Oxen and Draft Horses
Ox Teams

Plow Day

Oxen & Draft Horses


People have farmed for centuries using oxen and draft horses for traction and power. Farms functioned in a cyclical rhythm with energy from the sun and human and animal labor applied to the land, which in turn nourished its laborers. With the advent of fossil fuel energy, however, that cycle is no longer the driving force of life in the Western world. Fossil fuel energy has offset this energy cycle and separated consumers from producers and producers from their own earth.


The rising energy crisis provokes us to reevaluate our relationship with energy. The farming community has witnessed a rise in interest in draft animal small-scale farming, which promotes a more closed energy and input cycle than do modern industrial agricultural techniques.


Tillers, along with living history museums around the world, preserves historical draft animal farming skills. While Tillers, the Amish, and horse enthusiasts worldwide keep alive the spirit and modern efficiencies of farming with horses, Tillers also works to preserve and advance the rarer skills of working cattle. Oxen play a central if often unsung role in agricultural history worldwide.


Internationally, oxen are often more economical and readily available than horses. Tillers leads international projects (mainly in Africa and Central America) to promote and refine the use of oxen for farming and transporatation. We teach training techniques that are low-stress for the animals and result in more responsive teams. We also work to improve the design and local production of neck yokes and farming implements. Tillers uses traditional American farming techniques and implements as learning examples, re-inventing history for modern implementation, production, efficiency, and adaptation to local environments and needs. Whether your needs and interests be practical, historical, or international, Tillers is your resource.



Oxen at MODA 2008

Zebu Oxen in Uganda

English Yoke






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