Horse-Drawn to Horse-Powered

Mr. Gagnon just purchased his first zero-turn lawn mower at the age of 91. He has a long history with Gravely through the decades and shared his recollections with Out Working.

I’m 91 years old and from Madeleine Centre, which is on the North Gaspé Coast in Québec, Canada.

There were no lawn mowers like we have today. When I was young, everything was powered by a horse. There were no gasoline engines in the agricultural machinery industry at the time.

In 1956 my dad and mom went to Montréal for a medical examination because my dad needed to see a specialist. At the same time, they heard there was a four-foot snowstorm around the Gaspé Coast. So, before my parents came back home, they went to purchase my dad his first Gravely snow blower at a dealer located in Ville Saint Laurent, Montréal.

I bought my first Gravely 812 lawn tractor in 1973 because, at the time, Gravely was one of the first brands on the market that offered a tractor equipped with a three-blade mower underneath and a front-drive snowblower.

The first time I mowed with a tractor I was in a hay field with about three-foot-high alfalfa. I began mowing through that with my Gravely when I realized its strength and reliability. The tractor never slowed down, even if it seemed like there was too much hay to mow. I’ve been satisfied with Gravely ever since I discovered how they build really tough products.

You can’t find much better than Gravely mowers. They’re reliable and strong, and it’s easy to find parts and service. They’re tough and heavy-duty.

We still have the Gravely 812 tractor. I handed that down to Roberto, my son. He still uses it to mow the land on his own property, while I mow with my new Gravely ZT XL zero-turn lawn mower (pictured above).

As I’m getting older, it’s becoming more difficult to turn the steering wheel on the Gravely 812 compared to the zero-turn. With the zero-turn, you only have to move the handles one way or another. It’s easier to turn than a garden tractor wheel because of its driving movement and speed. The zero-turn driving levers are also quite soft on my hands.

I think about my dad who purchased the first Gravely for our family. It’s an honor to continue working with the same brand and type of machine.
Jean Guy Gagnon enjoys performing regular maintenance on his Gravely ZT XL zero-turn lawn mower.
I’ve always wanted to prove that I’m able to use heavy-duty equipment on my own and show people that a dream can come true, even at my age. For many years, I’ve wanted to acquire my own ZT XL and prove to everyone that I can still do it.

The secret is proper maintenance of the machine. I’ve been lucky because I have a son who is a mechanic. We’ve always kept a close eye on our machines to ensure everything is running as it should be. If it wasn’t, we’d quickly repair it.

Now with the internet, operation and maintenance are easier because I can go on the Gravely website and conduct my own research on equipment. I can easily talk to other Gravely owners living in America, whenever I need.  

12/01/2023 | Horse-Drawn to Horse-Powered

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