Featured Goat Charioteers in the Homecoming Parade

Discussion in 'Pack and Working Goats' started by Damfino, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Rye Homecoming was today and Phil and I hitched up our chariots for parade! Phil wore his Thor thunder god outfit. The theme this year was pirates, but we didn't know that so we went with the Thunderbolt theme since we can't go wrong with that. The football team is the Rye Thunderbolts or "T-Bolts" as they are known locally.

    I went with sort of a lady Thor outfit. The T-Bolt's colors are purple and silver so I was going to wear a purple cape with my silver dress until I realized that we used all the purple material to line the coffin in our Halloween goat hearse last year. So I found a leftover scrap and made a sash instead. The wonderful purple wig came from Phil's mother and it was perfect for the occasion!

    Finn and Sputnik were pretty good considering how little we've driven them lately. I think we've only been out once since the International Goat Days Festival six weeks ago. Sputnik thought it was a race, not a parade, and he kept trying to trot ahead and pass everyone. Luckily he's very good at the "whoa" command but it meant that we went along in short bursts where we trotted and then screeched to a halt before trotting on when the parade got far enough ahead.

    Finn took a more leisurely attitude about the whole thing and almost got left behind a couple of times. Finn loves attention and doesn't mind lingering in the street while people admire him and take pictures.
  2. groovyoldlady

    groovyoldlady Goat Crazy!

    Jul 21, 2011
    Central Maine
    That is totally awesome! LOVE it!!!!!

  3. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator

    That is excellent!
  4. Suzanne_Tyler

    Suzanne_Tyler GreenTGoats

    Jul 19, 2014
  5. wifeof1

    wifeof1 Active Member

    Mar 17, 2016
    Boulevard, CA
    That is soo cool.
  6. New-goat-mom

    New-goat-mom Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2017
  7. Goatzrule

    Goatzrule Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2013
    So jealous, would love to do that with mine
  8. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    Looks great! How do Finn and Sputnik do with their bits? Is it possible to drive goats without bits or is that standard practice? I've been toying with the idea of getting a kiko wether for driving and packing.
  9. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Why not? You only live once!
  10. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    They do great with bits. In fact, Sputnik does much better in a bit. His roman nose is not conducive to keeping a halter centered in the right spot, and with that prominent bridge he is also prone to getting chafed. He tends to shake his head a lot when I drive him in a halter, and then the halter slides down his nose and makes him sneeze and then he gets angry. Finn does fine in a halter, but any halter will chafe after a while. They're not designed for side-to-side pulling and tend to rub the hair off the face. When we drive teams I can't use halters. The sliding action of the halters messes up the distances between my stub lines and then the goats can't turn and stop together as a team because they don't feel the same rein pressure at the same time. I use mullen mouth bits which are very mild and can slide smoothly back and forth through their mouths.

    As for that kiko wether--go for it! I think everyone should have a goat for driving and packing! :)
  11. wifeof1

    wifeof1 Active Member

    Mar 17, 2016
    Boulevard, CA
    Do you have any pictures of you driving a team?
  12. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Someone from the high school got some better photos of us in action during the parade.

    I'm grimacing, but Sputnik looks pretty gung-ho! He was really pulling at the bit the whole time and needed a lot of slowing down.

    Finn, on the other hand, was a real slowpoke and Phil had to break out his whip to encourage him to move along.

    Close-up of Sputnik. I don't usually drive with a halter under the bridle, but purple is the T-bolts color so I couldn't leave it behind. I also knew Sputnik would be fired up and pulling and I wanted to try driving him in a halter so I wouldn't have to yank on his mouth. It didn't do any good. Almost the first thing that happened was that as soon as he started leaning into the halter, the noseband slid down to the end of his nose and made him angry so I had to get out and snap the reins to the bit.
    Finn always looks so elegant and handsome in his bridle. He's absolute eye candy and he knows it! Homecoming2017.10.jpg
  13. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
  14. wifeof1

    wifeof1 Active Member

    Mar 17, 2016
    Boulevard, CA
    Wow. That is so cool. Now I have a zillion more reasons to love goats.


    Sep 21, 2014
    Cobbtown, Ga.
    Where do you get your harnesses?
    I have 2 whethers that will be 2 years old this coming March. I want to pair them in the pulling of a goat cart. Any help appreciated. I bought 2 pulling harnesses but they do not have the rear part for the braking of the cart when stopping. I'll have to modify these. This is closet thing I have found.
  16. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I bought these harnesses from Chimacum tack. They weren't cheap but they were worth every penny! However, I drive a LOT and we do quite a few parades and events so I want harnesses that look good. A nylon harness doesn't look amazing but is quite a bit cheaper than what I paid for my beta biothane harnesses. I still have my first harness which I purchased from Hoegger's Goat Supply 15 years ago. It's nylon and it looks pretty beat up by now, but it's still perfectly functional.

    If I were going to recommend a starter harness it would be the one from Hoegger. The Hoegger harnesses can easily be modified for team driving which is more than can be said for a lot of other harnesses. You would need to buy a pair of team coupling lines (reins) for team driving. Good luck with your project!
    groovyoldlady likes this.
  17. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Active Member

    They are so amazing! How long does it take to train them to do that?
  18. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    That's a complicated question! It takes daily time spent with your goats to make sure they're friendly and trust you. When our guys were babies up to two years old, we worked with them on little tricks and obstacle courses and hiked with them regularly so they learned obedience and trust and learned to tune into our voices. Spending time bonding with goats is easy and anyone can do it with no special skills, but it takes commitment. It's easy to remember with milking does because you HAVE to spend time with them once or twice a day every single day. With wethers it's easy to get lazy and forget to work with them.

    If your goat is bonded and trusting, it takes no time at all to teach them to wear a harness and pull. I hitched up one of my dairy does yesterday for the first time and walked her up and down the driveway with no trouble at all. She was great! I might use her tomorrow at the local Halloween celebration to cart kids around. If your goat is calm and gentle, it will pull a cart without special training as long as someone leads it.

    Teaching to drive while you ride in the cart is a different matter and takes more dedicated time and training. I start by making sure my goats are used to driving commands without the cart. I walk them with the leash in my right hand and a whip in my left. When I give the command to "walk on" I tap the goat on the hind leg with the whip so they learn that commands come from the rear, not the front. I might have to tug the leash at first to get him started, but soon he should be walking on with just a whip tap and then just a voice command. The fatal mistake that some people make is they teach the goat to lead without ever using a whip to teach the concept of commands coming from the rear. Then they get in the cart and expect the goat to move. The goat, meanwhile, is waiting for someone to come up front and get him started.

    The other fatal mistake is that people hitch up and try to drive away from home. The goat doesn't want to leave home and isn't going to cooperate. Try leading him away from home and driving him back until he's quite good at it. Or better yet, load him and the cart up in your truck and take them to a quiet location away from home where he will not be distracted by his barn buddies.

    We started our goats driving as a team when they were two years old. We didn't start them driving single until this year when they turned three. It is quicker to train a team because goats like to work with a buddy. However, it is easier to drive and work with only one goat. I know that sounds contradictory, but it makes sense if you try it. Driving a team takes more technique than driving a single goat, and you have to be very particular about your harness, rein, and hitch adjustments. You also have to concentrate on two goats instead of one.

    Training a team of goats takes very little goat training and a lot of self training. Training a single goat takes more goat training and less self training. We drove our goat team for only about ten days before driving them in their first parade. They were well-prepared and went perfectly. Training them to drive single the next year took very little work because they already knew how to drive as a team. Had we started out with single hitches I think it would have taken quite a bit more time to be prepared to drive in a parade.
    groovyoldlady and MellonFriend like this.