Monthly Archives: March 2009

More on Oxen Basics

February 22nd was cold and icy so we worked indoors with the boys. Chuck had rigged up a rope, carabeaners, spreader, and tire to practice pulling. Debra followed so she could pick up the tire at the end of the barn, keeping the rope taut and out of the way as the team made a sharp turn in the narrow alley and headed to the other end.

When we mastered pulling the tire, we hitched up the cart for the first time. Even tho Debra had rattled the cart past the boys’ pen twice a day every day for the previous week, Jolly still was startled by its sounds. It was fortunate that the barn door was closed! The first run was start and stop until Debra and Chuck each took a calf by his halter and worked together to coax the team to pull in unison. When we reached the far end of the barn, we unhitched the cart, Debra rolled it back to the other side while Chuck turned the team, walked them back and rehitched for another go. The second run went very well.

The third try was a little rough after running the cart up a manure pile. But we persevered to the end and finished on a good note with lots of praise.

Janet showed up in time to help yoke Litmus and Spook together for the first time. With Janet pulling their halters, Chuck pushing from behind, and the “veteran” Litmus modeling how to behave in the yoke, Spook caught on quickly and the little team progressed well.

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