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Horseman and horse dragging timber
Forestry Memories
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No: 3068   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1960
Horseman and horse dragging timber

Photograph is courtesy of Inverness, Ross and Skye Forest District and staff at their Fort Augustus office.

No information with this photograph which could have been part of the display in the Farigaig Forest Visitor Centre at one time. The only clues to this photograph location and details is a Forestry Commission photograph file number D4280 and note to say that this is part of a Conservancy collection!

It is a good portrait of the horseman - can you name him? The date has been guessed as 1960 but could easily be several years before or after.

The Clydesdale type horse does have an unusual harness for hauling logs as it appears to be more like that of pulling a carriage. The view is partially hidden but the side trace chain runs back from the collar and is held up by two support chains which hang from the back band. The trace chain is then further held up by harness that covers the rear of the horse like a hip and breeching strap arrangement, passes on to a ‘swingle tree’ which is held quite high and passes 4-5 feet further on to join up with the trace chain from the other side at which point the chain around the log or logs is attached. When travelling empty back up the wood for another load it is possible that the swingle tree would keep banging into the back of the horse’s rear legs. Perhaps someone can confirm this arrangement?

This horseman does not use a long rein and there is evidence of a light chain halter running back to hang over the top of the hems. This gives rise to the view that this horse was mainly guided by voice from the rear as leading a horse in the wood was very difficult and obscured the view of what was happening to the wood load such as it running behind a stump and jamming.
Picture added on 21 October 2015
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