Posted: 14/11/2013 at 10:41
The harrow may not have achieved a lot on the ground, but it is a recognised technique for accustoming draught horses (and presumably oxen) to the feeling and noise of something following along behind them whenever they move.
Remember the Eagles' song Take it Easy ..... "don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy" is an analogy for someone getting stressed by their own life, and refers to young carriage horses being spooked by the carriage they were pulling.
From what I could see that was what was happening with the oxen on tv last night and I think they may have had more fun and games with them than we saw!!!
As for Southdown sheep - a lovely docile breed - I used to keep a flock of them and they're probably my favourites. I think they've been chosen for their docility rather than for authenticity, as the breed was only established about 200 years ago. The rangier and livelier Norfolk Horn type of sheep or even the ancestors of the Lincoln Longwool would've been more authentic but they might have been more difficult for the programme to manage.
Nevertheless, a fascinating programme and I look forward to the next one.