saddle problems

Discussion in 'Pack Goat Gear' started by colorado-hunter, May 30, 2014.

  1. colorado-hunter

    colorado-hunter New Member

    May 30, 2014
    Hello everyone. I'm new here, but I've read enough to believe there are many knowlegable and helpful users. I'm new to goat packing and have had mixed results. I have two Boers, a buck and a doe. They are both well socialized and friendly with good dispositions. My doe saddles fine with a sopris rookie soft saddle. My whether only gives me saddle trouble when I put the rump strap on. I'm using a wood saddle from northwest. When I try to put the rump strap on, we have a rodeo! We spent 3 hours at the trailhead trying to get saddled and left in frustration. He is just as jumpy when I touch him with my hand. He loves to be petted everywhere but his back end. I check for signs of a sore spot and I'm out of ideas. I'm concerned that I have the straps wrong. This saddle was unfinished when I got it. I had to take it apart for sanding and staining. Last time I got him saddled, the rump strap tended to ride up over the muscle and sit under his tail. Am iI having saddle problems or goat problems? Thanks for the help.
  2. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Right now this is a goat problem. If he doesn't even let you touch him on the back end with your hand, it means he is not gentle enough to be used for packing at this time, and you may be right that he's sore (more on that later). Many goats object to having their rear ends touched when they aren't well-trained and very used to people. Goats mount each other from the rear as a dominance gesture, so touches back there can be taken the wrong way until they understand that you're 1.) already in charge and 2.) not a threat. Your goat may think he's dominant and that you (the subordinate one) have no business touching him from behind. He may also simply not trust you.

    You'll need to start somewhere that he can be contained. I would tie him short to a fence post or a ring in the wall so he can't dance all over the place and so you have something to pin him against. Then start at his shoulder and begin working your way toward the back, petting and scratching him as you go. Tie him short enough that he can't move very far forward or back. When he tries to jump sideways into you, press him against the fence with your thigh and hold him there and make him stand while you continue to handle him and reassure him. Once he relaxes, it will help to give him treats so he understands that he's doing what you want. This is a great time to start teaching him the verbal command, "Woah!"

    Make a point of scratching his rump and back every time you're with him so he learns to enjoy having his back end handled. You may not be able to do this while he's loose for a while, but work up to it. If he's loose and tries to run away when you touch his back end, grab his collar, say "Woah!" and make him stand for just a few seconds while you scratch, then let him go. He'll soon learn that you're not going to do anything unpleasant to him or make him work, but that he must stand still when you say "Woah."

    Once he's standing nicely for you without being saddled, then it's time to start introducing your gear. Plan some days where you can put it on and take it off without making him do more than just walk around a little. Make sure nothing is rubbing or chafing. There may be a saddle fitting issue, especially if this is one of your Boers. They are very round in the back and tend to roll side to side when they walk. This rolling motion could very well be causing the butt strap to rub back and forth and pull his hair. That may have been the original source of his irritation at having his hind end touched, which has now escalated to the point where he can't be saddled or even handled back there. If that's the case, try your soft pack on him since the saddle can roll with his motion a bit better and see if he improves. You may also need to loosen the butt strap quite a bit to accommodate his movement. After some retraining, if he's great about being handled until you make him work with the pack saddle, then it's a red flag that the gear does not fit right.

    Good luck, and let us know how you progress!