First Team Outing!
Oh, and Sputnik won our "goat cart race" today! Of course, we aren't doing anything more than walking with the occasional short trot right now while the boys are young, but Sputnik totally won the walking race! He seems to love pulling, and for once he's able to walk ahead of Finn. When we hike, Finn makes Sputnik stay in the back and I know he resents it a little.

I'm also happy with my hitches. Phil was concerned about the weight on Finn's back because he slid his hand under the saddle as he stood next to his cart. So I watched as Phil got in the cart and drove off and I could see the shafts "floating" in the shaft loops. I walked next to Finn and slid my hand easily under the saddle. There was almost no weight on the saddle at all while the cart was loaded. Sputnik's shafts were "floating" too, and neither goat was hollowing his back as he pulled. So I'm quite satisfied that the boys aren't hauling us around on their backs.
Hello and Congratulations  on Winning The Goat Cart Race.
No Collar of Roses? Well being Goats they would probably Start eating them.  Smile
Did you as a "Stable/Trainer" have 2 entries you and Phil??Smile
Happy Trails
Congratulations on the win.
hihobaron and the Troops in SC
PS Pete and Sam are Ready for High Water here from the Storm.
Blizzard and Fuzzy with good sets of horns we figure to just hook them to a high branch on a tree.
Don't have any Kid Life Vest here.

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Another great drive today! Sputnik is really awesome at this and seems to be having a great time. We drove in halters this time because we're conducting a harness goat class at the State Fair tomorrow and we'll teach using halters since that's what most folks will probably end up driving in if they train their goats. Also I won't have to worry so much if we let newbies take the reins. The boys were very good, but we did have to step out to adjust a few times when the halters slid into uncomfortable positions or got too tight.

We drove separate carts again today and this time while Phil and Finn went on down the normal route ahead of us, I turned Sputnik off onto a side road. He was very well-behaved about leaving Finn and going down an unfamiliar street. There was some hesitation, but all it took was a couple of little smacks with the whip to remind him of his job and he went right on with only a couple of worried baa-aa's. He got several cookies before we turned around. The rest of the drive I kept the whip tucked under my arm and never used it. He's starting and stopping almost completely on voice commands now. As we neared the end of the drive, I held Sputnik back (he really walks out and tends to leave Finn in the dust), and we let Finn get far ahead of us while we practiced circles and weave patterns in the road. He wasn't particularly happy to have to do this extra work when we were so near the truck and Finn was already almost back, but he was compliant so we didn't do it for long. I feel confident that the boys are well prepared for the demonstration tomorrow.
Good Job with the Boys
Was down to the Carriage shop Friday
Talk with the owner Jack Moore and told him you were using the double tree and goats were doing good with it.
He was impressed.
Happy Trails
Good Luck
hihobaron and the Troops in SC
Hi Nanno, thanks for the explanation about the bits and bridles you're using. I'll do more research Smile And congrats on the goat race and demonstration. You're a more colourful team snazzy goat!
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap
We had fun at the State Fair today. The cart class did not go as well as I hoped for several reasons, but mostly because the State Fair venue and atmosphere are not really conducive to instructive clinics. Most people were there to be entertained, not to get actual instruction on how to harness, hitch, and train a goat to pull a cart. The boys were definitely not in the spirit of things. They were not disobedient, but they were very distracted and a little unnerved by the unfamiliar situation. They also have never had to work so hard to pull and they were a bit discouraged by it. The arena was covered with deep wood shavings so there was a lot of resistance on our wheels--especially on the wagon. The carts weren't too bad because their wheels are much larger and narrower, but they were still more difficult than usual, especially when turning. The acoustics in that building are dismal, so I don't think the boys could understand our voice commands very well. We had to yell before they could hear us, and of course yelling makes them think they're doing something wrong, so they tended to clam up and default to "whoa". But we took it easy on them and one of us stayed by their heads and helped guide them around the ring while the other drove. It wasn't a spectacular show of expertly trained goats trotting happily around the ring doing figure-eights, but we got the job done.  

Sputnik took second place in the obstacle class. I think he could easily have gotten first, but he balked at walking through the paddle pool. I just need to practice it at home. After the class I took him back in the ring and worked with him on it and had him walking through in five minutes. He'll get it next time! Finn stalled out at the alfalfa crossing. We had to walk the goats between two bales of fresh, green alfalfa without stopping. Finn is a piggy and didn't want to leave the buffet, and he kept straining toward the smorgasbord for the rest of the class. 

But as usual, the highlight of the day was the costume class! This year, since we had the boys and their carts with us, we decided to do the chariot race from Ben-Hur. It's hard to get good photos in that barn, but we did take a few. We also got a short video which I might be able to do something with next week. Unfortunately, the woman taking the video was standing at a pretty bad angle for seeing the action. Phil was Ben-Hur and I was Messala. It was a hoot! Sputnik went off beautifully at the start, but as we rounded the corner at the far end of the ring it all fell apart. He turned and came face-to-face with a large crowd rearing above his head in the bleachers placed right at ringside. I had no whip to cue his hip to move over (didn't match the costume), so when I pulled the rein, Sputnik, forgetting his driving lessons in a moment of distraction and slight panic, reverted to the greenie move of turning his head while his body kept on in a straight line. He ran into the corner and was then unable to turn at all, so I had to get out and help him. Finn made the turn alright, but he stalled out when he saw Sputnik stop. So Phil and I both had to lead our goats past the laughing crowds. One of our friends in the audience said the looks on our goats' faces was priceless as they turned the corner and saw all those people staring them in the face. Their heads went up and their eyes bulged right out of their sockets. 

But even though the boys spent a good deal of the day feeling nervous (too nervous to even take cookies!), I don't think it was traumatic for them. Nothing hurt them or frightened them into a panic. I'm confident they'll be a lot more relaxed the next time we take them to a show setting. 

Here are some shots from the costume class: 
Lovely pics Nanno. I guess you can't control venues and crowds - but all this experience will stand the boys in good stead in the future.

Another naïve harness query for you - what is the purpose of the strap going diagonally from the centre of the breast plate up and over the neck? The one with the extra set of rings attached to it for the driving lines to go through, before they pass through the terrets? My goat harness doesn't have this.
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap
Hello DUG

2 things the strap you are asking you are asking about can do.
#1 Support the breast Collar from getting to low on the chest.
#2 Take the weight of the neck yolk when driving in team. and transfer the weight of the pole to the Harness Saddle.
Hope this helps.
Happy Trails
hihobaron and the troops in South Carolina
Hihobaron is right--the straps that run diagonally are to hold the breastcollar up and transfer weight to the saddle when pulling as a team. A normal single harness doesn't have this strap. This harness has been converted from a team set-up to a single hitch. Normally the neck strap is a single piece that forks near the bottom to hold the breastcollar up in two places (yours is probably like this). But when using a team pole, the yoke and pole drag the front of the breastcollar down from their proper position, so you need a strap to hold the front of the breastcollar in place. I also added a piece that runs from the top of the neck strap and hooks to the check hook on the top of the saddle so that when the breastcollar is pulled forward by the yoke when stopping, the weight shifts to the saddle instead of falling on the narrow neck strap.
If you ever get the chariot thing going again (not in an arena) you should definitely find the right person to video it. Finn and Sputnik are beautiful together. Adventures like the state fair are about attitude and having fun. Good job.

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