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Childer Wood Heavy Horses
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British Horse Loggers

For the very latest development in my own harness <<click here>>

Harnessing and hitching up (this is now slightly dated....)

Harness used is an Amish Collar with stainless steel hames and deerhair pad. <<click here for web link>>

From the collar back the harness is Swedish, made by Tarnsjo, which allows Scandinavian shafts to be attached. Traces are attached direct to the pulling ring, not the tug hooks. This sequence will be updated as I now recommend a full harness from Aaron Martin with an adapter kit for Scandinavian shafts if required.If you would like to find out more about Tarnsjo, <<click here for web link>>

Bridle (or bit carrier) is made in Malvern by Robert Jenkins as are the trace carriers. <<click here for web link>>

Bit is a Myler deep ported driving bit, imported by Blue Horse Equine <<click here for web link>>

Chain tugs are used between the tug hooks and the pulling ring, replacing the leather Swedish tugs.

Reins are 9mm climbing rope.

Traces are home made chain with Charlie Pinney draft springs. <<click here for web link>>

Swingle tree is home made with integral draft spring and quick release 'kick off dog' with shortening clutch.

Timber arch is home made with quick release hooks.

For more details on home made Swed'ish' horse logging equipment, click on the Horse Logging Equipment link in box above

The sequence below shows an ideal order for putting on the harness I use, for attaching traces or shafts. To remove, reverse the order.

Harness hanging up to air - collar facing outwards, pad and britchin, bit carrier and reins and pads.

Grooming should be a pleasure for the horse. How to measure for a collar. With the horse clipped up leaving both hands free, slide the collar, upside down, over the horse's head.

The collar is slid gently over the horse's head and turned, the widest part of the collar over the thinnest part of the neck, and settled into place.

The harness should be placed on and slid onto the horse. Avoid throwing harness or harnessing up clumsily.

Like grooming, this should be pleasant for the horse. If it is, the horse will be easier to catch and more likely to stand still whilst being harnessed.

Fitting the pad. This can be difficult when the pad and collar are new. Stuff it in from the front on one side and then the other, pulling the collar forward. Settle it all into place.

Checking the fit of the collar. A flat hand should just touch the collar and the horse's neck. Fitting the hames.

Putting on the back pad and fitting the britchin.

Pull the tail out to make the horse comfortable. Attach the off side meeter strap and tug.

Check all straps are where they should be on offside. Attach nearside meeter strap, check straps on nearside and do up girth.

Attach nearside tug and do up belly band. Check straps are attached as they should be. Trace carrier.

Horse harnessed. Do visual check all round. Bit carrier and Myler bit. Reins and bit carrier hanging on hames. Attaching nearside trace.

Finishing nearside trace and fitting offside.

Finishing offside. Traces on trace carrier. Putting on bit carrier and fastening poll strap.

Bit carrier and bit ready. Reins through rings and attached on nearside.

Offside reins. Reins hung up on hames. Choker chain on offside hame.

Swingle tree on nearside hame. Ready to work. How the Scandinavian shafts are attached. NB these photos were posed for this sequence and only one shaft, off a bracken basher, was attached while the the horse remained tied up. Do not attach a vehicle of any sorts to the horse unless you have full control with bit and bridle fitted and reins at the ready.

The slot at the end of the shafts is fitted onto the metal bar on the pulling ring, the wooden peg inserted and the leather strap securing the wooden peg. The horse pulls the shafts, not a trace. The system is quick on and off, shafts are shorter and therefore less likely to catch in the wood and the whole system is a great safety improvement.

Tool belt for the horse handler and the contents. Attaching the lead rope to the hames (always comes with us). Ready to move off.

Swingle tree and the operation of the quick release 'kick off dog'. Jacob and Johanna in the wood.

Removing traces from trace carrier and attching to swingle tree.

Swingle tree ready. Using timber tongs to roll the log to get the choker chain under. Chokered up, point of hook pointing backwards. Attached and ready to move off.

Jacob pulling a small Douglas Fir sawlog, turning and setting off to the stack.

Near the stack. Returning empty for another load, dragging the swingle tree on the ground. How to choker two logs. Detail - no weight on hip straps whilst in traction.

Repeat of detail. Jacob in the arch.

More of Jacob in the arch.

Jacob with me and a small Norway Spruce sawlog in the arch.

More of the same. Note the good angle of draft of the shafts and the preferred driving position.

to contact Doug Joiner:

by email: doug@heavyhorses.net
by phone or fax: (+44) 01531 640 236 or on his mobile: (+44) 07773 900 751
or by post: Heavy Horses, Hill Farm, Stanley Hill, Bosbury, LEDBURY, HR8 1HE