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Ox Team Driving Class May 7

On Saturday May 7, from 8:30 am - 4 pm, Garfield Farm Museum will offer a hands on class in driving oxen. Seminar participants will learn the basic care, history, driving commands and body language used to work with this important source of power still used in many third world countries today.

To portray 1840s Illinois, Garfield Farm Museum has 4 oxen, the same number Timothy Garfield had in 1849. Oxen are any trained cattle that are 4 years old or more, as at the age of 4, cattle are considered fully grown. Used for centuries, oxen have pulled any heavy load that needed power. From plows to logs, America depended on ox power to pull cannons in the Revolution and head settlers west over the Oregon Trail.

Taking 3-4 years to produce a fully trained ox, there are 5 basic commands an ox must master. "Come up" for moving forward, "gee" to turn right, "haw" to turn left, "back" to go into reverse, and "whoa" to come to an immediate stop, are commands accompanied by the driver's body position that must be learned by ox and driver.

The ox team Duke and Doc, with instruction by Dick Middleton and museum volunteers will teach the participants. Advanced reservations are required and there is a $60 fee for the class. Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt.38 on Garfield Road. For information call 630 584-8485 or email



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