Ireland – 2022 – A horse-powered farm.

Heavy draught horses, Angus beef cattle, sheep, and a firewood business.

On my recent visit to Ireland I travelled to County Cork to visit my old friend David MacDonald. We met 25 years ago when he travelled from Bristol to Cumbria to buy a pony and trap from my dad Walter, and then drove it back to Bristol. He went on to start up the Bath Carriage Company, running horse-drawn cabs in that city, with a spell as a horse logger.

In 2020, after 25 years of hard work and a sharp eye for an opportunity, he sold up in England and bought a stock rearing farm in the hills of Cabragh, near Macroom in County Cork, Ireland. He has stocked the farm with Aberdeen Angus suckler cows (some Red, some Black) and a mighty bull, and has brought in two heavy Trait Breton young draught horses from France, to work along side his old faithful workhorses.

Using an I & J heavy-duty ground-drive hitch-cart fitted with a PTO, which adapts to different farm implements, he now operates a horse-powered farm, although he still uses a tractor where necessary.

The I & J Horse-drawn heavy duty ground drive hitch-cart.

Horse-drawn implements include mower, tedder, and baler. Bale carting, manure spreading, fertiliser application, hay making, chain harrowing, timber hauling and even log-splitting is done by horses.

David’s main enterprise is raising pedigree Angus cattle, but his holding includes 100 acres of woodland, so he is now offering this woodland, with the use of his horses and equipment, as a solid opportunity for individuals or a small group who would like to establish a commercial firewood business. See image below for details of this offer, or scroll down for more images of the horse-powered farm.

Horse-powered firewood business opportunity.

View from the driver’s seat…

Horsedrawn manure spreader.
Bale carting to feed the cattle.
The bale-cart has a tipper….
This 3 horse hitch cart, adapted from a logging arch, has a standard ball hitch for different implements,
A mini-digger loading fertiliser into a three-horse spreader.
Horse-powered hay-making
The side-rake attached to the hitch cart.
Top fields, surrounded by young spruce plantations. David plans to plough the firebreaks for cropping.