Kevin Cunningham

So here is a narrative of todays session. I haven’t worked them since last Thursday when Tex threw a major fit. Today I just wanted to keep it simple and do a long and low. We hitched to the stone boat and took a walk to the river and back, about a mile total. This is totally within their capabilities. I took a closer look at the yoke and I am 97.5% certain that the problem is not my gear. Everything was going smooth until we started to head back to the barn. I am possitive that Tex is barn/herd sour. Eventually I have to end a session and as I get closer he continues to get more and more worked up. I know the signs now, he starts tossing his head and rushing and getting that fiery look about him. Unfortunatley due to my poor training early on he has learned to turn in the yoke. He does this to get out of work. Now I have never simply ended because he twists in the yoke, but he did break some bows early on when I was still using pvc bows. I will never use pvc bows in the future. When this happens or ideally before it happens the halter goes on and I work on starts and stops to slow him down and refocus. This is starting to simply piss him off. I manage to get back to the barn without mush fuss but he is panting and frothing again. Instead of tying to the post and unyoking right away I take a little walk in just the yoke and he is fine walking away from the barn but then when I start back toward the barn he starts getting speedy again. It is less pronounced without a load and as the load get heavier the reaction gets greater. Now I haven’t been tying this team in the barn for a while, they have been grazing in the field with the other steers and cows. We have tons of grass right now and last season I battled mange with the other steer the whole time they were in the barn. So I think the barn simply means the end of work to him. Over all I would say the Tex is not a willing worker, he is lazy and has an impatient streak. I know he is not the best animal for a working ox but I am committed keeping him until I have another team started. I hope to start some more animals this year. I know I am not the first trainer to have a barn sour animal. So what is the best advice for working with a barn sour animal.

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