MEDFORD, Wis. (AP) — Old and new technologies are merging in rural Wisconsin, as U.S. Cellular is using draft horses to help install cellphone equipment.
The horses are being used to haul equipment up steep wooded hillsides where trucks have gotten stuck in the mud and all-terrain vehicles haven’t been up to the job, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“It’s pretty neat to be delivering today’s technology with a method that’s been around forever,” said Brandi Vandenberg, a U.S. Cellular regional planning manager for Wisconsin.
The horses pull the high-tech gear, which weighs nearly a ton with all the pieces included, with a wooden wagon. The equipment is needed to upgrade cellphone service in sparsely populated areas.
The large draft horses usually work in the logging industry, dragging timber out of the woods where a truck or tractor would make a mess.
“I love them horses,” said Medford dairy farmer and logger Jason Julian, who owns the horses. “I have calluses on my hands and a few scars on my body because we work hard. My horses can have a couple of calluses or a little mark, too. But I am not going to do anything to hurt them.”
The animals can haul equipment through deep snow and work in environmentally sensitive areas where a vehicle would damage the ground.
“With freezing and thawing, it’s been a challenging combination,” Vandenberg said, noting that the horses were brought inn after four-wheel-drive trucks got stuck and had to be pulled out.