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Suzi explains. “For decades the land has
been under a tremendous amount of
pressure from developers, and we didn’t
want to see it split into hundreds of
smaller parcels. So, as soon as we were
able, we bought it ourselves.”
ichael and Suzi first learned
about horse-powered
logging from the healing
harvest Forest Foundation (hhFF),
a non-profit organization dedicated
to sustainable forestry through the use
of animal-powered timber harvesting.
hhFF put them in touch with John
hartman, who serendipitously was
already an old acquaintance. With the
esy of Sustainable S
aid of his two draft horses Stella and o c
Dolly, John helped the moreheads log P
recently-fallen or damaged trees from
Landowners Michael and Suzi Morehead (left and center) review site plans with Lynnette Batt
their property for use as lumber. of Sustainable Stables. The Moreheads are learning how to use “green” practices to design
Highfields Farm in a manner that protects the ecological health of the land and preserves its
As John explains, horses provide a low-
unique pastoral beauty.
impact and environmentally-sustainable the job done. All you hear is the sounds and barn apartment. The run-in shed
means of harvesting timber. “The horses of the forest and the horses working. No will also have lights and fans powered
are very maneuverable in the woods, tractor, no smell of diesel. Just woods by roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV)
and allow me to select damaged or and horses.” panels, and the moreheads are applying
dying trees for harvest, as well as those for cost-share funds to assist with
trees with maximum lumber value. In addition to harvesting wood from constructing a solar-powered livestock
Furthermore, I can minimize my trees on the land, the moreheads are water pumping system. Pending
impact while moving the timber out of also salvaging an old log cabin on the favorable cost estimates, they plan to
the forest, which is where most of the farm. “Anything and everything that install additional PV panels and sell any
environmental damage from traditional can be safely salvaged and reused will unused electricity back to the power
logging occurs.” be,” notes michael. grid.
To John, “horses represent the original HARNESSING THE SUN’S PROTECTING WATER QUALITY
alternative energy. They run on fuel I POWER, TOO he steep terrain of the property
can grow on my farm, and I don’t have ne of michael and Suzi’s more
to be much of a mechanic to work with
them.” Ever-willing to teach others, O
ambitious plans is to power the T
presents specific challenges
for michael and Suzi in their
farm using solar energy. With effort to protect the ecological health
John let Suzi and michael try their hand the help of a specialized contractor, the of their land and nearby water quality.
at the reins. “I have ridden my whole moreheads plan to use solar hot water Soil erosion and stormwater runoff are
life,” recalls Suzi, “but there is something and radiant heat. This is a technology a real concern, particularly because the
about being on the ground behind the where water indirectly warmed by the property is bordered by the Dan River,
horses and hauling logs out of the forest sun circulates through a network of a scenic river known for its biological
that is amazing. They work so hard for pipes under the floor, enabling it to act and recreational value. To address
you and you really work together to get as a giant radiator to heat their cabin these issues, michael and Suzi have left
a 200-foot forested buffer along the
The Healing Harvest Forest Foundation (HHFF) was established in
river’s edge, and they are researching
1999 to implement and support community-based sustainable
opportunities to permanently preserve
forestry. They advocate for sustainable timber harvesting through
“worst-first” single tree selection, in which damaged and dying
this buffer through a conservation
trees are selectively harvested for timber. They also promote the
easement. In addition, they have
use of animals (horses, mules, and oxen) to extract fallen logs
installed bio-swales downhill of the
from the forest in an environmentally-sensitive manner. To learn
more about the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation, visit www.
pastures to collect stormwater runoff
before it reaches the river. To help
continued on p. 6
holistic horse™ • February/march 2010 • Vol.16, Issue 65
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