Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Make an Ox Yoke Fit Again

What a difference eight-months makes in the fit of the yoke on a yearling steer!
 In August the yoke was comparable to a shirt two sizes too big; by March Scout the Ox is looking cramped in his single-ox yoke. The neck piece has been let out to the bottom holes. The plastic spacers I had taped in place to "tighten things up a bit" have been removed from the bows.

The problem with the yoke now, is that it is too narrow across the withers (over the top of the neck), which is causing it to pinch the neck under load where the neck begins to widen into the withers.

The narrowness of the yoke over the neck prevents pressure from being distributed evenly against a wide area. Because the yoke cannot sit back against the withers the bows cannot lay on the angular musculature behind the shoulders (at the sides of the neck, sometimes referred to as "in the shoulder sockets.")

In the video below I show how I have widened the seat of the yoke, allowing it to rest back against the withers again, and allowing the bows to rest once again on the angular musculature above and behind the shoulders.

Video: Refitting a Single Ox Yoke on a Growing Steer

After widening the yoke seat, pressure from pulling is distributed over a much wider area as seen in the photo below.

Disclaimer: The yoke is experimental in nature. I am attempting to combine some of the best elements of the traditional shoulder yoke and the ox collar. Upcoming will be videos of the newly adjusted yoke in use. My hope is that others can learn from my mistakes as well as from my successes. Comments are welcome.

1 comment:

Tyler Christensen said...

I love your single ox yoke! I have always thought of the traditional, bow method as too complicated for the novice, single-ox teamster. It has been my dream for many years to have 1 ox and my own place, versus feeding 2 terminal animals. Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!