So yesterday, when I stopped in to Tillers and I noticed Zacarias, one of Tillers' staff members from Mozambique, working the calves we started in the Oxen Basics class, I grabbed my phone and headed out to capture a few seconds of driving.
What I immediately notice is that Zacarias doesn't waste time. He moves from place to place without urgency, but with speed nonetheless. When he stops the calves to praise them, he scratches them, then gets back to work.
This is effective for a couple of reasons: First, it establishes a tone for the animals. They are out to work, and shouldn't expect many unnecessary breaks. Second, and maybe more importantly, it keeps the animals engaged. Particularly for flighty animals, breaks give them a chance to look around and notice scary things. Even for calm animals like these, a break is a chance to look for grass, or companions, or other distractions.
I often tell students to take an animal that is misbehaving and "make their world smaller" by forcing them to focus on their driver (using techniques such as whispering or turning very sharply or some other task to bring them back to attention). Zacarias, on the other hand, drives with that focus already built in. The animals never mentally wander in the first place. He isn't fixing problems, he's avoiding them.
And that's just one reason we should watch the professionals.