Pulling vs Driving
There is a difference between a goat that can pull a cart or wagon, than a goat that can be driven with a cart or wagon. But either way, do not hurry their training. Any animal pulling a vehicle can be potentially dangerous.
It takes time to train an animal to pull a vehicle safely. Take the time to train them correctly so that you, the goat and any other passengers as well as spectators will be safe.
Goats are great animals and can be a joy to be around. Most are very easy to train to pull and drive. But don't be fooled. Just because you goat will pull the wagon you hook them up to right away as you man handle them, it does not mean your animal is either trained or safe in harness.
Keep in mind that goats are not built like equine, they can not pull large loads. There is much debate over how much weight a goat can pull. A good rule of thumb is twice the goats own weight. Remember that part of that weight is the equipment. Heavy harnesses as well as the weight of the cart or wagon should be considered in that weight amount.
It is best to train you animals away from distraction. Take your goat to an area away from other animals (I know, you are going to look at my photos and ask......what was that?) Having your animals full attention when training is not only the best way to have their full attention, it is also safer for animals and humans.
PLEASE NOTE: (I hate these disclaimers, but evidently they are necessary!) These training tips are the way that my husband Deron, our good friend Sally and I have trained our own goats. They may or may not work for you. We can NOT be held responsible for the training or lack of your with you and your goats. Training animals can be dangerous and you should take all precautions. Children should not be expected to train their animals without adult supervision.
HARNESS TRAINING (training your goat to wear the harness)
Training the goat to wear the harness is usually a very easy section. Most goats that are trained to harness are goats that have been handled and worked with for most of their lives.
If your goat was bottle fed, has been brushed, had it's hooves trimmed, has been handled and taught to walk on a lead rope either with a collar or a halter, then training your goat to wear a harness will probably be no big deal.
If you have not handled the goat you are going to train to pull, that is where you should start your training. You are going to have to work and gentle the goat before ever even getting your harness out of the packaging.
Each and every time before you put the harness on the goat, brush the goat out. Brush the entire goat, girth, legs, everywhere. Your goat will love this and grooming will become one of the reasons they like to pull for you. Brushing is important it is not just for beauty. When you are brushing the goat you are making sure that there is nothing on or in their coat or skin so that the harness will irritate them as they wear it.
The first couple of times you put the harness on your goat, just take it for a walk. Let it get used to the feel of the harness on them and how the harness will move on their bodies as they walk and trot.
Make sure there are no hanging parts on the harness. The harness when worn without the vehicle will "droop" a bit and that is normal, but if there are loops and straps hanging down while the goat is learning to move in it, the goat, or human trainers, could step into or on pieces.
Do NOT put any type of bit on your goat the first time you harness it. Do Not try to drive the goat from behind it the fist time you put the harness on it. Just simply take the goat for a short walk a couple of times in the harness and nothing else.
Reward the goat with both verbal praise and yes, those goat treats. Make a fuss about how wonderful you think that goat is....this goes a long way with a goat (they can be vain you know LOL).
The next couple of times you have your goat wear the harness pull back on the harness just a bit so that the goat feels pressure on it's chest where the pulling should be from. Again, reward with much verbal praise and treats.
Teaching Your Goat To Pull A Wagon (or any vehicle with shafts)
Working goats are happy goats, so go ahead, get off the couch, pull that old wagon out of the garage and convert it with shafts for your goat and teach your goat to pull a wagon.
When teaching your goat to pull a wagon you need to start with the right equipment. There are several types of Goat Harnesses and in my opinion some are better then others. You should use the type of harness for your goat that works best for you, your goat and your budget, get the best you can afford. A "D" harness, this is the same type of harness that people walk their dogs with, only the type that I have used for goats are from 1" to 2" wide and padded with polar fleece, lamb skin or fake fur fleece. It also has metal rings sewn in on each side. However the "D" type harness is my least favorite. You can buy harnesses for goats that are just like horse harnesses and some come complete with a bit made for goats. I designed a dog harness that I revised and worked over for goats and it works well for me (my goats do not have horns) It is not your typical dog harness by the way. A typical dog harness is not a good choice to use when having your goat pull. Make sure that the harness is in good repair and check it (and any harnesses or equipment you use on your goats) often.
Any type of harness that you choose to use to teach your goat to pull a wagon or a vehicle with shafts must fit correctly and have rings or loops on each side of the harness. The rings, when attached to the sides of your wagon shafts, become your "brakes" when stopping and also "slow the load" on down hills. The harness hooked to the shafts also becomes your vehicles steering. A recreational or an x-back dog harness will not be safe for this type of pulling, as this type of harness would "pull" forward on the goat causing the harness to come off the goat and the wagon would then hit the goat in the rear. I am asked all the time if a dog harness will work for a goat to pull the kids in a wagon....the answer is NO, a dog is built very different then a goat.
You also need a proper sized wagon for your goat. Radio Flyer sells wagons in about five sizes. An over sized wagon could injure your goat because it would be too heavy and overwhelming and a wagon too small will be too light weight for safe pulling and would not look as nice as a proper fitting wagon or cart when the goat is in harness. (I use the word wagon, but the same training is involved with a cart or travois, ect.)
Make sure that the wagon you are using is not only the correct size for your goat, but also in good repair. Check the axles and the tires to make sure everything is working properly and not rusting out. Check to make sure that the "tub" is safely attached to the frame. If you are going to paint the wagon, you may want to do that before converting it for your goat. You will also want to check out the wagon for safe use from time to time before hooking it to the goat.
The wagon should be modified with shafts. Having a goat pull a wagon with the handle still attached is dangerous for both the wagon rider and for the goat. Take the handle off the front of the wagon and add a "U" shaped device that will fit around your goat with about 2-3" on each side lead way...you can bend 1/2" or larger conduit for this, make it out of PVC piping or wood. At the end of the "U" shaped device, now called shafts, about 3 - 7" in toward the wagon add brass "dog leash" slide bolt snaps; one on each side. We do this by drilling wholes through the metal conduit and bolting a brass snap on each side with the snap side up toward the sky. These snaps are what you hook into the rings on each side of the goat's harness.
After you have your wagon ready, and a good fitting harness on your goat for pulling, put a leash on the goat's halter or collar. With the goat leash in one hand and the wagon in YOUR other hand go for a walk. In other words DO NOT HOOK THE GOAT TO THE WAGON for your first couple of times out. This will allow the goat to see and hear the wagon and not be spooked while tied into it in harness. If this goes well do it again the next day.
After a couple of walks or as many as it takes until your goat does not care about the wagon noise, hook the goat into the wagon shafts. DO NOT ADD A CHILD to the wagon!! Take the goat for a short walk, MAKE A BIG DEAL out of the goat pulling and encourage the goat with treats and verbal praise as you walk along. After a few good walks like this you could then add a small child or a light load. If your goat will be hauling firewood or even an average sized adult, you will want to increase the goat's load slowly over several days or weeks. Let the goat muscle up for the work. It would be very discouraging to the goat for you to add a huge and hard to pull load the first few times (or days) the goat came out to work for you.
Now that your goat is well trained to pull a wagon the fun begins, start buying and making decorations for parades in your home town! However, make sure your goat is well socialized before you enter your first Parade. You may want to take your goat to "town" and have it pull it's cart or wagon around a few parking lots to get used to the distractions before actually entering it into a parade.
Much to my dismay, some people do hook their goat to the wagon with the handle still attached to it with a dogs ill fitting recreational harness, BUT! this is not safe for your goat or for your legs, WHAT EVER YOU DO NOT LET THE WAGON (or any load) HIT THE GOAT IN THE REAR!! Going downhill without shafts and using only the handle of the wagon is going to be a problem, you need someone in the wagon to drag their feet down hill so that the wagon does not hit the goat. You could have another adult in the rear of the wagon with a rope tied around the rear axle to hold the wagon back. The shafts on the wagon are the best way to train and have a goat to pull a wagon.
A few inexpensive places to look for a child's wagon... Do you have one in your own garage that your own child has outgrown? Do you know someone who might have one that their child has outgrown? You may also want to check garage sales and thrift shops in your area. For large and giant breeds of goats look for wagons for sale in the garden section of your local hardware store or mini horse or small pony carts (word of caution, most pony carts are too big for a goat, a Shetland Pony's cart might work for a very large goat, check the size BEFORE you buy). Antique Shops usually have some KOOOL wagon's for sale, just make sure that the wagon is the right size for your goat. Antique wagon's will probably cost more then they are really worth as a goat cart and most need at least a bit of repair, check the wagon over very well and make sure it is safe for your goat. Wooden wagons and carts are made and sold in goats sizes at Flea Markets....beware, most of these, if not all, are made for looks only, they would not be safe or hold up for a goat to pull or someone to ride in.
Goats can and do pull more then just carts and wagons. Goats can also pull travois, sleds, rigs and scooters. I am sure somewhere out there in our great big world goats have pulled just about everything, including and not limited to someone on skates and skis and... well, you name it. Goats are good sports and are pretty easy to train.
If you would like to train your goat but don't have the money to buy a wagon or cart, you can still have a good time and for next to nothing have your goat pulling in Parades in no time at all. You can and several people do, use a horse sized halter turned sideways or upside down if you will, on smaller goats for a harness. The halter may even fit a bigger goat by adding more webbing to it around the belly band. If you attend a Horse Auction you will be able to buy one or more used horses halter for about $1 and a new one for less then $10. Maybe you even have a friend that would have a used horse halter hanging in their barn.
Then you will need something inexpensive to pull. Cut two long branches or small trees about 5'- 7' long and one about 2' and another 3' long. Using the "string" or "rope" from your goats hay bales tie the branches together in and "A" shape with the top of A crossed over in a small "X" then ad a the extra 2' branch just below the 3' cross piece... you now have an Indian Travois. These are beautiful decorated and used for parades.
|I can only tell you what has worked for my husband Deron and I training our own goats. I CAN NOT be held responsible for the type of training you do with goats that may or may not be ready for this type of training.|
SIMPLE AND FREE TRAVOIS
Here's an idea of something you can build for free before spending the money on a wagon or cart for your goat. A good way to start.
To make a very simple (and basically free) travois for your goats to pull.....Cut two long branches or small trees about 5'- 7' long and one about 2' and another 3' long. Using the string or rope from your goats hay bales tie the tow longer branches together in and "A" shape with the top of A crossed over in a small "X". Use the 3' piece for the cross piece in the A and add the 2' piece just below the 3' piece. You tie your load into a blanket and lash in between the two cross pieces... you now have an Indian Travois.
Pony Carts are made for a pony. They are tooooo big for most, if not all, goats.
If a cart does not fit your animal correctly (any animal, goat, pony, dog,horse, any animal) it is not only uncomfortable for the animal but unsafe for the animal and the people involved. If the cart is too small the ends of the shafts will be pointed upward. This forces the harness against your animals belly. When you add weight to this cart the animal can, and it has happened, that the cart can actually lift the animal, in a painful way, off the ground. If the cart is too big, the ends of the shafts will point down. This can cause pressure and pain to the vertibie that the harness is sitting on....or the collar that is on the animals back. Add weight to this cart and you might just injure your animal so badly it will need to be put down. *These two painful points for an animal may even cause the animal to act up causing
a wreck while you are in the cart.* An animal in pain is not focusing on what you are trying to tell it.
Further, a Pony Cart is toooooo heavy for a goat to pull. Goats are not built like equine. Goats can not pull as much, percentage wise, as an equine. By the time you hook a goat to a pony cart, that is the weight limit.
Some people have the attitude that "Oh, it will work, we are not going that far." or "The kids just want a little ride, they do not weigh much." or "Well, it looks ok, let's just give it a try." Those kind of thoughts are signs of poor goat/animal ownership. It is not fair to the animal. If you are going to work an animal, especially one that you want to carry you or pull you, be fair and be safe.
MINIATURE HORSE EQUIPMENT
There is a difference between Pony and Miniature Horse Equipment. Some Mini Horse Carts, Wagons, Carriages and even Harnesses will work for some goats (the body part of the harness, not the bridle).
It will depend on the vehicle you choose and the goat you have trained for pulling/driving. (of course) A small goat or a slimmly built goat that has not been pulling for very long probably would not be able to handle a heavier miniature horse vehicle with an adult on board. A stout goat with several miles already pulled in harness would be just fine pulling a light or smaller person in a light weight mini horse vehicle.
If a person weighs over 150 pounds, and drives what I would call a "light harness goat" meaning a goat that is slimmly built or smaller then average sized dairy bred, then the weight of the vehicle the animal is pulling it very critical.
Some of the Boer Goats are bigger then the smaller Mini Horses. Goats, however, are not built to pull as much as an equine. (that is period). So you really need to keep all the weight you are putting on a goat in mind, including some of the heavy harnesses people use on their goats.
You must weigh out all the factors. Many of the equine equipment, including Miniature Horse equipment, is too heavy and too large for most goats.
You must also factor in the terrain that the goat will be pulling the vehicle on. Hills in a rocky area will be more of a problem for the goat to pull in than a flat paved area. We could of course go on and on about terrain and mileage that you will be asking the goat to pull into the equation too.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT FOR DRIVING
Training a goat to drive is one area of training where you should really take the time to make sure that the goat understand and obeys the commands correctly.
If you are in a hurry.....the Parade, Birthday Party, 4H Fair, Competition, is next week, start now for next year.
You must take time when training a goat to drive. You will need to work with the goat 15 minutes to a half an hour twice per day everyday. Any more then that is drilling (and goats hate drilling) and any less is not enough to get your training down in the goats mind.
How long will it take to train the goat? It will take as long as that goat needs it to take. You will not be safe in the cart until you have put miles on in your walking shoes behind the goat as you drive it with just harness on the goat and long reins in your hand. No cart, no wagon, no short cuts.
The first thing you want to do to train the goat to drive is to develop a relationship with it. The goat needs to know that you respect it, but are not going to allow it to disobey you.
How do you develop this relationship? By spending time with your goat. Get out and walk your goat. Do not let it push you off the trail, butt at you or the like. Groom the goat daily, brush and pick it's feet out. Make the goat stand correctly and for the time it takes to groom it. However, this is not a butting match. This is not a punch the goat time. It is a time for teaching the goat that you are the owner and it is the animal. It is a time to gain your animals respect.
If your goat gets in your space, push it out. If you goat butts you, pop it. Pop = a quick flat handed, let you know I do not like it pop, at the same time say "No!" In a firm, but not yelling voice. The pop is just a pop....not a spanking, not hitting over and over, but also not just a touch. A pop. But after the pop, it's over. You go back to grooming or walking or what ever it was you were doing. You do not need a stare down after....it is over.
If you goat is behaving, use your "nice voice" and praise the goat. when you are through grooming and petting your goat (including handling it's feet), give the goat a treat.
While you are grooming the goat, use the halter or just it's nose to gently move to the left and to the right. Move the goat's head to the side as you tell it "Gee" for right and "Haw" for left. Hold the goat's head to the side for just a moment. Reward the goat for turning it's head for you with verbal praise.
From there, after a few days. Take the goat for a walk after the grooming. Take if for a short walk working up to a longer walk. This will do two things. First, this is a good training time. Walk the goat on a lead and make it walk respectfully, but encourage the goat to walk ahead of you. Second, you are building muscles you will both need when starting to train the goat to drive and pull weights.
To encourage the goat to walk ahead of you, if you have a helper (or human kids) have them walk ahead of you and the goat and encourage the goat forward.
After you have walked the goat a few days, put a harness on it after the grooming and before the walk. Let it walk in the harness. On the second or third day while walking the goat in harness add a short leash to the back of the goats harness and as the goat walks forward, pull gently back on the leash attached to the harness as pulling a little load....just for a few seconds. Reward the goat with voice praise. Repeat this as you continue to walk the goat.
If you have a helper to work with you and the goat, all the better. If you have someone that can help you, have them hold a lead rope on this halter (along with the reins you will have as you walk behind him). Their job will not be to do anything until the goat acts up/misbehaves. All the lead holder is to do is back you up. They do not say anything, the do not yank the goat around or anything like that. What they will do is restrict or reinforce the movement that you are counteracting/working to get. If you want the goat to go left or straight or right or stop, the lead holders job is to use the lead rope (while near the goats head) to reinforce what you are cuing the goat to do with the reins, but do not have the leverage advantage that they will.
Once your goat is ground driving well see if you can get a helper again. the helper will come out and pull the vehicle around while you work the goat. You will be ground driving your goat, the helper will be walking around with the vehicle....going first out to the side from a ways away from you, then come in closer. The helper will walk in front of the goat, then beside the goat, and just off to the side and behind the goat.
If you goat already pulls a wagon, you are steps ahead. If not, back to the vehicle training with a helper. You will want the helper to do this at least two days, twice each day. When the goat is used to the vehicle all around it, now the helper can come up beside the goat with it and let the shafts touch the goat as it turns, left the shafts touch the goats side as you walk along. Most goats don't care a bit about the vehicle, some will.
At this point you will have to decide when you will hook the vehicle to the harness. You will have to use your best judgment. DO NOT PUT A RIDER IN THE VEHICLE, DO NOT GET INTO THE VEHICLE. Ground drive the goat for a few sections before adding weigh to the vechile. It is best to add weight rather then people and surly not a child to the cart/wagon. Continue to ground drive.
When all is well, when you are convinced that your animal with the training you have given it, is ready. At your own risk add a person or get into the cart/wagon and drive the goat.
Just remember, just because an animal drives well the first time, or the third time or the 20th time, does not mean you should let your guard down. Always be ready to correct bad behavior.
NEVER! when driving an animal use the reins as your "getty up". In other words do not use your reins, one in each of your hands, to slap the body of the animal to make it go. When a person does this, not only are you pulling on, floppy and rattling the bit and or halter/face of the animal, you are teaching the animal that when the reins move on it's back, it should too. This is bad behavior to teach...think what happens with the reins of driving animals as you get in and out of the cart/wagon/sleigh or sled. Carry a driving whip, IF you know how to use one. They are not for hitting the animal, they are for cuing.
BITS, BRIDLES AND HALTERS
Most goats (IMO) do not need a bit. Some goats, however, certainly do need a bit. It is best to train without a bit to start.
Your/their halter does need to fit the goats face correctly and snug. An ill fitting halter is not going to give the same effect as one that fits on the face correctly. The halter should "cradle" the goats head.
An ill fitting halter will slide on the face as the goat moves and as you cue the goat to turn and stop. The sliding can distract the goat rather then train or cue the goat. It will annoy the goat and could possibly poke them in the eye as it slides.
You may train your goat to "give to the reins" as you would train a horse with "suppling" (giving to pressure and moving their heads where you want them to go with gentle movement) try to train your goat with this before using a bit in their mouth. If it goes well (and don't hurry the training) you may not need a bit.
Deron, my husband, and I know many people that own horses that think a bigger, better bit will solve their horses bad behavior.....no, training the animal will solve your behavior problems.
If you think a bit on a goat will solve your problems, if you think that a bit will shorten your training time....please, buy a bicycle, you are less likely to get hurt. Training takes time. Training must be consistent. Training must be fair to the animal. No two animals will train the same or take the same amount of time.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD A GOAT BE TRAINED TO PULL
You know? LOL I think it is like horses.........some horses can be ridden at 2 y/o. Some groups of people insist that a horse be ridden at 2 y/o, while other trainers want to ground break and only ride them after 3 to 4 y/o. Then there are the breeds to consider.....like the Arab bred horses that mature slowly and knees can be done an injustice if ridden too early, so some goats. Which breeds of goats? I honestly am not that familiar with each breed to answer.
I do however think a goat can be taught to PULL at one year old or even much younger. Teaching a goat to pull an empty cart, and to ground drive at a year old or earlier I believe is good foundation training practices. When to add weight to the cart and how much to add.........well that is a can of beans that every goat trainer will probably answer differently. LOL Me? I add weight to my animals slowly, probably much slower then the average trainer.
For me, there is so much more then age of the animal involved. After the goat is one year old and around two years old the goat really has to be evaluated before adding as much weight as the animal weighs to a cart/wagon it will be pulling. Is the goat in good health? Are it's legs not only straight but also strong from more then just moving around in a small pen? What is the goats conformation like? How are it's manners? Is it in heat? Has the goat pulled an empty cart over many different types of footings/ground for the different sounds the cart/wagon will make? Has the goat been walked/hiked in the area I will first be using for it to pull a cart with weight? Has the goats hooves been trimmed? You do not however want to trim the goats hooves right before it starts pulling wights in a wagon/cart.
Before adding a person or load of 100 pounds or more, I work the goat up to that weight. Adding a bit more weight daily (if you train daily)
Where should a goat begin to pull a load of 100 or more pounds for the first time? On flat ground. Pavement is fine but not necessary. And area where the goat is familiar with and without distractions, like a dog barking at it as it starts working. If the goat has worked up to it, it can pull that weight for quite a little distance, say 1/2 mile or even one mile to start, without any problems.....then or after, the goat should not be sore from pulling that on the day after.
Personally, to me, goats are greedy. Bring the pay off (treats) and they will try anything. A baby goat will pull a fat adult person for a treat, or at least try to. There is no rocket science to training a goat to pull a cart. The burden, as they call it, to me lays on the owner/trainer for the goats health and safety. But, when you goat does work for you.....do give the pay off.
GETTING READY FOR THE PARADE
Many of us have been to watch a parade and thought, "Boy, I would love to be in the parade with my goat". Being in a parade with your goat is fun and exciting but will require a certain amount of PATIENCE, some times an over abundance of patience.
You don't just get up the morning of the parade and go join in the line up. The first thing you must do is prepare the goat. If your goat lives near the City or County this will help. I live in the country now, and might get four cars on our Road a day (I love it) but the goats do not get much desensitizing to the noises. You may be laughing at this but remember, you may not have horses and/or marching band coming by your houses either. My goats on the other hand are used to the horses, dogs, and loud music, let's just say I like the music "pumped up" loud in the truck. I love Rock and Roll. So, now you get my point...there is A LOT in a parade that a goat must see and hear before entering and being freaked out by it. No one wants to see a scared goat running at them wildly or running circles in a parade.
Not only do you need to get the goat used to the sounds and sites around it, but lots and lots of loud people, as well as the "get up" that the goat will be wearing like backpack, cart, wagon, clothes, hats...
You should take your goat to a crowded park, parking lot or the like to practice for the Parade. By taking your goat out to train for the parade away from your home, you will also know ahead of time if everything (wagons, carts, etc) will fit in your vehicle. I have heard more then once of folks, on parade day, lamenting that their gear does not fit in their vehicles that they wanted to use in the parade.
Make sure your goat is comfortable wearing, pulling, pushing or whatever you are going to have the goat do in the parade. Take whatever it is your goat is going to be doing in the parade to a crowed park and practice, not just once, several times over several days long before the parade day. Don't forget treats and water.
When you call the Parade Committee about joining in the march, tell them you have a goat, and/or you are a goat group, ask them not to place you directly behind horses or directly in front of Marching bands, remind them of a goat's acute hearing and that goats might spook the other people's horses.
The day of the parade now fast is approaching. Get all your things together. You will need a lead rope, halter/collar, harness, water, bowl, and treats. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes and nice or silly clothes. I'm am sure you have seen people in parades and you wondered "What were they thinking?" Here they have this beautiful animal, groomed to the teeth, spotless carts, backpacks, wagons, whatever, but the person is in their barn clothes. The person is not groomed and is wearing old torn clothing.
Not only do you worry about how the goat and vehicle looks, and this may mean a new paint job on that cart, but also yourselves. Comfortable clothes are a must, barn clothes a no no!! Dress to the theme of the parade.
Some parades require paper work to be carried, or numbers to be worn, don't forget those either when you are loading for the parade. Making a list of everything you will need to take with you for the Parade and double checking it on Parade day is a wonderful idea.
Decorating your goat, wagon, rig, etc to the theme of the Parade is half the fun, but be careful. Don't use glass Christmas Ornaments, if they would come apart, or drop off your vehicle or animals and break on the ground your goat or another animal might cut their foot or eat it.
If you decide you want bells on your goat's harness, sewing them on with thread will NOT hold them on your harness or collar. The bells will fall off as you are walking along with the goat. Use dental floss and sew around the bell many times. Recheck your bells each time you use the item they are sewed to. Weaving the bells into the webbing or leather is best. Be careful putting anything on your goats that might spook the goat, and just like the item being pulled, you need a practice run with your decorations too. Make sure all decorations are safe for your animal and won't fall off.
If you are walking with a goat club or 4H, you will want to make or have a Club or 4H Banner made with the club name and maybe a phone number or website address. You also may want to make up fliers or business cards with club information to hand out to folks, and there will be some people attending the parade that are interested in joining your group. this is a nice way to literally pick up active members, ey? The more organized and professional you look the more likely you will be invited back to participate in this and other Parades. Many times there are prizes for best Parade Entrant.
If you do decide to hand out candy or dog treats to the spectators, be very aware of what your goat is seeing at his view at your hip high surroundings. Walking up to strange dogs with your goat in custom or pulling a wagon, etc, is really NOT a good idea. Also watch children and adults walking up to your goats.
Be sure to get a newspaper the next day and look for you and your goats photo.
All of the facts in this article hold true for a person taking their goats to schools, churches, etc for demos or visits too or really, any time you are out in public with your goats, you represent all goat owners when you step out into the public eye.
SHOWING YOUR HARNESS GOAT
Before you head out to show your goat in a Harness Class, there are some basic things you should know.
First of all, leave your ego at home. Leave all your pride and ill feelings for others at home. Go to the show in a good mood, happy and remember....showing your goat is what you have been looking forward to. If things went wrong this morning before leaving for the show, or on the way...it is all behind you when you arrive. Goat Shows are fair and few between, enjoy the day in a good mood!
PARENTS OF 4Her's THIS SECTION IS FOR YOU TOO! Kids learn from how their parents act. If you are taking your child to a 4H event, as a parent, behave! Don't talk badly about the other kids, their parents, other animals, the judges or how the event was put on. If you don't like something, save it for next year and volunteer to help so it can be presented your way.
Also, this is their project and their day. Parental help is needed and appreciated, but the idea is for them to learn by doing. Have your child do as much as appropriate for their age. By the same token. The 4H kids do need your help, your encouragement and your kind words. Be the wind to help them fly.
When you are showing your goat in any class, be sure you have read and understand all, all of the rules. If you have questions, ask before the class. Do not ask the Judge ANYTHING during the class.
Let me say that one again. KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU ENTER A CLASS! I have seen more people enter in to classes with animals and become angry because it did not go as they thought it should. I have heard "That judge does not know what her is looking at." or "That judge does not know my line of animals." the list of snide remarks go on and on. The truth is the person entering usually did not understand the class and what the judge was looking for. KNOW THE RULES!
Please remember, each and every time you are out with your goat you represent us all. Each time you take your goat down the road, enter a parade, sign up for a goat show class, you repent all goat owners. Do us a favor and handle yourself and your goats well. Work with clean and groomed animals. Make sure your wear nice clothes when out with your goats. Please don't play with your buck then head out to the show in your barn clothes. It is always a good idea to take a second set of show clothes with you. A back up set just in case your show clothes get soiled or torn.
When you show your goat in harness, make sure your equipment is clean and in good repair. Check everything a month before the show. Does the vehicle need a new coat of paint? Is your harness clean and fresh looking? Harnesses need care too. Check and make sure the clothing you are wearing are well fitting and in good repair. Try them on the week before the show to make sure that you are pleased with what you will be wearing.
Get everything, and I mean everything ready and gathered, if not packed in the vehicle, the day before the show. Get up the morning of the show an hour early. You never know what might happen and you might just need that hour. Eat a good meal before leaving for the show site. You might not get a chance to eat while at the show.
Before you leave the driveway, reread your list. Do you have everything you need? Do you have directions to the show site? Do you have your show numbers? Do you have your copy of the show rules with you and easy to find?
Now have a great time at the show. Relax, smile and have a wonderful time!
If you do not win. Try harder next year. Train more, train better. Do not get mad at your goat, the judge, the other competitors. If you can at all video tape your performance and rewatch it to see where you may have flawed. Don't get angry, get better!!
I would like to invite you to join a group of folks, some that drive their goats, some that have their goats help by pulling items around the farm,
some that are packing with their goats, and many that just want to learn how to train their goats at the Yahoo Groups site listed below.
HOW MANY GOATS DOES IT TAKE TO TRAIN A LLAMA TO PULL A CART?
How many goats does it take to train a llama to pull a cart? As many that are good friends with your llama to keep it calm. Did we plan these goats to train these llamas? LOL No, our goats follow us everywhere and when we took walks, rode bikes, trained llamas, or even trained dogs and or goats.....they were always in the middle of it.
Normally I am the first one to say that training for cart or harness breaking should be one on one. But you know? I guess we did not even really notice the goats with us when we were training. I think they may have even kept the llamas calm. We trained four llamas in a couple of weeks to pull the cart and all of them had goats at their sides. I always say it depends on your own abilities, the animals you are training and the area you are training in.