded with assistance from the tractor and front-end loader. "The bales weigh about 1,000 pounds each," Brian says. "The tractor's lifting capacity and reach, coupled with excellent visibility, enable us to efficiently unload the bales." The CT440's front-end loader has a maximum lift height of 9 feet 4 inches and a lift capacity of 2,050 pounds*.

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Jenny admits she doesn't share the same passion as her husband when it comes to equipment, but that's changed since the Bobcat tractor showed up. "Normally I don't get excited about tractors. I only used them when I had to, but I love our Bobcat tractor," she says. "It's the first tractor that I've operated where I feel comfortable and safe while working."

One feature Jenny likes is the hydrostatic transmission. "I don't have to shift. I let off the gas and the tractor will stop. I simply push the hydrostatic travel pedal forward or reverse and go." Maneuvering the tractor and implements is much easier, too, according to Jenny. "I can go slow enough so that I can put the tractor in the exact position, something that was hard for me to do with larger tractors that weren't hydrostatic transmissions."

Rear-remote 3-point position control lever

Rear-remote 3-point position control lever (green knob)

A distinct difference between other brands and Bobcat tractors is the rear-remote 3-point position control lever, according to Brian. It's standard equipment on select Bobcat tractors, including the CT440. "I've never seen it on another tractor," he says. "The control lever is what really sold me on the CT440."

It's a plus for Jenny, too. "We've always had much bigger tractors," she says. "I would have to get off the tractor to check where I needed to move it to line up the implement and tractor. In the past, I've literally spent an hour trying to get a heavy disk hooked up, because I'd have to get it just perfect. With this tractor, I can back it up and adjust the position with the lever. What previously took me as much as an hour and lots of frustration, I can do in just a few minutes."

Living in a country setting suits Brian and Jenny Cones perfectly, and with a Bobcat compact tractor and implements, the couple has already made substantial improvements to their acreage, including the new arena to practice their favorite hobby.

*Loader lift capacity is measured at 500 mm in front of bucket pin with rear ballast.

"The tractor has been just as powerful and just as maneuverable as larger tractors that we've owned in the past. It's performed above the abilities of some of our previous tractors that had more horsepower."

— Brian Cones

26 COMPACT TRACTOR ATTACHMENTS AND IMPLEMENTS

Choose from 26 Bobcat attachments and implements to maximize the productivity of your Bobcat compact tractor.

Implements:

  • 3-pt. angle blade
  • 3-pt. auger
  • 3-pt. rear ballast box
  • 3-pt. box blade
  • 3-pt. disc harrow
  • 3-pt. finish mower
  • 3-pt. rotary cutter
  • 3-pt. seeder
  • 3-pt. silt fence installer
  • 3-pt. snowblower
  • 3-pt. soil conditioner
  • 3-pt. soil cultivator
  • 3-pt. sprayer
  • 3-pt. tiller
  • 3-pt. tine rake
  • Backhoe
  • Mid-mount mower
  • Front-mounted snowblower
  • Front-end loader

Front-end loader attachments:

  • Auger
  • Farm grapple
  • Landplane
  • Pallet fork
  • Snow blade
  • Spreader
  • Tilt-Tatch
Jenny Cones with horses

Horse care tips

If you're looking for horsekeeping tips, from basic to advanced, visit the Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping website for a wealth of information to help you take care of your horses. Read articles or browse the selection of videos and books.

Visit www.MyWorkSaver.com/horsekeeping to link to the site.

Bobcat Company reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design, and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation.