Q&A / 

Belgian Draft Horse Pulling Logs

You may not think this is a building and remodeling topic, but it is.

This is a look back in time as to how your ancestors moved logs around to build their houses, moved rocks to clear land, etc.

I URGE you to read the COMMENTS below once you've watched Dick the horse respond to the gentle commands of Mark Kaar, his owner. Mark and Dick have been together for over 25 years.

Mark Kaar is a professional logger that lives in Sanbornton, NH, just about three miles from my house as the crow flies. If you want to hire Mark to do responsible logging on your land, call him: 603-528-2806. Tell him I said "Hello!"


22 Responses to Belgian Draft Horse Pulling Logs

  1. Why are they cutting down trees in the first place? That is why there is a shortage of trees, because everybody cuts down the ones they don't want. They belong to the Earth not to remove for their needs.

    • Sharon, I sort of have to disagree with you on this one. For starters, the man can do what he wants with the trees on his land. He lives in the USA, not some other land where a dictator, king, queen, or despot owns the land and what's on it. Granted, there may be laws in place that limit the cutting.

      Most people are unaware that trees are a crop. They're no different that tomatoes, corn, wheat, pumpkins, green beans, etc. Most in that list can be harvested in months. Trees take years to grow to maturity. Mother Nature has no issue with us cutting trees. Now, there's responsible harvesting and then there's irresponsible forest management. My neighbor cutting down six trees from a lot that has close to 50 is not irresponsible.

      Finally, if you use toilet paper, you may want to rethink your stance on cutting trees. If you don't change your stance, then I would hope you switch from TP to corn cobs or whatever people used prior to the invention of toilet paper. Here at AsktheBuilder.com you're in a NO Double Standard zone! :-)))

      • Well said Tim, you are very diplomatic with your answer to Sharon. When I read her response , my thoughts were not nearly as nice as your answer was.

      • VERY well stated, Tim! Thanks for the LESSONS!

        You're a good teamster, Mark.

        A couple of thoughts from out here in the western states.

        Horse logging can be fairly successful for "selective" logging in small woodlot, small tree operations. A very minimal percentage of the harvest here though.

        Of the working forestlands in Washington State 55 to 65% is under public/tribal ownership thus operation. Unfortunately, multiuse is a foreign word in the stewardship of these public lands.

  2. Excellent video. Mark and Dick make a great team. I couldn't help but notice how often Mark patted or spoke kindly to the horse. Especially when he was tacking him up. Mark respects his 'partner' and it shows. No wonder they work so well together.

    Also good to see that Mark takes proper safety precautions. Wearing a helmet and moving deliberately with small steps so neither one gets hurt.

    Great to see this type of work still being done the old fashioned way. Leaving a small footprint near the surrounding forest. Glad the horse is still able to be active in his older years. Seems to have a good life.

    I hope you post more videos of Mark logging with his horse(s) again. What a treat!

  3. This video brought back memories of my high school years a lifetime ago (I'm 61 so it was a lifetime ago!) For tree summers before I went to college I worked for a lumber company as a loader/swamper (we called them strikers in Nova Scotia). One of the places we hauled from they were havesting mature pine trees - about 60 feet tall and up to 24" at the butt. The logs were all yarded to the lander where we loaded by horses.
    One of the horses was a small mare, probably about 1000 pounds at most. She was perfectly trained and would find her own path to the landing, the path that was easiest to haul the log through. That's right, she found her own path. The horse handler would hook the log up to the traces, tell her to "Gee up" and off she would go. He did not use reins to guide or control her; instead he would walk to the landing by the shortest route possible and meet the mare there to undo the traces and then lead her back to the next log.
    It was marvelous to watch and a great way to protect the ecosystem. The trees that needed to be cut were taken and the small trees and undergrowth was little harmed by the passing of the horse.
    About two weeks into the job at this location they brought in a second crew of fellers and a Timberjack to bring out the logs. What a mess it made, destroying all in its path.
    Watching this video reminds me that there are ways to protect the environment while still managing to profitably harvest the trees.

  4. Beautiful property. It is my understanding thinning out trees is good tree management.

    An Irish friend told me a long time ago, they used thistles for wiping,

    A friend from India once told me his father owned a number of elephants that he used in his business to move things for people, because they could not afford cranes and other equipment.

  5. There are more trees in America now than when the pilgrims landed, research has shown. beautiful horse!
    Thanks so much for being curious about the outside activity. Research has recently shown that genius starts with curiosity so, Tim, I guess you are a budding genius with white hair.

  6. Tim, that was an awesome video! Thank you, so much, for being curious and filming the whole action, for us to enjoy.

    There are way too many people, who really do not understand Land Management or Forestry. Trees do need to be "thinned out", especially in the forests, as this helps prevent really bad forest fires. These trees will be used, they are Poplar, a very hard wood. They can be made into furniture, flooring and many different ways. They will not be wasted or grounded up, for pulp, that is usually reserved for pine trees.

    I lived in a house, that had 42 Georgia Pine trees, on my land. All of them, were over 90 feet tall, they all HAD to come down. Had I left them up, they could have done a LOT of damage to not only my house, but, all of the houses, next to mine and behind me. It was very interesting to see, the tree climbers, who "topped" off the trees, so that no harm was done to any structures. It is also, just wonderful to be awaken, when the first tree was felled!!! I honestly thought, we were being bombed. LOL

    Tim, thank you again, for sharing this special video, with your readers and subscribers.

  7. Tim, Nice video. I remember my Mom telling about one of my Grandfather's brothers (I'm a Grandfather myself) who had a team of Belgian draft horses. They were in one of the Western suburbs of Chicago and worked in that area. By the time I was old enough I never saw them, so it was really a long time ago as you can imagine.

  8. I did this for in the summer "vacation from school" of 1947 on a farm in Pulaski County Kentucky, but we used something similar to ice tongs that were used to carry large blocks of ice. Brought back memories.

  9. At 73 years old this brings memories. We used a horse to plow the fields,plant and harvest crops.we also logged as your video showed,but used an axe or two man crosscut saw.this was on my granddads farm in the Ohio valley of northeast Ky.My brother now has the last 40 acres of the farm that has been in the family since 1868.He now uses a tractor,but keeps a horse or two around to play with.

  10. Tim did Mark tell you how much horse power Dick had??????...lol I have seen this done upstate NY once the only thing different was that they had some type of (I'm going to call it a sled) that went under the front of the log so it wouldn't dig into the ground. I think logging your land is like taking care of your health. Making room for other trees to grow and the seedlings to grow up and be adults... Great video

  11. Thanks for terrific video! Watching Mark and Dick working together as a team was really amazing. Too bad most of us can't seem to work together like that - human to human, if fact!

    What first captured my attention, was the love that Mark has for Dick. As stated earlier, Mark is always talking, touching and patting Dick - a kind of communication on it's own.

    I guess I never really grasped the power of a horse, as well. I doubt that a dozen friends could move one of those logs...

    And lastly, that is damn fine camera work! I mean that! As a professional freelance cameraman for about forty years, I'm very impressed with your handheld abilities! Well done!



    • Mark and his wife Annie talked about Dick's eating habits on Sunday. Dick gets a bale of hay each day and two pounds of grain. If the weather is colder, Annie sneaks him more hay.

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