Moving from the Wetlands to the Western Plains with a Bobcat Compact Tractor

Published on February 2, 2021

When John and Kelsey Walsdorf left behind the wetlands of Louisiana for the plains of western Colorado, they knew they’d need some help to accommodate their equestrian lifestyle. Nestled between the towering Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa National Forest, the Walsdorfs’ five-acre property features four horses, three cows and a Bobcat compact tractor to manage it all.

You might be surprised by what you can find at the end of an old gravel road. Where there are stories embedded in rock and freedom in the fields. That’s what John and Kelsey Walsdorf discovered when they left behind the wetlands of Louisiana for the plains of western Colorado. Nestled between the towering Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa National Forest, the Walsdorfs’ five-acre property features four horses, three cows and a Bobcat compact tractor to manage it all.

With Kelsey’s medical career taking off, the Walsdorfs needed a home near her residency program that could accommodate their equestrian lifestyle. 

“I’ve loved horses my entire life,” Kelsey says. “When I was a child, we would ride horses in Georgia on my uncle’s 400-acre cattle ranch. I bought my first horse 12 years ago, and it’s remained a big part of my life to this day.”  

As John and Kelsey searched for their new home, they found very few properties that could accommodate their horses and other livestock. Luckily, they eventually stumbled upon five acres tucked away in a scenic Colorado valley.  

“Finding the right land to settle on was nearly a year-long struggle,” John says. “We’d either find a great property with a horrible house, or a nice house with a horrible property. Our current home is everything we were searching for. It has a great arena so we can ride, train and practice our skill whenever we want.” 

Before moving to Colorado, John and Kelsey owned and maintained another acreage in Folsom, Louisiana. But without the help of a reliable compact tractor, they struggled to knock out any tasks that required heavy lifting. 

“For the longest time we didn’t have our own compact tractor. It was absolutely miserable,” John says. “We didn’t have the machinery we needed to move hay bales, dig or do anything to efficiently manage the land. We had hundreds of hay bales weighing around 800 pounds, and I had to wrestle them onto a pallet and drag them out to the horses using a four-wheeler. It was horrible. When we moved out here, I said to myself that we’d never do that again. We were getting a compact tractor.”  

After exploring all the options from other brands in the area, they still couldn’t find the perfect fit for their property. Until one day, something from the Bobcat Facebook feed caught John’s eye. 

“I didn’t even know Bobcat made compact tractors,” John says. “I really wanted something new, so I looked a little deeper and saw there was a Bobcat dealership close by. I realized that the Bobcat compact tractor did everything the other compact tractors could do, but it actually offered more capability for the size of the machine.”   

He also liked that there was a factory-installed front-end loader option as well as the opportunity to purchase a variety of other attachments and implements. Equipped with a new CT4045 compact tractor and a front-end loader, John and Kelsey were ready to take on their new acreage.  

Tackling Acreage Ownership With a Compact Tractor 

After his productivity setbacks in Louisiana, John discovered that his new Bobcat tractor turned what was once a chore into something he actually enjoyed.

“The CT4045 has been a game changer, because we don’t have to physically do everything ourselves,” John says. “We’ve used it for so many different things – it’s basically used every day. It saves us countless hours of either doing things by hand or not being able to do them at all.”  

Using a mix of attachments and implements, John and Kelsey tackle a wide variety of work, including dragging their horse arena, feeding the cattle, spraying their pasture for weeds, leveling the soil for their horses, grading their driveway and hauling heavy hay bales. 

“The hay bales are one of the main reasons why we got the bigger compact tractor model,” John says. “I wanted something that could easily pick up a bigger hay bale, so I’m not doing it by hand.  

“Without a tractor, you’re fighting it, rolling it and wrestling with it for at least 20 minutes. With the Bobcat tractor, it takes me 20 seconds. We’ll get even larger bales in the future, so eventually we’ll look into a hay spear attachment. For now, we really like using the front-end loader to move and stack the bales.”

When looking for a compact tractor to help take on their new land, John and Kelsey had very strong feelings about a couple of features: It had to have four-wheel drive and a hydrostatic transmission.  

“All the other compact tractors I’ve used in the past had manual transmissions,” Kelsey says. “The hydrostatic transmission on our current compact tractor makes it extremely easy to use. It’s like driving a car.”

While life on the western plains offers stunning views, it also brings dryness and large gusts of wind. That means that keeping dirt where it belongs can be a challenge. “We have to add dirt to our arena pretty frequently, because the dryness and wind will blow it away,” John says. “The hydrostatic transmission is nice for when we have to go back and forth, because we don’t have to stop to put it in different gears all the time. It just works wonderfully.” 

In addition to the hydrostatic transmission, the Walsdorfs also needed a tractor that could plow through deep horse arenas full of dirt. That’s why the four-wheel drive feature on their CT4045 was so attractive to them.  

“Our horse arena is very deep, so when I put the arena drag down, it pulls a large amount of dirt behind it,” John explains. “If you have a compact tractor that only has two-wheel drive, it won’t work as efficiently. With our CT4045, we can activate the four-wheel drive and it gives us much more traction and power. At the end of the day it’s just a wonderful machine. I don’t think we could work this land without it.” 

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