Horse Logging Workshop and Forest Management Demonstration

When: September 29, 2017, 9 AM – 4 PM

Where: Cornish Fairgrounds, Cornish NH

JOIN draft animal practitioners, forest landowners, foresters, loggers and others from across the northeast for this informative workshop on the application of draft animal power in modern timber harvesting and forest management.

Renowned forester and horse logger Carl Russell of Bethel VT will lead a one day workshop on Friday, September 29 on managed woodlands owned by the Cornish Fair Association. The day will include demonstrations and discussions on:

  • Planning the Harvest
  • Starting the Harvest
  • Working Animals in the Woods: Horses and Cattle
  • Timber Harvesting Equipment for Draft-Animals

Interested teamsters are invited to contact workshop organizers to participate.  In depth tours for forest landowners and foresters considering this approach to harvest and extraction of forest products. On Saturday September 30, tours will also be led by Carl through the woodlot as part of the Draft Animal-Power Field Days with over 25 other workshops and events.

NH Licensed Foresters: 6 CFE SAF and NHLPF Credits Available

NH Certified Loggers: 8 CE Credits Available for NH Professional Loggers Program

Pre-Registration is required: $60 for Friday workshop includes entry to Draft Animal Power Field Days events on 9/30 and 10/1.  Saturday 9/30 only is $15.  Lunch available.

More Information/register, go to:

Questions? Call 802-763-0771 or email

With support of these valued co-sponsoring partners (pending):

UNH Cooperative Extension NH Tree Farm Program

Granite State Society of American Foresters NH Farm Bureau Fed.






For the Forest to Frame Workshop, Carl Russell has developed a comprehensive harvesting plan for a section of the Cornish NH Fairgrounds forest that can highlight the effectiveness of draft animal power and show how forestry objectives can be implemented to enhance ownership and community goals, to invest in residual stand improvement, to show the effectiveness of draft animal in the woods, and to demonstrate that logging is more than dragging logs. Carl and other experienced loggers and foresters will be demonstrating and discussing planning the harvest, starting the harvest, working with animals in the woods, and timber harvesting equipment for draft animals. This workshop is aimed at teamsters who want to or are presently working in the woods with draft animal power and at landowners who are interested in the possibility of using draft animal power.   9am – 4 pm


Working in the Woods:

  • Planning and Starting the Harvest
  • Timber Harvesting Equipment
  • Working with Animals in the Woods
  • Silviculture
  • Forestry Tours
  • Plus lots of other draft animal workshops

Silviculture at the Draft Animal-Power Field Days, Cornish NH Fairgrounds – Carl Russell

With the support of the Cornish NH Fairgrounds, I am going to take this opportunity to develop a comprehensive harvesting plan for the forest above their parking areas that can highlight the effectiveness of draft animals. This 16.5 acre woodland tract with highly productive white pine and sugar maple soils provides a great potential to show how forestry objectives can be implemented to enhance ownership and community goals, to invest in residual stand improvement, to show the effectiveness of draft animal in the woods, and to demonstrate that logging is more than dragging logs.

We will be working in five harvest areas to help improve the residual stand that has had a variety of treatments, with marginal effectiveness over the years.  It is a white pine stand that is transitioning to hardwoods, with poorly formed hardwoods in the understory and overstory. For the most part, we will be harvesting understory hardwoods (red maple), and white pine pulp and some sawlogs, to release crop trees of sugar maple, red oak, and white pine.

Harvesting operations should have a high expectation for workmanship, to practice directional felling and surgical extraction, and to ensure that natural progress is maintained toward improved quality and health of this woodland. When viewed this way, logging is more than a way to generate income from forestland, it is a silvicultural tool to implement treatments that add value to the residual forested stand.

The economic incentive to make timber harvesting economically feasible often leads to decisions that increase stumpage income, which may reduce the perceived value of silvicultural treatments that invest workmanship in future returns. When timber harvest is viewed as a silvicultural tool, then operational costs are investments in protecting and augmenting the continued production of high-quality timber and multiple-use objectives. Many intrinsic maintenance projects related to trails, landings, or noncommercial forest improvement practices can be performed within the context of ongoing operations. Attention to detail, and controlling the scope and impact of operations can allow for real financial value to be attributed to improvements in the residual stand.

It is the recommendation of this harvesting plan to prescribe a stocking reduction and crop tree release to enhance the growth potential of the quality understory species and to improve the residual stand value by reducing unacceptable growing stock in the overstory. Given the scope of this operation, and the expressed objectives of the Cornish Fairgrounds for aesthetics and recreation in conjunction with viable silviculture to produce quality forest products, this plan will call for an improvement harvest to reduce the low-grade component in both the hardwood understory, and the softwood overstory. This will take advantage of the best aspects of all age classes, and will prepare the stand for an overstory removal of quality white pine sawlogs in the next 10-15 years, eventually releasing the developing stand of sugar maple.

The day will include discussions on

  • Planning the Harvest: Defining the harvest area, determining silvicultural treatment, creating a harvest plan, evaluating product, and determining economic parameters.  Locating skid trails and landings. Planning for felling, product handling, and equipment requirements/ limitations, and evaluating the landscape for logging with animals.  
  • Starting the Harvest:  Demonstration and discussion of coordinating ing skid trails with the use of   directional felling to facilitate extraction, and cutting product to meet market specifications.  
  • Working Animals in the Woods: Demonstration and discussion  of basic care, management, and harnessing for working in the woods. Hitching and working safety for singles and teams of  horses and cattle. Setting realistic expectations, and understanding strategies for moving working loads in timber harvest.
  • Timber Harvesting Equipment for Draft- Animals: Discussion and demonstration of logging forecarts, sleds, wagons, and mixed-power forwarding strategies, in conjunction with transport distance, product dimension, landscape limitations, and silvicultural objectives.

Methods employed during the scope of this harvest will include:

  • demonstrations of crop tree release, felling trees in tight stands, pulling down leaners with animals, softwood pulpwood production,market specifications and silvicultural goals, and the value of precision extraction methods in timber stand improvement with draft animals.
  • single draft animals ground skidding softwood pulp to the landing in the adjacent parking lot.
  • demonstrations highlighting crop tree release, firewood/pulpwood production, market specifications and silvicultural goals, skid trail layout, hand-tools and wood-handling methods, and precision extraction.
  • harvesting single tree selection and crop tree release with a team or single, skidding from stump to trail, where it will be forwarded on scoot or forestry wagon to the main landing.
  • overall skid distance to the landing, in combination with continuous elevation drop, will make the use of forecart or arch effective as tools to haul trees and multi-stem hitches directly from stump to landing.
  • operators working independently, and safely, to highlight different extraction methods, i.e. Sv5 wagon, Plowden arch, Barden Cart, scoot, etc.

There will be opportunities on Friday for interested teamsters to work with the skilled teamsters under supervision. On Friday, there will also be in depth tours for Forest Landowners to view all aspects of the operation and talk to the experienced teamsters and foresters about their situations.  Saturday will have regular tours of attendees throughout the day with some specific workshops on aspects of draft animal power in the forests held back at  the fairgrounds.