I (FINALLY!) got my yoke and team pole built with doubletree installed. The polyurethane coating wasn’t quite dry, but what the heck–I couldn’t wait to try it out! So as darkness fell, Phil and I hitched up our team and went down the driveway and back. The wagon was empty about half the time while the boys got used to the rattle and the noise and having to walk nicely side-by-side (Finn likes to whack Sputnik in the face, which doesn’t really upset Sputnik, but it does make him stop moving). Phil and I each took a short turn sitting in the driver’s seat with the reins while the other helped manage them from the front.
This was a good opportunity for me to assess the fit of my harness and see what parts need a few more holes punched. The breastcollar rides too low and the quarter straps are a smidge too long (although they probably won’t be too long once I raise the breastcollar). The boys did really well for a first time out, and it’s way easier to drive them when they are hitched to a vehicle! We’ve ground driven them 2-3 times before with pretty lousy results. Goats have such a short “wheelbase” that it’s way too easy for them to suddenly whip round and face you or run around each other and end up on opposite sides to the one you started with! Horses are MUCH easier to ground drive! I think with goats it’s wiser just to wait until you can put them to a vehicle, which really helps avoid a lot of nasty entanglements and lost tempers since the pole and yoke keep them pointed more or less in the right direction. Unlike horses, goats aren’t really that upset by the wagon bouncing along behind them, and even if they are upset (I’m looking at you, Sputnik!), there just isn’t the same danger of them running over top of you and getting away.
Along with punching a few more holes in the neck straps, I really need to get them fitted to some bridles with bits so we can get away from these halters. Sputnik’s noseband kept sliding down off his Roman nose, and Finn’s kept riding up even though both were as tight as I could reasonably get them. And if I use bits, I’ll be able to use the overchecks, which should help keep Finn from whipping his horns side-to-side in Sputnik’s face. I think Finn is trying to be dominant and keep Sputnik behind him, but of course that doesn’t make for a very good team!