Do you know what the best thing about training oxen in the snow is? They no longer disobey you by grazing when they should be focused on training! Now that the snow is finally covering all the delicious grass here on the historic farm site, working with the boys has proven a little more fruitful than in the past. Many trainers who deal with this grazing problem will actually invest in training muzzles that simply prevent the steers’ mouths from reaching the grass. I must say, once spring rolls around I’m going to have to invest in the same thing if I want to maintain any progress with these stubborn boys!
But as much of a pain in the butt as they can, their cute antics soften me up in a second! The first day I walked them out of the barn to their first site of the snow covered landscape, Merle stopped dead in his tracks and looked up at me as if I was forcing him to set foot on an alien planet. That look of defiance in his eyes is nothing I haven’t seen before! Of course Roy, on the other hand, the much more roll-with-the-punches kind of guy, just went ahead, strolled outside, and dipped his mouth in the snow to see if it tasted like milk as much as it looked like milk! No such luck for poor Roy.
I’m hoping that this snow will give me more opportunities to get the boys to pull people on sleds. So far the most they have pulled is a tire and I would really like to push the weight up a bit. They are absolutely old enough now to be pulling heavier loads. It’s time we all buckle down!
Merle and Roy weren’t nearly as amused as I was during their little winter photo shoot! (photo-credit: Rebecca van der Meulen)