Suitable Breeds for Horse Logging

Some horses are suited to skidding logs, and others are not. October 1, 2010

A few weeks back I received input on using horses for skidding. The general consensus was to use percherons. I have, however, been given an older thoroughbred mare which I plan on crossing with a percheron. Has anyone used a team of thoroughbreds? What should I look for to match her up? She is 16.2 hands and about 1200 pounds. She is broke to ride and drive but not with another horse.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor P:
TBs are not a good idea. They are too high strung, which makes them good racehorses. Best choice for logging would be percherons, Belgians, Suffolks or any cold blood drafts. For a wealth of info, look up Draft Horse Journal.

From contributor M:
Yup. Gotta agree. Thoroughbreds are great horses for lots of things, but they don't have the proper build or temperament, by and large, for this type of work. Might look at mules - they come in all sizes - or some beautiful smaller but stout horses, for lighter loads, Haflingers.

From the original questioner:
I do agree with you both. I have heard thoroughbreds are warm bloods and we used to refer to them as dingy when I was in harness racing. Standardbreds could be rough enough - I have been kicked, bitten and stepped on, and that was just in the paddock. Once on the track, the show really started.

I had this mare given to me as a companion horse for what I thought was a draft horse I was buying, but things did not go as planned. However I will have her home next week, as I promised the previous owner I would give her a home.

I am concerned about the finer legs than draft. What about leg wraps? I can keep her under control with various bits. She appears to be of an even temperament and she is 12 years old and I plan on crossing her with a smaller draft stallion or a Halflinger.

From contributor M:
Bless you for giving a good horse a home. Too many are being just set free in forests, etc.
For a good article on how the structure of various types of horses relate to their best use, try to get hold of the Nov 2009 Equus magazine, Conformation Insights, A Question of Type. You may be able to find it online at Maybe nothing new to you there, but worth a look.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I am also concerned about the weight of the logs in relation to the weight of the horse or horses. I looked in the Knowledge Base, and a hardwood log of 16" top by 12 feet would weigh 1,000-1,200 pounds depending on species. I like the lighter draft horses which weigh 1,200 to 1,400 pounds. The larger can go around 2,000 pounds. What would be a comfortable weight for a 1,200 pound horse to skid? I would think a wheeled device or sled for one end to keep it from digging in would be a help.

From contributor C:
Leg wraps are no substitute for bone and tendon structure of the thoroughbred. The lower legs of a thoroughbred are very delicate compared to a draft horse, and I would be very concerned about causing a lower leg injury working rough ground.

From the original questioner:
Yes, after some research it appears that the draft horses are the proper fit and the injuries that could happen are too painful. I have researched the haflingers and it seems pound for pound they will out pull all other breeds, plus they are very beautiful and all around horses.