Cart rides and driving lessons

After the ribbon race and the obstacle course prize-giving, we broke out the wagon and harnesses and gave a little harnessing and hitching lesson to those who were interested. Most of the kids were not, but their parents were fascinated and asked lots of questions. We took the team out of the arena, which was much too deep and dusty for driving, and out into a quiet shaded area nearby. Here I let the kids take turns driving the goats while I walked alongside.

We used halters instead of bridles for this activity of course, and the goats were very willing and patient with their young drivers.

We made a pretty tight turn here so I helped the young driver by taking the reins ahead of her hands and guiding the goats’ heads while cueing Sputnik’s outside hip with the whip. The boys are really starting to learn how to turn the wagon properly by crossing their front legs over instead of trying to bend their bodies on a curve.

The last person to drive was Nick, the father of five wonderful kids whose gentleness and patience with the goats impressed me. The boy Tommy was thrilled to ride behind his dad and hold the long ends of the reins (talk about a backseat driver!) Nick wants to train a goat team to drive but has never driven any animal before. I spent some time showing him how to handle the reins and whip properly. He was a very good learner but of course needs practice. Driving a team is much like playing an instrument. It takes a lot of finesse and coordination to do it well, and these things can only come from spending time at the reins.

2 thoughts on “Cart rides and driving lessons

  1. I am looking into training some of our goats for team cart pull and My question is do you ever take your goats out on the road and if so do you have to protect their hooves from the heat of the road and stones? We live on a county road part asphalt and most gravel and after I get them used to pulling in the pasture and I am confident they are ready for travel I might like to take them up the county road or in the 4 th of july parade but the heat of the road in the summer and the gravel I worry about their feet. Thanks in advance.

    1. I have never had problems with my goats’ feet and gravel, nor have I even thought about heat from the asphalt. However, I live in Colorado and it doesn’t get all that hot here. My goats also have very thick, tough feet because of the terrain they live on. I have a lot of rock on my property so gravel roads don’t bother them at all. If your goats live on soft footing and your area gets hot then you do need to be more careful of their feet. They will tell you if the pavement is too hot for them by tiptoeing quickly over the surface and rushing to the side or toward shade and then refusing to move off of it. If gravel surfaces make them sensitive, the best way to fix it is to take them for a daily walk on a gravel road until their feet toughen up. This is good for every goat’s feet regardless of whether they are trained for driving and it will cut down on hoof maintenance tremendously. Good luck!

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