First Team Outing!
The bridles with bits look much cleaner on their heads than those bulky halters. (Look at that pout on Sputnik's face! What a little sulker!) 

Hihobaron: You can see on Finn that the bits are about 1/4" too big for them right now. They should fit perfectly by next year or even this fall. This is the perfect size for Cuzco. I'm not too worried about the bits being slightly too long since they're mullen mouths. There's no nutcracker action, and if the bit slides back and forth it should be ok since it slides smoothly. I just have to be careful not to pop the reins and bruise their cheeks, but it's important to be careful about this in any case. I checked both their mouths for any signs of cracking, bruising, or soreness after the drive and couldn't see any problems. I think the boys would have kicked up a fuss if the bits had been uncomfortable for them. 

I guarantee it won't be long before they're opening up for the bits. Finn already almost did when I bridled him today! I bridled him yesterday just to try on the bit and make sure my headstall was the right size. It was a complete rodeo, cud spewed everywhere, and I had to be careful not to get whacked by those big horns. But when I brought the bridle up to his head today, he just stood there and let me do it without one bit of resistance, and the cud stayed in his mouth. He was chewing that cud ten seconds after I had the bridle fastened. Sputnik was a rodeo yesterday and today, but maybe slightly less violent today. He'll most likely sulk about this for a couple of days and then he'll be completely over it as his desire for cookies overcomes his aversion to a new piece of equipment (he takes a little while to get used to most things--not just bits).
Very,Very Good Picture and Yes they will progress.
Have a good Parade.Have Fun, Stay Safe
Remember Our Veterans/ Troops that are Keeping USA Free.
Give the Boys a Cookie from All of Us here is SC.
Happy Trails
hihobaron,Blizzard,Fuzzy,Pete,Sam and the Troops in SC.
I was so excited about the upcoming parade that I hardly slept a wink all night, and much like Christmas, it did not disappoint but even surpassed my anticipatory expectations. The boys were clipped on Sunday afternoon between chilly rainstorms, but by the time the weather cleared it was much too late to give baths. So I was up bright and early this morning to get them bathed and Show Sheened before the parade. I was afraid Sputnik would spend all 4th of July hating me after his first clip and bath, but he actually did quite well and seemed to enjoy having the water sprayed in his face. He kept slurping at it. This skittish little guy has sure come a long way! 

Finn looked amazing today. He's never been clipped and bathed before and the white in his coat was a blinding contrast to the glittering black on his hindquarters. And his black hindquarters did literally glitter. His hair has a very slight crimp to it that caught and reflected the sunshine. I've never been so proud of my boys. They were real head-turners and they got a lot of nice compliments today. 

The boys were nervous about all the noise and excitement and crowds, but there were no stops or spooks and I didn't once have to run to their heads to help Phil handle them. He drove them by himself the whole time while I walked behind the wagon throwing candy to the kids. The wagon is the perfect size for stowing a five-gallon horse bucket of candy behind the driver's seat. I was so busy tossing candy every which way that I hardly got to watch how the boys went, but I know they didn't stop even once. Phil drove them quite expertly so that we didn't have to start and stop the way we usually do in parades. He kept them a good distance from the people ahead of us, and he'd slow their walk if he saw the parade stop, then speed it up a little to close the gap if necessary. There was a loud Camaro behind us and it never bothered the boys to hear it revved. Phil did have to continually encourage them to keep walking once we got among the noisy crowds, but they never balked or tried to turn back.

The goats were perfect, but I had a near-disaster. We were in the thickest part of the crowd and I was running frantically back and forth so as not to skip any candy-craving kids and I didn't even see the massive horse pile under my nose. I felt my foot hit something soft and heavy and I pitched face-forward right toward the splattering wet mess I'd just kicked in front of me. There was a brief second of panic before my second foot caught up and saved me before I actually made contact. The crowd was cheering, but not nearly as loud as I know they would have if I'd actually fallen face-first into horse poop. Thankfully my shoe was the only casualty. Gee, I like goats! They poop in neat, dry little pellets.

So without further ado, here are a few photos.     



Heading toward the crowd... 

One nice thing about this parade is it's all downhill. It's not steep, so the boys didn't have to hold the wagon back, but it made the pull very easy for them.  

After the parade we went to my parents' place and had a 4th of July picnic while the goats lounged in the shade of some scrub oak trees. Afterwards we hitched them up again and took my nephews and nieces for a ride. Sputnik was not at all thrilled about having to return to work, and I kept having to nag at him to keep up and not drag me toward the truck, but he got through it and the kids were delighted.   
Good Job done by all.
Now you know why all the horse units here are put Behind the Marching Band units, Ker-Spat.
Glad you made a Graceful Recovery.
Did you give out all the candy? Or is there some left for goat treats and yourself? Smile
Good Pictures.
I would still prefer a matched team of white goats, it will be a few years before Blizzard and Fuzzy are ready. Sad
Your doing good just watch out for the slippery  spots in the trails.
Happy Trails
She'l Be Driving 6 White Goats when She Comes  Smile
hihobaron Blizzard,Fuzzy,Pete,Sam and the Troops in SC
There was no candy left after the town center, and a I had to tell that to a few disappointed kids at the tail end of the parade. I also had to tell a few disappointed adults that I wasn't being generous with anyone over 12. Finn got a couple of tootsie rolls before we started though. Sputnik didn't want any. He missed out. It's a good thing we didn't have Cuzco with us. Cuzco is a candy fiend and likes to plunge his entire head in a bucket of candy and eat all that will fit in his mouth, wrappers and all. We've had this experience at several events over the years. Turn your back on him for one second and Cuzco is literally IN the candy bucket, and usually quite a lot of candy is shoveled out onto the pavement as he dives toward the bottom. Cuzco knows that the further he buries his head, the harder it is for me to pull him back out. Big Grin
Getting a goat out of a bucket. Shoot the goat and put him on the grill: (Teasing)
I know the feeling even with just scooping goat feed into the shed bucket.
It was bad enough with Pete and Sam and now with the two horned boy's (5 inch) horns.
100 degrees here today and no relief for the next week or so. Dry but still humid.
5 inches behind in rain fall for the area.
Happy Trails
Stock more Candy
hihobaron,Blizzard,Fuzzy,Pete,Sam and the Troops in SC
We took the boys for a drive this afternoon. They got a whole week off from driving after the parade because we'd worked them almost every day for the week leading up to it and they did very well and earned a break. We took them driving a few days ago to a new place where we encountered two large, aggressive dogs in a yard with an invisible electric fence. The dogs were emboldened by the safety of their invisible barrier while the goats felt totally exposed by the lack of a visible fence. Phil was driving and I led the boys past the spot without too much trouble, but the goats were very frightened and eager to leave that place.

Today we decided to take the route with the dogs again so we could work on it. I took the reins this time. The boys seemed a bit bolder today since they hadn't been injured or chased the time before, so I told Phil to stay behind and I'd see if I could encourage the boys to walk past on their own. They got along ok until Sputnik suddenly had one of his panic attacks (a once-common occurrence that rarely happens any more). I pushed him a little too hard when he tried to balk and he blew sideways into Finn and bolted back the way we came. Finn went with him of course and the boys were able to run a short way before I was able to pull them up.

Phil went to their heads and helped me straighten them out and get them turned back around. This time I had Phil stay by Sputnik's head and take the outside rein as we went back toward the dogs. Phil got us started and then I was able to take control again, but he walked by their heads and kept himself between the goats and the barking dogs to reassure them. The cool thing is that the house is the only one on the end of a large cul de sac, so the road makes a circle right where the barking dogs are. It's great for training because we can keep going round and round the circle past the dogs and there is no traffic and no other distractions. It's an absolutely perfect place to work on this super-scary scenario in a safe, controlled environment. It's awesome that the dogs look as if they're loose to the goats, and yet they can't actually get at us.

We went around the circle three times, each with more calm and better control. Phil continued to stay near them most of the time to give them confidence (they were pretty shaken up after Sputnik bolted), but we had no more spooks or stops. I think if we work on it a few more times they'll begin to ignore those noisy dogs, and hopefully the lesson will transfer to other situations.

The rest of the drive went incredibly well. Phil and I took turns driving and neither of us had to lead the goats past anything but those dogs at the beginning. I am starting to work on fine tuning our rein signals. I look for "markers" on the road to lay out a driving plan. For example, I'll steer the goats onto the narrow strip between a manhole cover and the edge of the road and try not to get a tire onto either one. Then I'll veer left around a patch in the asphalt. Next I'll try to put the wheels exactly on either side of a leaf in the road. Then we'll make a left-hand circle at a mailbox, pick up a trot at the real estate sign, walk at the fire hydrant, and stop when we reach the lilac bush. It's fun making up little patterns like this and it keeps us from getting in a rut where the goats get bored and inattentive. I want them to be sharp to the commands and obedient to a light touch. I don't want them getting the idea that the only thing they have to do is stay six inches from the right-hand curb. Eventually I want them to be able to successfully negotiate an arena obstacle course like the driving competition ponies do.

Oh, and Sputnik is accepting the bit now. He doesn't like it of course, but he no longer makes a rodeo scene when I bring the bridle to his head. He sulks and won't take cookies from me after I bridle him, but today he took several cookies from Phil with the bridle on, so I know he can chew with the bit. He's just not ready to admit it to me, so he rejects my offers of treats and tries to convince me that he is suffering (meanwhile he's reaching behind my back to take cookies from Phil when he thinks I can't see!).
Hello Nanno  
Good job, give both the boy's a few cookies from me and the troops from SC.
You need to carry as well as Phil Air Soft Pistols for the dogs every time you go by with goats and dogs are aggressive put a few rounds into them.  Teach them to say back further from the UG fence line.
Good target practice too Smile
I worked with Rodisian Ridgebacks in CA , the farm had them for coyote dogs to protect the Endurance horses.
We had Coyotes in day light walking up and down the street I was on in Redlands at that time and one time saw a cougar come slinking through the property. With all the horses confined they would have been easy targets, that was the reason the Ridge Backs were there for LGD.
They were trained to respect UG fence and wore collars all the time.
Problem: Every so often they would bust through the stop point and then could not get back in until I shut down the transmitter. No problem, then turn system back on.
I had to weekly check and replace battery's in collars.
Many causal dog owners forget that.  
Yes , Dogs do learn a boundary line, but being by nature are a predator. If they see a "Snack" they will go for it.
When working horses in CA we always took the dogs with us JIC we ran into cats or coyotes.
In South Africa/ Rodisia they are known as Lion Dogs because they are used to hunt the big cats.
Great Dogs BTY, in camp under my feet all the time and always looking to what was going on.
They were NOT a Barking Dog, only if there was a reason for it.
Good Dogs

Happy Trails 
hihobaron and the Troops in SC
Today I took the boys for a relaxing drive around the local reservoir. Phil didn't come with us because he was busy showing a friend how to do magic tricks. The boys were a bit uneasy about his absence at first and Finn was very vocal about it, but they soon settled and we had a very nice time. We walked, we trotted, we went off-road (on purpose), and we even cantered for a short spell. They're going pretty well off voice commands now, and I spent a lot of time driving them with the whip in its socket. I don't hold with driving without a whip because slapping with the reins is not subtle and I think it can send confusing signals to their mouths. However, I'm hoping we can take the boys to the goat chariot race at the International Goat Days Festival in Tennessee either next year or the year after and chariot drivers are not allowed to use whips in this race. This is perfectly understandable given the fact that most of the goats are not well-trained and it's easy for drivers to get carried away in a speed competition. But it means that Finn and Sputnik must learn to go properly on just voice and rein signals, and there's no better time to start than the present. They did just fine. They jumped a bit when I had to encourage them with a rein slap--it's heavier and more abrupt than the light tap or the little tickle I usually give with the whip's lash, but they soon got used to it. It was a fun day!
I forgot to mention that I had a small but pleasant breakthrough with Sputnik today. Ever since I introduced him to the bit three weeks ago he has flatly refused to take any treat from my hand. He would take them from someone else but if I offered him one he would turn his nose away with a disgusted pout. But during the last two drives I could see his resolve cracking as he would look longingly at the treat, stretch his nose out toward it, then stubbornly force himself to look away at the last instant. He would only take my treat after the bit was removed at the end of the drive. If he hadn't been taking cookies from Phil behind my back I'd have thought he was unable to chew with the bit in his mouth.

I knew he would give in eventually and today was the day. He started out in his old habit, but about halfway through as I stopped to give treats for about the fourth time, he looked at Finn happily chewing away and he just couldn't stand it any more. He thrust his nose toward my hand in a pleading gesture and gobbled the proffered treat as if he'd been starving. I gave him a few more cookies before the end of the drive and he ate every single one. I think we're both relieved that this battle of wills is finally over.

Oh, and a few days ago we brought some friends along for our goat drive and I let them take turns at the reins. I was very pleased to see that the boys were well-behaved for other people as well as for us. Phil and I did not have to walk with them to make them obey the driver's commands, and we didn't have to walk ahead to keep them going. One of the drivers was an eight-year-old boy, so he was not very skilled with the reins and needed quite a bit of help from either me or Phil walking alongside the cart, but the boys did not take advantage of their novice driver and went along very nicely. The other driver rides horses and was good with the reins. She had the boys trotting way out ahead of us until she got so far away she had to stop and wait for us to catch up. The boys were a little flustered about leaving us behind, but they were nevertheless obedient to their driver. I couldn't have been more proud!

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