Glen Kerr hitches up Trace and Jay

Horse drawn

Quick farmer Glen Kerr reflects on the pull of a career in horse-driving

Jay and Trace stand calm and ready for a hard day’s work on the Kerr farm in Quick. They’ve been working together for years and it shows.

“Not all my horses are this quiet,” says Glen Kerr, laughing. “My young one would have his head hooked on that pole, he’d have his bridle off by now and you’d think the flies were out.

“But these guys are unbelievable.”

“These guys” are Shires—tall draft horses known for their easy-going temper and great pulling strength.

Hitched to a cart in town, Kerr said that Jay and Trace can easily pull four or five tons.

On the farm, Kerr keeps 16 Shires as dedicated winter sleigh teams.

“The horses get to trust you,” Kerr said.

They also get to trust each other. Kerr hitches his young and old horses in teams so the young ones can learn a bit of patience from the veteran pullers.

Kerr and his wife Dolores have run winter sleighs on their farm for 20 years. But they didn’t start doing it commercially until 2003.

That was the year that Glen retired, along with many of his horses.

From 1987 to 2003, Kerr and his horses had a totally different career—logging.

“You had to be on the job by seven in the morning, horses out of the barn and ready to go at eight o’clock,” he said.

While Kerr and his horse teams skidded logs out of the bush to a self-loading truck, a faller worked ahead of them cutting down and stripping trees.

Horse logging was a great way to make a living until the BC Liberals came into power in 2001, said Kerr.

“They eliminated it completely,” he said. Under the NDP government, Kerr said B.C. horse loggers were able to take a small cut of the province’s timber supply ever year.

That changed when the BC Liberals brought in B.C. Timber Sales, an agency that for the first time had horse and machine loggers compete at the same timber auctions.

Few horse loggers could compete.

“To me it never did make sense,” said Kerr, adding that there is still a niche for horse logging.

“Machines are so much faster at harvesting the timber, but they don’t do selective logging,” he said. “They clear cut.”

Kerr said he had always planned to retire to run sleigh teams. The Kerrs keep enough horses that they can run up to three sleighs at once, carrying groups of ten through the Quick hayfields and up into wooded areas.

 

Just Posted

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Motorhome explosion in Houston

A motorhome by the Houston Motor Inn had an explosion Sunday, Dec.… Continue reading

SD54 elects board positions

Trustees also appointed to committees.

Christmas is a comin’

Some of Houston residents are getting the ball rolling for the upcoming… Continue reading

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

Most Read