Garden tractor: Easy to operate?

My mum is 56 going on 57 years young. She used to be very healthy but somewhat begin to feel her age. She live alone in a house surrounded by trees. The property is about 3 acres. She is considering buying a garden tractor, mainly for snow removal and hauling some firewood around her property.
I am very worried that the tractor might be a bit too much for woman her age to handle. Since my father died, she took it upon herself to do everything my dad used to do. She is very healthy and exercises regularly.
I would like to ask your opinion if operating a garden tractor is reasonable for woman her age. Her property is hilly and woody but clear of undergrowth. Will she be able to ride the tractor up/down a steep incline? I know very little about tractors but did a bit of searching in the internet. She has her heart set on Sear's Craftsman, Arien or Honda. Not sure what HP would be appropriate for her.
Thanks, pac
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They come with automatic transmissions. Just step on a pedal and go. Steering is manual and may take some strength. Lifting the mower deck takes some strength. Should be easy to check by sitting on a machine before purchase. If you spend more money, $10,000 you can get power steering and power lift for the mower.
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wrote:

Absolutely. She's not driving a Formula 1 car, just a garden tractor.
Actually, I'm guessing she'd probably do fine in the F1 car...
The main thing I'd be concerned about (even if I was going to be driving the thing) is the steepness of slope. If there's a risk of rollover then you should consider talking to the dealership about having someone come out and demonstrate safe technique so she understands how to approach a slope while reducing her risk of injury.
--
Life. Nature's way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who

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Only physical concern I would have would be osteoporosis. Women tend to be physical for most of their lives, and adapt to most any situation presented to them.
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How much snow do you get ? If it's just a couple inches a snowplow (blade) will do but if you expect more you will need a snowblower attachment that costs almost as much as the tractor. And they are a chore (and heavy) to attach and take back off in the spring.

The regular pull behind carts come in a variety of sizes. You'll need one that is rated for 14 cubic feet with wide tires to haul any amount of firewood.

Sounds like she is capable of making her own decisions. But if she is within 2 hours I am always up to helping a widow with mechanical problems.

Not sure what you call steep but I've had my Wheelhorse up a path so steep I had trouble walking it. Of course leaving the mower deck on lowers the center of gravity and helps a lot - but I didn't have the wheel weights on. And if she plans to blow snow on a hilly area she will probably want wheel weights and chains. A light weight tractor will be prone to lifting the front end off the ground if the power is engaged to suddenly.

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Out of those 3 I wouldn't even consider the Sears. Get the longest wheel base you can get for climbing hills. Also make sure there is some tread on the tires, not those slick turf tires.
From Mel & Donnie in Bluebird Valley
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Thank you all for invaluable information. You guys are just great!
My mother lives in Maryland, suburb of DC. Not unusual for us to get snow as high as a foot or more if it is not taken care of ASAP. She usually hires some neighbors' kids to blow the snow when it gets too high. However last year she let the snow piled up untouched and just took a vacation from work for a couple of weeks. This year she said she will be prepared for the worst. Big piles of firewood.
A stretch of her driveway was quite steep, 15-20 degrees may be. Her only concern was that she just had it resurfaced (asphalt but not yet sealed.) Would the weight and chain do real damage to the surface?
Thanks! pac
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I'm healthy but don't exercise much, so she's ahead of me. I'm male and 58. I don't feel much different from when I was 30. Apparently many people don't get old as fast as they used to. I know active people who are 103, and 96 and younger.
The 96 year old lived with her husband who was 2 years older until she was 92 and he died at 94. She still drove and wore 2 inch heels. Then she lived alone unti she was 95.
My aunt lived alone after her husband died 15 years ago until she was about 96. She finally moved to assisted living. She's the most active one there, even at 100. At her birthday party, she stood and greeted the guests for over an hour even though there was a chair right there. Her hearing failed when she was 102, so I can't talk to her on the phone anymore. But her 68 year old son takes good care of her if she needs something. He looks pretty good too.
Of course that doesn't mean that everyone gets to live this long and this healthy, but your mother will know when to slow down.

I don't think *anyone* should try to ride the tractor up or down a steep incline unless it is paved. Depending on how steep it is.

Be careful. If you talk her out of this she may get a 350HP Corvette.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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