First Team Outing!
In anticipation of giving goat rides to kids in the two-wheeled cart this weekend, Phil and I spent a few days taking turns driving the boys single. Finn has pulled kids in the two-wheeled cart a couple of times before with no problems, but the only time I ever hitched Sputnik to the cart was near the end of last year, and he was scared of the shafts, the cart, and the noise and tried to run off. He kept hitting me with the shaft and running over my feet and I knew he needed a lot more work and confidence-building before we could try that again.

Well Sputnik has come a long way since that time and he's now brimming with confidence and is developing a tremendous work ethic. For two days Phil and I took both goats and hitched one to the cart at a time and one of us drove while the other one walked the extra goat. Then we swapped halfway through. Once again we were on the quiet, flat loop near the golf course. Both goats did pretty well the first time and much better the second time. But the third time was something totally different. Phil was busy that day and I wanted to drive, so I took Sputnik and the cart and it was just the two of us. For a change of scenery I took him to lake instead of the golf course. It's not as easy a drive and there is a lot more activity around the lake, but I felt confident that Sputnik could handle it. And handle it he did!

The first thing we did was go through a narrow gate. It's barely wide enough to allow the cart to pass through, and since I knew that Sputnik would probably not be able to maneuver it perfectly on his first try, I walked behind the cart where I could lift and move it over. Sputnik did not know this and he got most of the way through the gate when he saw that one wheel was about to hit the post. He immediately stopped and backed out of the gate even though I was telling him to walk on. He wouldn't go back into that narrow space until I went to his head where I could direct him through very precisely. It wasn't my first choice of how to negotiate the obstacle, but I was very proud of Sputnik for paying attention to the cart wheels and recognizing that he wasn't going to fit. I'll bet next time we go there he'll have the confidence to let me help from behind. The drive around the lake is almost 1 1/2 miles and in that whole time Sputnik only dropped a wheel off the walkway twice and he immediately corrected each time.

The lake drive is mostly level but there are several slight grades where I got out and walked beside the cart. He never once swerved and ran over my foot (an ever-present danger when driving from beside the vehicle). For the entire drive, Sputnik obeyed my walk, trot, and whoa commands almost completely on voice alone. He loves to trot, but since he's not yet grown I'm keeping him almost entirely to a walk with only the occasional short trot on nice smooth, level ground.

The first "scary" thing we encountered was a flock of geese. We rounded a corner and discovered them napping in the walkway. Sputnik has rarely seen geese and I thought I would have to get out and lead him toward them, but he never hesitated. He marched right up to those birds as if he owned the path, and after giving him a few indignant honks and ruffled feathers, they got up and waddled out of his way. He hesitated once or twice when he saw fishermen hiding in the bushes along the shore, but he was more curious than scared. They didn't look like people in that half-concealed state, and he didn't quite understand the fishing poles. The next "spookum" that came along was a cyclist. Sputnik slowed down his walk, and his head and ears went up, but he did not stop or swerve as she came toward us. I let the lady pet Sputnik and feed him cookies. I want him to learn that these encounters are positive.

After the cyclist we encountered several dogs, but Sputnik is not afraid of dogs. One man stopped and talked to us for quite a long time while his dog sniffed around Sputnik's ankles and barked with jealousy every time the owner reached out to pet Sputnik. I never got out of the cart and Sputnik never moved except when the dog came up and barked in his face. At that point, Sputnik whipped his head around, presented his horns, and stamped a warning foot at the dog, who promptly backed off and quit harassing him. I was very proud that he was so brave. At one point he even crossed a small creek and I did not have to get out of the cart to lead him across.

It could not have been a better drive and I could not be more proud of my Sputnik! A year ago he was afraid of his own shadow, and now he's boldly striking out on his own without hesitation. He's going to make a good working goat after all. He is the one I kept because I wasn't sure I wanted to stake my reputation on a "dud". He's always been super clever but also super timid and unsure of himself, hated to be touched, panicked when trapped or stressed, and had a hair-trigger temperament. I could not in good conscience sell a goat like that to anyone, knowing he would be useless and could even become dangerous. But I've always known that he is exceptionally intelligent and that is why I wanted to give him the chance to prove it and make good.
With the care and attention you've given Sputnik he's really blossomed and come into his own! It sounds to me like he's a definite keeper!
Goatberries Happen!
Hello Nanno
I was poking around the internet and some how got into this Goat Driving Site in ENGLAD, UK
Were from pictures on the site of what they call "Turn outs" you might like to go through.
They apparently have fairly good Driving Goat only shows there.
Some of the rigs they are showing pictures are home built or like yours a converted wagon.
There are some good pictures of goats in Collar Style harness.
Here is the web site address I think the turn outs will give you ideas. Poor Phil Smile
Happy Trails
Yes, I'm familiar with the BHGS. I'm glad you reminded me about it because it's been a long time since I've looked through their gallery. They haven't updated it in a while unfortunately.
Yes, I noticed the site was dated.
But Great Turn Out Pictures are never Dated information you can always learn from even old pictures. Smile
Goat or horse.
The 13 Tandem Draft horse hitch I worked with was "Recreated" by a very experienced Draft horse person from (4)old Black and White 1030's vintage pictures from Barraboo Circus World Museum at their request.
Happy Trails
hihobaron Blizzard,Fuzzy,Pete, Sam and the troops in SC.
It's been a good three weeks since we've driven our team, so we took them out for a bit of exercise today. They were very good boys! 

And we had a little squirt with us! Pedro came along to keep us company and see what working goats are all about. He loved trotting alongside the wagon and only once got in the way when some barking dogs spooked him. 

Phil and I took turns at the reins, and I'm happy to say that the boys listen to both of us equally well. 

A nice break in the shade. 

We went past the scary dogs near the end of our drive. I wasn't sure how they would be since we haven't been this way to practice in quite a while. The boys stopped for a moment and Phil walked ahead for a short way to help get them going, but as we approached the dogs I asked him to quietly drop back and see if the boys would go ahead. They walked right past like troopers and set a great example for Pedro. Needless to say, cookies were dispensed after this show of bravery, and I walked behind the cart for the rest of the drive.
Did you notice the boys are walking in tandem with their feet in every photo! They are really in sync!

In the 2nd photo Finn has his head up, chin tucked and is looking at Pedro like "What is this young pipsqueak doing with the big boys?!"

What a great driving pair you have!
Goatberries Happen!
Thank you! They really do compliment one another even though they aren't perfectly matched. They walk and trot very nicely in cadence and they get along quite well most of the time. I thought I might have to use a check rein to keep Finn from whacking Sputnik all the time, but after the first couple of drives he quit on his own.
Here's a video from our drive the other day: 

Great video! They are really a nice team. I can't remember - who are their sire & dam?
Goatberries Happen!

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