OXEN PROVIDE POWER FOR 18TH CENTURY AMERICAN FARMS
Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, horses in America were used primarily for riding and pulling light vehicles. Although two draft type horses, the Conestoga Horse and the Vermont Drafter, were developed in the new nation, both were absorbed into the general horse population by 1800. Oxen were the preferred draft animal on most American Farms. They cost half as much as horses, required half the feed and could be eaten when they died or were no longer useful. Oxen, however, worked only half as fast as horses, their hooves left them virtually useless on frozen winter fields and roads, and physiologically they were unsuitable for pulling the new farm equipment developed in the 19th century. The revolution in agricultural technology, westward expansion, and the growth of American cities during the nineteenth century, led to the emergence of the draft horse as America’s principal work animal.
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