Pulling A Load With Oxen
Below is a short excerpt on proper pulling procedure for a team of oxen, from Oxen: A Teamster’s Guide To Raising, Training, Driving, and Showing.
“1) Both animals in the team must be trained to lean into the yoke together and pull with their heads up, slightly below an imaginary line off the top of their backs. The teamster stands beside the team, in a position that will able him to direct the animals in a turn or stop them. Provided the yoke fits the team, they should hold their heads as shown during a pull. If one animal drops its head or throws its head up, the bows need to be evaluated for proper fit.
“2) The logging cart or a forecart has a higher hitch point than a sled or stoneboat, but the same head position is desired, during a heavy pull. In this photo the off steer is lagging a bit, so the teamster will tap him with the goad stick, in order to keep the team working together.
3) This front view of the team and teamster, pulling a load, shows the comfort of the steers, as determined by their head position. The teamster can correct a steer that either speeds up or slows down while pulling.”
Oxen: A Teamster’s Guide, by Drew Conroy, is available in our online bookstore HERE.