Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Magic Algebraic Equation

(x + y) * (z)(z)(z) = (d)

For most beginners, getting a feel for driving oxen doesn't happen all at once.  In a class, it's nice to have a few students to trade off the goad so the students can go through a number of critical steps:

1.  Watch an experienced teamster do (x) correctly (where x= Hitching to a cart, for instance).

2.  Do (x) incorrectly.

3.  Feel sheepishly humbled.

4.  Do (x) passably, with coaching.

5.  Handoff and watch steps 2-4 with someone else attempting.

6. Think about what worked and didn't work.

7.  Start back at (x) suddenly better than before.

The key in step 6 is that the student gets to add (y) (Where y= "why").

It's easy for students to identify THAT what they did didn't work, but when they step back and watch someone else's struggle, the "why" (y) becomes apparent.

Then, it's a simple matter of multiplying those steps in their head by several (z)(z)(z)'s (where z= sleeping on it) in order to end up driving (d) oxen.  The more z's, the better.

After repeating the equation over a decade, I'm starting to feel like a pretty good beginner myself.

Yesterday, we had two students, Russ and Tristan, out at Tillers for day one of Ox Driving Class.  They did really well.  Both had cattle sense to start with, which helps greatly, and both were easily coached.  Day two starts in a few hours.  We'll see if they had their zzzz's.  I hope so.

No comments:

Post a Comment