Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Mules › working mules with a wooden yoke
- July 10, 2008 at 2:31 pm #39686
believe it or not, in some parts of the world mules (sometimes donkeys) are worked in wooden yokes. however, they ARE NOT put directly on skinn, as with the oxen , the yoke itself is laid on a padded collar, so the actual yoke doesn’t touch the skin of the animals.
these yokes are NOT ox yokes, for oxen, rather they are specifically designed for mules and donkeys.
i saw this system be used in Spain a lot. if you want to chack it out, type “mulas yunta” or “mulas arado”
this is surely a completely different, and new system for most of mule people, and is one of the oldest ways to harness equine power efficiently. but let’s be honest, just because the wooden yoke is often asociated with oxen doesn’t mean that this system is inferior to harness or breast strap. in fact it covers about the same amount of surface as a harness.
so let’s see its good and bad points:
i believe this system does offer some benifits
1) it offers more control to the driver. the animals are attached together, where one goes the other has to.
2) simpler and faster harnessing than the common harness. if you are skilled with woodworking, yoke and padding can be homemade and it requires mo leatherworking or ironworking.
3)it has fewer parts and breakdowns than the harness. there are no ropes, buckles, chains, etc, which can break.
1) the animals should be the same size, although i saw donkey and a mule harnessed together too. but then again, most mules thar work in pairs are similar in size.
2)you have to improvise making the yoke, because there are no blueprints or instructions on how to make it.
and i delieve that, after concerning the matter, this system does not cause pain to the animals.
1) i don’t know that much about mules, but from i saw on the pictures ears are turned in front, and animals have an inquisitive expression. surelly, if they would be in pain they would be sulking.
2) i know this much about mules: they don’t like pain, and will refuse to work if it causes them pain. so there’s no point in having a system in which they are bulking and refusing to work. especially if you depend on these animals to do your farm work and feed yourself!July 13, 2008 at 12:02 pm #46971
This seems similar to what some of the European animal powered farmers are using, in particular the Polish horse farmers. It makes a lot of sense and could be manufactured on the farm. It seems that having an external rigidity would keep the animals from getting sore and lessen the likelihood of the collar collapsing from the animals pressing into a triangle.
Nice to see this forum taking on an international flare…….
Thanks for posting Bivol…September 27, 2008 at 11:43 pm #46972
neat pictures. it’s always interesting to me how many ways there are to work animals. I agree that the animals look well content.
i don’t know much about donkeys and mules…. would it be true to say that their necks are generally not as cresty and arched as the average horse? i am thinking that it seems like a yoke works best on animals with a slim neck and prominent withers .
since mongolian / chinese ponies tend to have cresty necks and low withers, maybe that was a driving force that led the chinese people to develop the neck collar: (i.e., because the yoke didn’t work well for their horses). ? just philosophizing here…..September 28, 2008 at 10:11 pm #46973
true, mules and donk they don’t have arched necks at all.
i doubt the yokes been used by farmers in poland, these were used in spain.January 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm #46974
I found similar information and pictures while I searched yesterday for informations about curricle and curricle harnessing (driving a two-wheeled cart with two horses, very much in fashion in the Victorian England).
this is much about sulkies but the historical references are quiet interestingFebruary 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm #46975
I know I’m late to this, but just wanted to say i love the photos. Here in Spain we still use a single wood yoke frame sometimes fitten to a bought or homemade coller. these are still available new in rural hardware stores. Albert. Malaga & Granada . Spain.
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