Display of horse power lights up forest Discovery Day

Horse power

18 September 2012

Northumberland may be the land of giant timber harvesters, but there’s still room for an older form of horse power.

Picture attached: Danny McNeil, from Byrness, set to train a new apprentice horse as a logger to follow in the hoof prints of the much missed Saracen.

Danny McNeil, from Byrness, on the edge of Kielder Forest, has carved a career as a logger, sometimes using horses instead of machines to haul timber out of woods which are difficult to work, or where treading lightly is kinder on sensitive ground.

The relationship between man and beast is a close one – and when Danny’s trusty 21 year old cobb Saracen died last year, he thought it might signal the end of his horse logging career. But now he has taken up the reigns again and bought a 9 year old dark bay cobb, Katie, who he plans to teach the ropes of logging

The apprentice will be joined by Danny’s other trusty logging horse, 20 year old Scout, at this year’s Forestry Commission free Discovery Day at Kielder Castle on 30 September. They will be put through their paces moving timber and giving people an insight into how most forests were once managed. Danny said:

“You spend lots of time together with your horse and you get incredibly close. It can take two years to train a logging horse, but Katie is bit older with some working experience, so I hope it won’t take as long. Even after many years in the business it’s still one of the best feelings in the world to be working horses in the woods.”

Elsewhere, there will be insect safari (4pm), craft workshops, orienteering trails and chance to find out more about red squirrels in their major English stronghold. Activities run from 10am to 5pm.

Pam Warhurst, Forestry Commission Chair, said:

“We are an organisation built on the passion and experience of people who really care about what they do and this is reflected in the way we manage the Public Forest Estate in England. We want to welcome everyone to get involved in our Forest Discovery Day.”

For further information about the Forest Discovery Day, and to download a free leaflet of fun activities, go to www.forestry.gov.uk/discoveryday

Note to editor

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk

2. Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.

Richard Darn - richard@richarddarn.com - Mobile: 0775 367 0038

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