Last Sunday we took the girls out in public for the first time. We attended the Collins Draft Horse, Ox and Pony Club’s 30th annual Plow Fest. It made a great place to introduce them to crowds. It is a laid back event with plenty of area to maneuver and get away if need be. I cringed as we pulled up and saw that the field was covered in rye grass nearly up to my knee. The girls are very good about not grazing while working at home and so it hasn’t been covered much but this was too much to ask. They did get a few bites in but not nearly as bad as I anticipated and they did start to respond to the “head up” command. I got a chance to introduce them to the furrow and, while far from perfect, I think they did pretty well. As always we had a lot of fun talking to people about oxen.
There is more to see and do at the plow fest than just watch plowing. My whole family including my almost two year old had a good time enjoying the wagon rides, pony rides, petting zoo, craft fair, herding dog demonstration, music, bake sale, and food. Thank you to all the folks that work hard to organize and run the event! If any of you are close enough to Collins NY, we would love to see you and your cattle! If you’re not then find a similar event in your area. It is a great training tool for your cattle as well as being a great deal of fun.
A couple of thoughts that came from the trip:
I knew that I should have taken the girls off pasture for a couple of days beforehand but I didn’t get it done till late the night before. By then they had full bellies of grass and didn’t want to touch the hay I put out. The next morning they where still loose as a goose and made quite a mess of themselves and the trailer on the trip. I will definitely make it more of a priority to pull them off pasture next time.
My dad, my late uncle, and myself have been attending the plow fest off and on for the bulk of its 30 year history. I got to thinking about the early years when one of my father’s ox mentors frequented the plow fest. His name was Johnny Lamb from Friendship NY. I know he was a Devon man but he normally had a single roan Durham ox from my memories. I remember Johnny from a number of trips to his home and attending a few of the same events. I was too young to remember any of his wisdom but I do remember the pride I felt when he drove my first steer at the Collins plow fest many years ago.