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mochyn



Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24569
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 09 9:06 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

I'd certainly go on such a course (if I could afford it). I was just mulling over options for ploughing/harrowing one of my fields and I don't see how I could without animal power. My land is fertile but steep: The field next to the one in question is full of oak but totally inaccessible without mountaineering kit!

vickersdc



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 247
Location: Surrey / Hampshire Border.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 09 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

mochyn wrote:
I'd certainly go on such a course (if I could afford it). I was just mulling over options for ploughing/harrowing one of my fields and I don't see how I could without animal power. My land is fertile but steep: The field next to the one in question is full of oak but totally inaccessible without mountaineering kit!


Hi mochyn,

You might want to get in touch with Kate Mobbs-Morgan - she's based over near Monmouth (website: http://www.rowanworkinghorses.co.uk/).

I don't know the lady personally, but I have been recommended her by the current horse(wo)man down at Chawton House Library (where Kate used to work).

She may well be a good person to chat to if you are thinking about using horse-power for your fields.

Hope it helps...

David.

vickersdc



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 247
Location: Surrey / Hampshire Border.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 09 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cathryn wrote:
I had a conversation with someone around here who uses horses in the forestry and had been employed by the forestry commission or possibly Dwr Cymru. He said it was the only way to get some trees out on some of the steeper slopes. He would be slightly biased though but if that is the case then it could possibly be sold as slightly more financially viable in some areas? (Trees on steep slopes though, I wonder.)


On a commercial footing, heavy horses seem to be carving out a niche dealing with this sort of awkward scenario - awkward for normal forestry machinery that is.

The heavy horses are particularly good at dealing with steep slopes, or where they can extract timber to ride-side for normal machinery to collect, or to extract timber where selective felling has been carried out. Or all three!

gil
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18379

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 09 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

In Sheffield, a very hilly city with precipitous areas too steep to build on which were left wild/made into parkland with trees, the City Council used to employ men with heavy horses to manage the woodland. This was way way back, well, at least 25 years. Before outsourcing / subcontracting of public services.

You might aim courses at public sector / their contractors, as well as smallholders.

Councils do surprising things. For example, Eastbourne Council used to employ a shepherd to run a flock of sheep on Beachy Head to keep the grass down. This was later subcontracted, but I think the Council still owned the sheep.

Nanny



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 4520
Location: carms in wales
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 09 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

[quote="vickersdc]
I'm sure you could use donkeys, but they may be a bit stubborn..? [/quote]

no they aren't they just need to know what's in it for them.

the little bit we have done with our poitou leads us to that conclusion.

we have used her for harrowing the field and she has pulled a cart etc. we have found that if she thinks its a good idea then she is away with it and likes the challenge....

time has prevented us from doing with her exactly what you are considering doing...she has no issues with wearing harness or pulling anything really and at 14.2hh she has a lot of strength...

all we need is the extra hours in a day to get her properly trained and the several hundred pounds to buy the proper logging thingees...they are extremely expensive i fear....

vickersdc



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 247
Location: Surrey / Hampshire Border.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 09 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Nanny,

I openly admit to not knowing anything about donkeys, it was just an impression that they could be stubborn - hence why I wrote that comment in a vague way!

When you talk about the 'proper logging thingees', I'm assuming you are thinking about the logging arch? There is another, cheaper, alternative and that is a swingle tree at 195; check out the heavy horse site at http://www.heavyhorses.net/Pages/equipment.htm.

shadiya



Joined: 02 Feb 2008
Posts: 1285

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 09 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd def be interested in some courses, working horses are part of our future plan.

Nanny



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 4520
Location: carms in wales
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 09 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

vickersdc wrote:
Hi Nanny,

I openly admit to not knowing anything about donkeys, it was just an impression that they could be stubborn - hence why I wrote that comment in a vague way!

When you talk about the 'proper logging thingees', I'm assuming you are thinking about the logging arch? There is another, cheaper, alternative and that is a swingle tree at 195; check out the heavy horse site at http://www.heavyhorses.net/Pages/equipment.htm.


it was the logging arch thing i was speaking about...comes from norway or somewhere like that and would be too big for millie really...we had an idea we could use a trotting sulkie for what we wanted to do with millie, only snicking out some alder trees in the woodland we have here...we were given a sulkie but haven't got round to adjusting it yet and so it goes on....

thanks very much for the website by the way, i shall pass it on to rolf for his perusal.....

Mrs R



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 7202

PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 09 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I know it'll be ignored but hell, I'm going to say it anyway.

Oxen would be way easier for you. Cheaper to buy and much, much less care involved (feeding, rugging, shoeing, grooming, worming etc etc etc) hardier, less prone to lameness or field injuries and cheaper vets bills. Extremely safe and steady to work with (no rearing, kicking, nipping, prancing, bolting or shying) and if you weren't going to work it for weeks, months, even years on end due to other commitments, it doesn't matter because they never forget; you can pull them out of the field and set them to work as if they were worked yesterday. Harnessing is simpler than for a horse and they also pull more steadily than horses (no 'breaking' the load) and better in hard, wet conditions. Oxen remain more popular than horses for logging in eastern europe in such conditions, and generally outnumber working horses 3:1 worldwide. I guess we are just prejudiced in this country as we are in love with the horse, a rich person's animal, and the ox is just your poor peasant's beast.

You wouldn't have to sell the idea to anyone, or run any kind of course - just get on with the logging.

beean



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 09 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I had a newforest/exmoor cross - small but stocky - and she was handy at pulling logs around. Maybe more pleasant than machinery, but not more practical.

Blue Peter



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 2400
Location: Milton Keynes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 09 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ixy wrote:
I know it'll be ignored but hell, I'm going to say it anyway.

....


So lb for (?) oxen beat horses hooves down?

Are oxen as strong as horses? Are there any advantages to horses over oxen?


Peter.

Mrs R



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 7202

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 09 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Blue Peter wrote:
Ixy wrote:
I know it'll be ignored but hell, I'm going to say it anyway.

....


So lb for (?) oxen beat horses hooves down?

Are oxen as strong as horses? Are there any advantages to horses over oxen?


Peter.


Historically it was thought/said that horses could pull more than oxen for their weight, however in ye olden days cattle were smaller, whereas holstein oxen and other breeds can regularly get bigger than shire horses. Also, oxen had the point of pull on their spine or horns (yokes) whereas horses have nice comfy collars to pull with their breast/shoulders. Horsecollars don't quite work on oxen but ox collars have now been developed and can be made cheaply and easily - I'm also working on a harness that's very easy to make, supercheap and very lightweight and machine washable. This should allow oxen to pull more comfortably. I've seen competitive oxpulls though with the traditional yokes where the teams pull many times their own weight, just purely concrete blocks along the ground, not even any wheels, so I do wonder if there's ANY basis to the idea of horses being stronger than oxen at all? From what I can see, that could be spin. down to snobbery. 'the man on the ground' has no way of realistically proving it.

Horses are reputed to be faster than oxen, however I've not found that to be the case at all. And certainly for logging, they can manage an active walk as fast as any horse so I don't see that that would be a concern. Oxen are used for racing abroad, and can outsprint a horse although the horse would overtake over distance. Not really relevant for logging though.

And when you add up how cheap and easy oxen are to keep compared to heavy horses, it'd be no bother having four oxen rather than two shires anyway.

vickersdc



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 247
Location: Surrey / Hampshire Border.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 09 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Ixy,

This is quite interesting, and I for one would never have even thought of using oxen. The newer ox collars are presumably like a horse collars? How would oxen fair logging up / down steep banks? How manouvreable are oxen compared to horses?

Thanks,
David.

ros



Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 2469
Location: Beds
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 09 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

...and I wonder then where the saying "strong as an ox" comes from

is it best understanding or a miss quote of " strong as an hos" ??

Mrs R



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 7202

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 09 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oxen are accepted as superior in wet and steep conditions to horses - they have cloven hooves (like mountain goats!) so have better grip and just generally fare better in wet conditions - cows like to stand in water in hot weather etc. Wet/mud will cause mudrash and lameness in horses which you don't tend to get with cattle.

Often when horses and steam engines got bogged down in mud, oxen were called out of retirement long after they'd gone out of fashion to haul them out!

As for manoueverability - a pair can turn in an exact circle if you need them to (you command the outside ox to walk on and the inside to stay and the pair will move round each other in a circle), and have more flexible bodies than horses, they can scrunch themselves into shapes you never see in a horse to lick between their back legs!!

I have a website - www.theoxfiles.com - if you go to the links and pictures section you can see exactly what oxen can do! And here's a new one - this is my friend anne witalfsky doing an interview about her 'kuhschule' (cowschool) in switzerland. She trains cows for performance and riding!

Anne's Cowschool

I mean, if you are a horsey person, then go for horses. No point working with an animal you don't like. But if simply logging without machinery with as little fuss as possible is the aim then I don't see why an ox wouldn't be viable for you? I worked with horses for 13 years in 4 different stables (riding school, sanctuary, dealer's yard and competitive dressage yard) but I have to say, since working oxen I would never go back! It's all just so much easier....I love the laidback, smart character of the oxen - jobs get done with no mucking about, and much less expense and work for me!

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