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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our local (Frederick, MD) 4-H Packgoat club had their annual obstacle competition on September 20th. It was an overall great event and reasonably well attended. We've been spending some time building obstacles and writing official rules and judging guidelins, so it was a great opportunity to put that all to a test as well as all of the hard work the kids have been doing for the past year.

My daughter was showing "Oreo", a 2 1/2 year old Alpine and her lead packgoat. The night before the competition we do a "Spectator Class" event where we demonstrate what packgoats can do and then invite the audience to lead a goat around some of the obstacles. Oreo is a ham, loves the attention and so after several other goats had done a few rounds and retireed for the evening, Oreo was still going strong .... until the last of the line had a chance to "walk the goat". We got a lot of good visibility and the Frederick News Post interviewed a bunch of us and spotlighted us in the paper the following day with a real nice article.

The competition the following day began with promise and Oreo was looking really good:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30678220&l=6f677c15b8&id=1044149268

But then I think he decided he had done the darn obstacles just one to many times ... and the cows we shared a tent with kept him up all night ... so he just stopped:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30678261&l=b58735c854&id=1044149268

Coaxing with a treat didn't really help ... eventually my daughter dropped the lead and walked away and of course Oreo would get up to follow, not liking to be left alone. This cycle of Oreo sitting in front of obstacle, daughter walking away, Oreo getting up to follow, repeated quite a few more times before they were able to complete the course.

Though it may have cost them the Grand Champ ribbon, it sure was a bit of comic relief and good fun for the audience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A-Frame

Thanks ... I am pretty happy with most of the obstacles.

The A-frame is designed to come apart to make it easier to carry and load. I wanted something fairly sturdy so it would last the club a long time, but of course that meant it would be heavy. I think the final solution is a good compromise.

Here is a view of the underside which will give you a better idea of construction:



The overall dimensions are 3' x 4' which works out pretty well. The blocking is 1x4. I first cut the top (which is 1/2" outdoor rated plywood sheathing). I then screwed together the blocking, using the top as a guideline to keep it roughly square as I was screwing. The ends of the side are cut to 45 degrees.

Note the top edge. These are hinges, just cheap brass hinges from home depot. I knocked the pins out of them and used a 1/4" steel rod through all of them. Once both sides were completed, I laid the hings out (with steel rod through them) and attached to underside of frame. This steel rod lines them up and then can be removed to separate the two sides for transport. I cut a loop in one end of the rod to make a handle for easy insertion and removal.

On top, I put 1x2 treads and then mixed sand with outdoor paint and painted it (don't paint the hinges). A roller works really well for this but brushes tended to just smear the sand around.

On each side I put in eye screws. The two sides are then attached together with a chain and carabiner. This allows you to adjust the angle by moving the carabiner down a link or two:



If I were building again, a few things I might consider:

  • 1x3 instead of 1x4. Probably plenty strong enough and would save weight.[/*:m:kw22zgpf]
  • Reduce width. Again, just to save weight. Our teenage kids can haul it as is just fine, but lighter is always nice.[/*:m:kw22zgpf]
  • Handles. Perhaps just holes in the side 1x4.[/*:m:kw22zgpf]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Plank

We include a Plank Walk in our obstacle course as well. In previous years it was just a board on cinder-blocks. But this year we decided to make something a bit more sturdy and safer (we had the plank fall over with a goat last year):



This was the final design after a couple of failed attempts. It is a 1x6 (painted with outdoor paint mixed with sand again) screwed to a 1x4 on edge:



The legs are then designed to attach with bolts and wing nuts so it can easily be taken apart for easy transport.



The legs are about 16" high. They are glued and screwed together, 1x4.

Makes a nice bench before the show too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Teeter

The teeter is made of 2" PVC:



It took a little searching to find the 2" double-wye used at the top. I built this as trial and error, roughly cutting lengths and drying fitting until it seemed right. It is about 2' tall ... I was intending to build something that had adjustable heights ... this is achieved with multiple holes in the uprights.

Through those holes I put a threaded steel rod. Washers and wing nuts on the outside to keep it in place.

The plank is a 1x12, painted with outdoor paint mixed with sand. Underneath is just a U-strap used for attaching plumbing pipes. The threaded rod goes through this to keep the plank in place ... and it is just slight off center to allow the teeter to "return" to correct position for next goat.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_VysKbyTPRWY/StI1k ... C_0043.JPG

This is a really nice and sturdy obstacle and reasonably light. The plank is 8' long to make it easy to fit in the back of the truck ... I think 10' might be better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Other obstacles

Turn-around ring:

This is 4 of those foam pool toys. Not sure what they are called, but they have a hole all the way through them. I took a small wooden dowel and glued into one end of each. They can then easily be "plugged" into one another to form the circle.

The kids then have to lead the goat in, turn them around, and exit. Makes for a nice photo-op so we try to place this near the seating so family and others can take pictures. Hopefully not of a goat taking a seat in the middle of the competition though! :shock:

Parallel boards:

Just a couple of brightly painted 1x2 boards. Goats walk to end and then handler backs them up, hopefully without having them step out or resist ... or take a seat! :roll:

The Stand:

A sturdy wooden box. Goat is supposed to stand on top, wait a few seconds until released and then move along. Taking a seat beside the wooden box is *not* the desired way to approach this obstacle. :oops:

Pool of water:


Weave Poles:


Distraction:

The corn on the left is the distraction ... goat is lead past the distraction and should hopefully not try to eat it or move along easily once handler directs him away from it. Meditating in front of the distraction is usually best done before or after the competition, not during. :?
 

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These are so cool! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to make some of these obstacles over the winter for next year's pack goat competition at County Fair. We've only ever had access to horse jumps and barrels to turn into makeshift obstacles, and they work great but we don't have things like the teeter-totter or A-frame. We brought a truck into the ring last time and the goats had to jump into the bed. We also set up a fence for the goats to jump. One end was up a lot higher than the other, and you got different points depending on which end your goat jumped (more points for the higher end). We also had a low pole with branches hanging down from it that the goats had to walk under (without eating).

I like the paddle pool idea. Did you have to put any sort of no-slip treads on the bottom?
 

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These help a lot! Thanks!! We were hoping to add the A Frame and teeter this year for our fair. Our fair is in June and this year they said pack goats was just for show. It is supposed to be official this year, but I don't know what to do. Would you mind sharing your judging rules and guidelines? If I can get my photos switched to this computer, I will put up a few from our fair.
 

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Shasta County Fair, Jump. Not really sure I liked how this turned out. I Like yours much better!
[attachment=2:atdyhl0p]IMG_4382.JPG[/attachment:atdyhl0p]

We used barrels cut in half so that the goats had to walk and jump from one to one.
[attachment=1:atdyhl0p]IMG_4391.JPG[/attachment:atdyhl0p]

This was our turn around table.
[attachment=0:atdyhl0p]IMG_4399.JPG[/attachment:atdyhl0p]
 

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Shasta County Fair, We used a mail box and the kids were supposed to open the box, take out a letter, close the box and put the letter in their packs. Well, when most of the kids got to this point, they all discovered that they forgot to put the packs on their saddles, LOL! You can also see that my daughter didn't tighten her saddle on correctly. All the kids were very nervous, but they had fun!
[attachment=1:32s1nn7s]IMG_4403.JPG[/attachment:32s1nn7s]

What do you do with a very big goat? This big wether had a problem on the plank. If I remember correctly, the plank was 12" wide.
[attachment=0:32s1nn7s]IMG_4405.JPG[/attachment:32s1nn7s]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nanno said:
These are so cool! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to make some of these obstacles over the winter for next year's pack goat competition at County Fair. We've only ever had access to horse jumps and barrels to turn into makeshift obstacles, and they work great but we don't have things like the teeter-totter or A-frame. We brought a truck into the ring last time and the goats had to jump into the bed. We also set up a fence for the goats to jump. One end was up a lot higher than the other, and you got different points depending on which end your goat jumped (more points for the higher end). We also had a low pole with branches hanging down from it that the goats had to walk under (without eating).

I like the paddle pool idea. Did you have to put any sort of no-slip treads on the bottom?
Thanks! The goats don't have a problem with traction in the pool ... they walk right through it, though some of the kids did want to line it with rocks and other obstacles to make the footing more tricky. I was pleased to just see the goats step into it at all!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
goingnutsmom said:
These help a lot! Thanks!! We were hoping to add the A Frame and teeter this year for our fair. Our fair is in June and this year they said pack goats was just for show. It is supposed to be official this year, but I don't know what to do. Would you mind sharing your judging rules and guidelines? If I can get my photos switched to this computer, I will put up a few from our fair.
Here is a link to a PDF document which contains the scoresheet as well as judging rules and guidelines:

http://sites.google.com/site/freder.../Packgoat_Obstacle_Scoring.pdf?attredirects=0

I was unable to find the Word document, but will see if I can locate that for you as well. This will hopefully be a good starting point for you .... but I am certainly welcome to any feedback or suggestions on improving this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
goingnutsmom said:
How are weave poles done? Are they just stuck in the ground?
Yes, the weave poles were just stuck in the ground ... our arena is laid with about 6" of mulch before the show, so they hold up pretty well, but could definitely be improved.

I have some fiberglass driveway markers that I think would work pretty well ... perhaps stuck into the tops of small orange cones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Great obstacles Debbie! I really like that frame with the streamers, and the half-barrels is a great idea too! Mailbox ... I really like the idea of an obstacle which gets the kids interacting with the saddle and demonstrating it's use. All very cool!
 

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Just got back on here, sorry. Been having lots of computer problems. In fact, mine is waiting to be worked on,so now I have to use the kids computer, which is not very good.
Anyway, You're welcome! I love your course :)

The half barrels were a last minute idea for our fair. We have them in the pens for our gots to play on and one day they were jumping around on them and I said load them up for the fair. Alot of the other kids goats were afraid of them and would not walk on them, so we are going to get barrels this year and cut them down and give them to each 4-Her to have in their goat pens so hopefully they will play on them and not be scared of them in the ring.

Did you guys have problems with the noise from the fair? We did. They had us next to some of the real noisey rides and a roller coaster. All the goats freaked out and had a hard time. We all took the goats for walks on the streets to get uses to fast cars and the noise, but I don't know how to prepare them for the sounds from the fair. Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We've certainly had our share of noise challenges ... and I actually think that was why Oreo was sitting down during the event. We shared a tent with cows ... they were coming in until 10pm and then were making noise non-stop. Oreo would not even lie down unless my daughter was in the pen curled up with him. So he got no rest and by show-time the follow day was just exhausted.

Ideas? Yes, we usually stay an additional night before the competition. This gives the goats an extra day to get used to the noises and settle in (Oreo missed the first night due to delays in getting a CL test back). But, I think 2 nights would be even better.

One of our kids had I think a great suggestion ... record the fair sounds and begin playing it for the goats for some time before hand to get them used to it.
 
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