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Anyone well versed with skid steers?

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    Anyone well versed with skid steers?

    the misses and I now own 2 small horse farms, one is 3 acres, the other is 1 acre. Lots of snow removal, grading, moving material, etc. I have a 33 hp tractor that can get the job done, but it isnt that efficient for grading and moving material with it's 1/2 yard bucket. Have been debating the purchase of a skid steer for quite some time. In hindsight, I should have bought a used tractor for dragging the riding arenas, and spent more money on a skid steer, but i'd now like to pick up a used one. What size should I be looking at for my application? tracked or wheeled? brand? I'd like to keep it under $15k. I figure I should keep away from machines used in concrete work?

    Bobcat are the popular around, Gehl is a great piece of equipment, but are a little more pricey to maintain. The only thing I can suggest, is make sure to inspect all hydraulic lines and valve bodies before purchase. Tires don't wear fast, but are not cheap to replace. Cleanliness is key to a good running machine. If you look at one that looks like it's spent it's life in a dust storm, move on. Always check the air filters to see how the machine has been maintained, and to get an idea how it was used. Diesel engines do not like dust. It wears everything out, eats turbos, clogs radiators and inter coolers, and just makes life miserable when things go wrong.
    spend a little more to get a better machine, don't jump at a great deal too quickly. A/C is a pleasure when you are sitting in a little steel box with a seatbelt on with a lap bar locking you in place. Also check to see that the heat works as well.
    these are things that get overlooked, and when you need them you are miserable when you don't have them.
    Let me know if you have any other questions. I'll answer them the best I can.