Or even two ! Carlos, a horse with Ardennais qualities, and Billy, a Brabançon horse, work in the Kox vineyards. With their master, they weed and work the soil.

Before the era of motorised tools, animals were essential in wine growing. Today, we witness a return of the horses in the vineyards. Compared to motorised machines, they are lighter, more precise and more social – which is why the Kox Domain asked the support of Hugo Beghuin. With two of his horses, he weeds and works the soil – a job usually done by Laurent with a tractor.

The main inconvenient of working with mechanical tools is the compression of the soil. The negative effects are :

  • The biology of the soil is slowed down. The earthworms are immobilised deep down in the earth and die. They can’t move up to the surface to search for organic material, which is necessary to improve the quality of the soil’s structure.
  • The rootstock of the wine plants is asphyxiated, thus unable to fix minerals anymore.
  • Finally, the moved soil situated above the plow pan suffers from erosion.

Horse labour in the vineyards leads to perennial and more valuable soils. The physical, chemical and biological life of the soil is reactivated. The agronomical potential of the soil is better exploited. With a more airy soil structure, run off rainwater is limited. The soil is prepared for more effective water infiltration, which allows for in-depth water reserves. Finally, the soil worked by the horse creates a soil structure which is favours a healthy vine, allowing the rootstock to develop in depth. The vine is more vigourous.