Packgoat Fun Day at Rye Park!
To anyone in the southern Colorado/Pueblo area, I'm hosting a packgoat Fun Day at the Rye Mountain Park on July 23rd. Tentative time is 11:00 a.m. and continuing through the afternoon. Activities will include: picnic, talk/demonstration on training and equipment, fun and games, obstacle practice, and a short hike around the park. There is a shallow creek in the park which we can use for water training, so wading shoes are recommended for anyone who wants to participate in this activity. 

The Pueblo County Fair packgoat obstacle course competition is on Thursday, July 28th, so this would be a great opportunity to get in some practice with your goat before the show!
The Packgoat Fun Day was a lot of fun! I was a little disappointed that several people had to back out at the last minute, but my friend Jordan came with her little LaMancha cross packgoat, and our friends Deirdre and James who bought Snickers, Sledge, and Hammer last summer were able to make it as well. Phil and I brought six goats of our own, so we had a nice little herd of nine goats running around the park. The highlight for me was seeing Snickers. He's grown into quite a big boy and looks like he's going to be a lot bigger yet! 

After driving Finn and Sputnik and their wagon around the parking lot, I asked James and Deirdre if they would mind if I hitched Snickers with Sputnik. I had begun working with him on ground driving before we sold him last summer and he seemed to come to it quite naturally. He wasn't at all keen on having the harness put on. He's gotten more than a little spoiled under James' and Deirdre's excellent care and seems to think it's not fair for anyone to "dominate" him by touching him on the hindquarters. He's started thinking he rules the roost, and as long as no one asks him to do anything he's quite docile. But when you try to make demands he asserts himself. I wasn't going to put up with that nonsense and we tied him firmly to a post and ignored his kicking, plunging protests while we put Finn's harness on him and hitched him alongside his steady twin brother, Sputnik. Snickers is still bigger than Sputnik but not by much, and they make a beautiful pair. They're different colors but very similar markings, and their body types are very alike. 


Snickers went off amazingly well. He was not frightened of the wagon or the feel of the harness, and he minded the reins very nicely. He is used to being made to get back from the feed room with a whip at home, so all I had to do was brush him with the lash and he moved off obediently. Sputnik was a good partner for him. Sputnik is very steady and obedient in harness, and I've found that nothing Finn does ever seems to upset him (even the time Finn reared up and landed on Sputnik's back!). Sputnik also doesn't pick fights or escalate them, so he was a good partner for Snickers' first drive. Phil and I each took turns driving the team around the parking lot for about five minutes before we decided that Snickers was a very good boy and should be put away. He was gentler about unhitching than he had been about hitching, but he needs some work on learning to accept being handled. He's not scared of people or of the equipment--he's angry at having to submit to being touched and he's now big enough to be dangerous about it. I think a little no-nonsense handling coupled with treats for good behavior and a few days' solid work would bring him round nicely in no time. He's not a mean goat. He just thinks he should be in charge, and he thinks he is entitled to being rewarded without having to do anything for it. But he greatly redeemed himself by his obedience in harness. I think he could make an outstanding harness goat with a little training because he seemed to enjoy the work.   

After driving the goats around the parking area, we saddled up and headed out for a short hike. Phil put the trash can panniers on Finn so we could pick up any litter we might find. There wasn't much, but we were prepared. Most of the other goats carried packs just for the fun of it. I brought three of our 2016 babies who pranced along with us, also just for the fun of it. We were quite the little parade! People and goats all had a blast, and since it was Saturday the park was rather crowded with picnickers who were delighted at the jubilant sight of a whole herd of packgoats trooping along the trail. Sadly, I don't have many pictures. Of all things to forget, I actually forgot my camera! I don't have a cell phone either so I had to rely on Deirdre to send me the few snapshots she took. 
Boy, I sure wish we lived closer! You two have so much fun!

It's a testament to how good your basic training with Snickers was for him to perform as well as he did.
Goatberries Happen!

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