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:: Home > Forests and Timber > Logging >Horse Logging

A horse team pulling a large log.

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Way back before there were any engine-powered alternatives, much of the logging was done first with teams of oxen, and later with horses— although horses were more expensive, they could pull a load greater distances. Because moving logs across rough terrain was very difficult, loggers built trails of wood planks or poles to smooth the way.

In Oregon it is uncommon, but not impossible, to see logging using animals today.

A man leading a horse that is skidding a log.

Why continue to log with animals? Some feel that it is more pleasant to see a logger and a team of horses, for example, than the fast-paced, mechanized logging with the loud sounds of motors accompanying it. Because operations occur slower, and the impacted area is smaller, there can be less disturbance to the forest than when harvesting is done with mechanized equipment. A good team of horses can offer a logger lots of control for logging in partial cuts, moving timber around trees that are left to grow without damaging them.

There are certainly differences between horse logging and mechanized logging methods. For instance, a horse weighs about 1,600 pounds; a rubber-tired skidder weighs about 10,000 pounds. Horse logging advocates also point out that a horse can be maintained for a year for less than it costs to buy one skidder tire. A horse taking a break.