Logging with Draft Animals

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Thursday November 15

8:30 AM  –  4:00 PM

Logging with Draft Animals

Thursday - Sunday, Nov. 15 - 18

MOFGA'S Common Ground Education Center, Unity


This four-day workshop begins with Introduction to Low-Impact Forestry, a required pre-requisite for the following three days of instruction in logging with draft animals. The one-day introductory field course will cover woodland ecology, silviculture, legal issues, management plans, equipment considerations, and more. Students who have taken Introduction to Low-Impact Forestry in a previous year may be exempt from Day 1 and have the option to join the rest of the class starting on Day 2, Friday, Nov. 16. Please contact forestry@mofga.org to be pre-approved if this is your situation.

The three days of instruction in Logging with Draft Animals will cover the foundations of draft animal care and health and how to develop working relationships with draft animals. Students will be actively engaged in the many facets of working animals in the forest. The course will cover the basics of horsemanship and how to drive a working animal, including terminology, equipment, harnessing, and voice and body commands. During the latter half of the weekend, students will work alongside instructors to gain confidence driving animals with varying loads and through obstacle courses of varying difficulty. Weather permitting, students will have the chance to spend time in the woodlot moving logs. Students will have an opportunity to drive different types of animals and use a variety of equipment. Due to the small class size and high instructor-student ratio, students will be able to receive personalized feedback.

Participants who complete the entire workshop will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Schedule: Class will begin on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8:30 a.m. and end around midday on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Safety & Accessibility

  • The course takes place outdoors and involves traversing uneven forested terrain by foot. For questions regarding accessibility, please contact forestry@mofga.org at least one week in advance of the workshop.
  • Please be prepared for all weather conditions. Warm clothes, rain gear, and sturdy footwear (steel-toed boots) are essential. MOFGA can provide hard hats and orange vests.
  • Due to concerns about animal welfare and safety, we are unable to accommodate additional animals on-site. Students will work with draft animals provided by MOFGA instructors; these animals have been trained to work with students and are used to working in unfamiliar sites. 

Price: $400 (includes pre-requisite Intro to LIF course). Price is inclusive of housing on Friday & Saturday nights and all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on Friday & Saturday as well as breakfast on Sunday. Please let us know if you will need housing for Thursday night as well.

Food & Accommodations: Please let us know of any dietary preferences in advance. There is a refrigerator available for storing any food and snacks you'd like to bring as well. Housing is rustic but indoors and offers electricity, heat, hot water, bathrooms, and a kitchen. There is a limited number of shared bedrooms (bring your own pillow, linens and/or sleeping bag) as well as plenty of space for you to pitch a tent in MOFGA's (heated) Exhibition Hall.

Evening programs (optional, no additional charge): All participants are welcome to stay after class ends on Friday and Saturday to join us for dinner, snacks, and good cheer. On Friday evening, instructor Nick Zandstra of Vermont will give a presentation on communicating with trees. We will show a film and/or hold a bonfire (weather permitting) on Saturday night. On both nights, you will have the opportunity to get to know your fellow students as well as participants from the two other weekend tracks (Chainsaw Safety, Logging with Hand Tools & Small Machinery). Rustic accommodations are available at no extra charge for those who wish to spend the night on-site. (See Food & Accommodations for details.) Skip the extra driving, and make a weekend of it!

Scholarship: Interested in a partial or full scholarship? Please fill out a scholarship application form by October 1. We will make scholarship decisions and inform all applicants of their status by by October 15.

For more information, contact us at forestry@mofga.org or (207) 568-6019.