Logging with Animals
Logging with Animals
Big wagon: I use this wagon when pieces are too big for my other wagon. This log is 5’ in diameter and rolled on with the horses.

Logging with Animals

by Steve Cornelius of Columbia City, IN

I don’t see many articles on logging with horses or oxen any more. I like to see more than just a few pictures with a sentence or two under them. I’m Steve Cornelius, 62 years old and live in northern Indiana and make most of my living from selling firewood and carriage and wagon rides. I use the same farm-type side backer harness for both.

I’ve tried the D-ring harness but it doesn’t work for me. It’s nice because there’s no weight on the neck, but if a horse runs or even trots the end of the tongue whips violently in every direction. That should be mentioned in some of the articles about them. I know you say a work horse gets his work done at a walk. I don’t own any woods but have to travel quite a distance to get to some of the woods I cut in. It would take a long time to walk all the way. And going up hills I let them go at a full run. It’s much easier to get up the hill.

Logging with Animals
Two tongues: Here you can see two tongues. That way all horses can back evenly and you can use three horse plow eveners. I have used off-set tongues but the one horse isn’t backing any weight. I like stainless hames and hardware, that way I can use the same harness for carriage rides. I’d rather haul wood than people but there’s more money in people.

And traveling long distance means you need an animal with good feet. A poor foot won’t hold a shoe as good, and you can go further with no shoes at all. Now I know that draft horse breeders sometimes think if they have a big foot, it just has to be good – not true. Myself, I’m going to all dark footed animals. A dark foot slowly wears, not breaks in big chunks and cracks and splits. You can go twice as far with my animals with dark feet on a paved road than ones with white feet with no shoes. In winter I shoe with drill tek because of the icy roads. A steel shoe without it is much slicker than a bare foot.

Logging with Animals
Eveners: Eveners are hooked to a hook under the tongue as they were a century ago. Tongues pulls out to get around wagon more easily. Four coil springs under the seat save your back.

A man near here raises Belgian-Shetland and Percheron-Shetland crossbreeds. The latter is my favorite. They require a little more grain than the Belgian cross but have black feet since they are black with no white socks. Now I know all this doesn’t mean anything to the guys with deep pockets showing for a hobby. But I am trying to make money and not see how much I can spend and I know that’s mostly the kind of people that read this magazine.

A medium size animal can travel faster on less feed than a huge 18 hand horse, and won’t be worn out when he gets there. Mine are 1200-1700 lbs.

Logging with Animals
Hooked to the log and ready to pull it up to and over wagon. Log hits roller and comes over the edge of the wagon. This boy is oak and weighs 2-3000 lbs.

Back to the D-ring harness, something else that won’t put weight on their necks is a stiff tongue wagon, which is what I use and they can run at full speed with no tongue whip and it’s nice to pull the tongue out when you get there so you can walk all around the front of the wagon. It doesn’t take that big of a team to pull a fair size 8’ long log up to a wagon and load it. I know there are hydraulic loaders with electric pumps, but I prefer to use the horses so my battery is left for lights only. I load with block and tackle on a post above the wagon as shown instead of the old method of rolling up poles. It is faster because of no set up time and odd shape logs go up just as easy as round ones.

Logging with Animals
Up on the wagon and ready to unhook pulley and hook to chain around the log to pull it clear up on deck.

Equipment I take to the woods: various sizes of chainsaws, box of tools, spare tire, cell phone, hard hat with hearing protection, protective chaps, chains, cant hooks, a 50’ steel cable for hard to reach logs, two pulleys to pull a tree down if it hangs up in another tree and a mirror to see things outside of your eyes and I probably should include a first aid kit for myself and the horses.

Logging with Animals
Here we are loaded and ready to go home. It is a 6 mile trip.