The Farm-Based Education Network


Anyone out there using workhorses or oxen with students 18 years old or younger?

 I know there are some good colleges teaching older students to work with draft animals, but don't know of any high school doing that work.


Dana Foster


Tags: draft, horses, oxen

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Stonewall Farm in Keene, NH (Contact Sarah Antel)
Horse Power & Pony Farm in Temple, NH (contact Kris Young)
Farm School in Athol, MA (Contact Reid Bryant)
Also try Codman Farm in Lincoln, MA (contact Pete Merrill who started Big Ox Farm)
Hi Dana,
At the FARM Institute on Martha's Vineyard we are exploring an oxen/working steer program with kids, both during our own programs and via a renewed 4-H program which we will be hosting. Last spring we spent a few days at the Farm School and got excited about Bradley and Pat's work with their Holstein pair. Last summer, just to get started, we had kids 8-14 working with a Belted Galloway calf that was already to old to be successfully socialized.
We hope to raise some new spring calves this year as working steers (if we get males). In the meantime, we have inherited Danny, an 11-yr. old Milking Shorthorn, who was well-trained as part of a pair and is doing well with us as a single ox. We are hauling hay and other loads with him during programs with small numbers of 11-14 yr.olds this winter and spring.
What are your plans for draft animals?
Sidney Morris
Education Director
The FARM Institute
Thanks for the reply!
We have no specific, short-term plans for using oxen on the farm. We do have a 5-acre market garden, and oxen could work there, as well as in the usual hauling-stuff-around chores (hay, logs, fencing materials, etc.) Last summer I took Tillers International's "Oxen Basics" class, which was great, and left with the feeling that I could safely and usefully involve our students in ox training and handling. I want to hear from other oxen-and-education combining folks how useful the oxen are around the farm and also to what extent young people can work with the oxen themselves (rather than just observing).

Hi Dana,

We acquired two week-old Jersey bull calves last September from Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont and have been having a blast raising them, training them and sharing our delight with the community at festivals and in programs on the FARM. They're now steers, 220-230 lbs. each at 4.5 months, and we work with them individually in halters to train them with commands, as well as together in a little yoke. I took the Tiller's class in November and had a wonderful time -- those folks are so great! Let us know if you want to chat more or if you've gotten your own animals. I find the kids are really drawn to and capable of working with the steers and the big OX (with supervision). Happy New Year!



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