Timber extraction by horse ---- Film and promotional work -- Horse logging courses Practical courses, five days long, conducted on a one to one basis on a working site

Our fully insured and experienced crew ensures quality work combining a traditional skill with modern sustainable forestry management- the natural way to work woodland

The advantages of using a professional horse logger to extract timber are;

- Selective thinning is economical as no extra trees are cut down than needed

-The low impact of horses leaves the forest floor in good condition

- No need for line thinning reduces risk of windblown trees

- Ensures your remaining standing trees are undamaged

- Ideal for wet, steep, rough and small plantations

- Leaves no timber behind on the forest floor

- Minimal disturbance to wildlife

- No pollution of waterways


For the past twenty eight years I have worked and trained heavy draught horses in all road, field and forest operations across Ireland - a trade I learned in the traditional manner where it was passed down through my family from father to son. This heavy horse heritage and the range of work we do with various breeds of these magnificent horses can be viewed in the archive below. References are available on request.
Feel free to contact me if you require any further information.

Tom Nixon, Athenry, County Galway, Ireland
mobile; 086 038 4857
email; tomnixonheavyhorses@hotmail.com

Member of
Forest Training & Education Ireland Ltd.
British Horse Loggers

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Crusheen Co. Clare working on our current contract Martino Newcombe - who trained with me in heavy horse handling at Airfield Farm in 1991- extracting pole length Larch thinnings along a main ride in very wet conditions. If this had been done with a machine the ride would have become impassable, but because of the low impact of the horses we will be able to use this ride to extract timber until the end of the job. The surface  damage is so light that this will be green again in three to four weeks

At the landing the poles are cut into three metre lengths and stacked ready for sale. Larch is a valuable tree in that it is tougher, stronger and more durable than any other conifer than Yew. It grows six times quicker than Oak and being impervious to rotting and insects is used for railway sleepers, bridges,pit props, pilings, boat building, fencing and gates.

Hay and corn

Kerry in 1993, when I was Horseman on Muckross Traditional Farms demonstrating how a ' reaper and binder' is used to harvest corn as part of Muckross's depiction of farming life in the 1920's and 30's.

This piece of equipment cut the corn and tied it into handy sized bundles- sheafs - which had then to be stood upright in the field to dry out. Only then could the grain be separated from the straw stalks which was stored in heaps.
The working horses drawing this reaper were my Irish Draught/Clydesdale mare and Shire stallion, which we won the Birr Cavalcade the previous year with, pulling a restored C.I.E. wagon filled with bales of straw- the modern method of storing straw.
Corn is any type of grain such as wheat or barley that is used as food for humans, the edible part being the seed head while the stalks become straw used for bedding livestock.

Hay is grass that is cut and dried so it can be stored - saved- and later used to feed livestock during the winter. In the photo below the Lakes of Killarney in the National Park are visible in the distance beyond where I was cutting hay with a ' finger bar mower'.

The invention of a horse drawn mowing machine meant one man could do the work of many men who would have had to cut this long grass by hand with a scythe. The mature grass when cut is still full of moisture so to make it into hay it must be turned over so wind and sun can dry it out.

This was usually turned by hand with forks though some farms would have used a horse drawn 'hay- maker' pictured below.
Both hay and corn must be dry before they can be stored so making them is always at the mercy of the weather.

The following pages from Henry J Webb's Advanced Agriculture of 1894 gives a detailed account of the types of horse drawn machinery that were used for making hay and cutting corn.