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Which is better for harness goats to pull: 4 wheel wagons or 2 wheel carts?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay. So I have been meaning to train my goats to harness for years. I have full blood, full size Toggenburgs. I just never had the time between my life as a teen, regular ADGA shows, and riding horses. However as a few of you know I lost my pony less than a week ago. So since horses were a HUGE part of my life and he was my only one I owned, I will have the entire summer to spend training this goat. I will have a whole new crop of babies this late winter/spring to choose from (like 26 kids give or take). So with that back ground story, here are my questions.
1: I have been researching goat harnessing since I was 7 and always heard the word bridle and changed it to halter in my mind. So do the goats actually have a bridle with a bit, like horses, in their mouths or is it a glorified halter?
2: The complete harness is so expensive. I am interested in making my own. I enjoy sewing and can make goat blankets and limited bits of human clothing. Is it possible for me to make my own harness that would be usable in a show ring and how hard/expensive would that be in it of itself?
3: Me and my dad are making the cart myself. I have a wagon that when I was little I hitched unfortunate goats to and tried to make them pull (usually didn't work, but that didn't stop me). It has 4 wheels. I am wanting to make a 2 wheel cart so not only I can sit in it, but so it is lighter weight for my does (I don't keep wethers and wouldn't trust my bucks within 20 ft of the thing). What is your opponion about 2 wheel vs. 4 wheel carts/wagons?
4: I want to take this harness goat to my county fair. They are going to fight it tooth and nail because this fair doesn't like goats and REALLY doesn't like dairy goats. I need to know EXACTLY what will be needed to take a harness goat to show. Can a regular ADGA/ABGA judge judge the class? Will it even be a judging class or more of a demonstration?
I can't think of any more questions. If I do I will post them. Thanks guys.
 

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I should have added that if you want a class added go to a fair board meeting (extension office can tell you when they meet) and ask them to add it. However, they most likely won't add a class if there us only going to be a single entry. You need to try and get at least 3 others willing to show and you'll have more luck getting them on board. Have some really good reasons for adding and that will help too.
 

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1: So do the goats actually have a bridle with a bit, like horses, in their mouths or is it a glorified halter?
2: Is it possible for me to make my own harness that would be usable in a show ring and how hard/expensive would that be in it of itself?
3: What is your opponion about 2 wheel vs. 4 wheel carts/wagons?
4:I need to know EXACTLY what will be needed to take a harness goat to show. Can a regular ADGA/ABGA judge judge the class? Will it even be a judging class or more of a demonstration?
1: I use a halter. I've seen bridles with bits for goats, but I don't see the point in one unless you have a goat that is super-strong and difficult to handle. I use a Sopris llama halter because it fits the best and doesn't ride up the nose like a lot of others do. Plus it has rings on either side of the nose so you can attach reins.

2: Yes, you can make your own harness. I've thought about making one myself. Make sure the saddle, breastcollar, and britchin are wide enough and have some kind of padding. Refer to lots of pictures so you know how to measure your straps, where to place your buckles, terrets, snaps, rings, etc. You may want to get a book or two on driving horses since it will have lots of info about harnessing and hitching so you avoid accidentally leaving off an important piece of your harness. You don't notice things like hold-down straps in a photo, but they become vitally important if you start going uphill in a two-wheeled cart!

3: I have a 2-wheel cart, but a wagon would be nice if I wanted to haul stuff (firewood, trash, groceries, etc.). Two-wheeled carts are MUCH easier to back and probably a bit more comfortable for the rider because of the large wheels. I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of difference to the goat except that the two-wheeled cart places some weight on the goat's back. You want to make sure your cart is balanced so the shafts are level or slightly uphill from the cart when hitched. If the shafts are pointing down, your goat is carrying too much weight on its back and you either need to attach your shafts lower on the cart or raise the shaft loops on the harness.

4: If it's just you, then it will be more of an exhibition. This might be the best way to get started and raise awareness and interest before you go about trying to drum up an entire harness class. Before you do an exhibition, you need to make sure your goat is well-trained (leave a good impression!) and that your harness fits and is adjusted properly. If you don't have any past driving experience, I strongly recommend you find someone who does and have them go over your set-up with you to make sure it's right. You might not find anyone who drives goats, but it shouldn't be too hard to find someone who drives horses. The principles of harness fit and adjustment are the same. If you do end up getting a whole class together, I don't see why the regular judge couldn't judge it if they were willing. If they're not willing, you may have to ask among the horse people. Since this would not be a sanctioned class, I don't think you should need to have a licensed judge--just someone with a good eye who knows something about judging a performance class.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Nanno. My dad and uncles drove Belgians for years at their farm and i had driven the pony I told you about some around my farm. Not pulling anything, just ground driving. I also have a few horse harnesses so I will look at those for ideas. Because of the horse experience my dad has we should be able to make the cart so it doesn't put too much weight on the goat. It can't really since a doe will be pulling it. Thanks to everyone else too. :D
 
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