Being the only commercial horse logger in Ireland means I must travel abroad to work with other loggers to keep abreast of modern developments and techniques in the industry.
Last autumn I visited Jim Johnstone from Auldgirth in Dumfries in Scotland who was working his Brabant, the largest of the Belgium heavy horse breeds, alongside a mechanical harvester.
A collar of leather goes around the working horse's neck to protect it from bruising from the wooden/metal hames. The hames are connected by hooks to the shafts or trace /chains of the load or vehicle. Irish collars are open like Canadian ones which mean they can be adapted to suit different sizes of horses. English collars are closed and fit only one size of horse.
Jim uses a combination of English and Canadian harness and had a narrow back pad and britchin ( leather strapping across the horse's rump) so he could run his lines or traces higher than usual - and so avoid getting them caught in the horse's legs.
This meant the horse could take tighter turns and was much more manoeuvrable than one that had it's traces or chains low to the ground.