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Horse Logging Demo

17 May 2014 15:00 - 17:00

Saturday 17 May 2014, 3pm - 5pm, Glentress Forest (between Peebles & Innerleithen)

Horse logging is the perfect demonstration of centuries of service man has had from skilled work horses and, as part of the 14th BHS Borders Festival of the Horse this May, it will be possible to see working horses in action on a commercial timber harvesting (thinnings) operation in the heart of Glentress Forest.

When we see working horses in action pulling timber from woodland it is hard to overlook the complex relationship they have with both man and the forest; this low impact system harnessing the best a horse can do compliments modern forestry and has added benefits of controlling weeds and scarifying earth to boost forest regeneration. This is your chance to meet local horse loggers to discover how horses continue to play an active role in sustainable forest management.

Glentress Forest provides an accessible logging site with good footpaths and the new Glentress Peel Centre and café will be open for refreshments nearby.

Iain Laidlaw of Forestry Commission Scotland and British Horse Loggers Charitable Trust said: "We are delighted to be working with the horse loggers to lay on demonstrations that will be of interest to many people. The demos are open to all and I would particularly encourage foresters, woodland owners and community woodlanders to come along and see why modern horse logging is often a viable option for timber harvesting, particularly on sensitive sites. Rising fuel costs for mechanised harvesting are helping to make bio-fuelled horses even more competitive."

John Everitt, FCS Forester for Glentress said: “We are keen to use horses rather than machines for timber harvesting on what is a fairly sensitive site. Whilst it can be slightly more expensive than the most efficient modern machines we think it is worth paying a premium to minimise disturbance, for example around mountain bike tracks, streams, footpaths and roadside verges. We are aiming to make the woods more attractive and develop timber quality by selectively thinning out some of the trees and we hope to make a small profit from the sale of timber”.

Ann Fraser of the BHS Scotland is delighted that horse logging is going to be part of the 2014 Festival of the Horse: "Few people have seen horse logging in action and it will give them a great chance to see an example of the skill of horses in a real work situation rather than in recreation or sport."

For several years now, Forestry Commission Scotland have been working with the Borders Festival of the Horse organisers The British Horse Society Scotland (BHS) to help celebrate everything that makes the Scottish Borders "Scotland's Horse Country". Since 2008 the Festival has included horse logging demonstrations and they are back by popular demand.

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