Posts Tagged ‘low impact timer logging’

Logging with horses – more eco friendly way to log

December 11th, 2009

Logging with horses

Up to the early sixties it would not have been an uncommon sight to see
horses working in British forests logging timber.

Over the years however, modern machinery began to replace horses and by the
late sixties no horses were working in forestry any more.
In some parts of the country, notably the Lakes and the Scottish Borders,
the old traditions had been kept alive and began to experience a revival by
the 1990’s.

Holme Lacy College in Herefordshire was one of the first Colleges offering
courses in timber extraction by horsepower.
Landowners rediscovered the benefits of having horses do the work rather
than heavy machinery, as the damage done to Flora and Fauna by the animals
is minimal.
Horses can manoeuvre felled timber out of dense forest without damaging
standing timber or compacting the soil.

There are many types of horse breeds used for this work: Belgian horses,
Brabbant, Percherons, Dales, Ardennes, Highlands, Shires , large cobs and
The British native horses have unfortunately proven to be less useful for
this type of work, as they are mainly bred for the show ring nowadays and
have become far too big in size.

A horse can pull 11/2 times its own body weight and is perfectly capable of
dragging a tree trunk weighing two tons.
Most horse handlers use collars to allow the horse to use it’s strength most
Breast collars as used in carriage driving are 25% less efficient for
dragging timber. Unlike horses pulling carts and carriages, most horses that
work in the forest do so without blinkers, as they need to be able to see
the terrain that surrounds them for their own safety.

Atypical working day of a timber logging horse would consist of six hours
work, divided into three hour shifts with a two hour break in between.
There is now more work available than qualified loggers (human and equine)
can cope with and the British horse logging charitable trust is offering
training opportunities to interested men and women.

Anybody interested in horse logging in Britain can go to the horse loggers
website: or support the charitable trust on: to keep this fascinating old
tradition alive.

Countryside Blog , , ,