Packsaddle Fitting Class - Greeley, CO April 28
Shoot! I thought I posted this a few weeks ago. I guess I sent something to the NAPgA newsletter and forgot to copy it here. Anyway... 

I'm teaching a class on saddle fitting at the Weld County Goat Extravaganza in Greeley, CO on Saturday, April 28 at 11:00 am. Auditing the class is free. Those who have their own goat and equipment are encouraged to bring them for hands-on instruction. Cost for bringing a goat is $5/goat. Goats coming from Colorado do not need a health certificate.

More info about the Extravaganza can be found here:
How did the class go Nanno - got any photos?
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap
The class went great as far as the boys, the variety of saddles, and the presentation, but it was woefully under-attended. We had only one family and they'd never heard of packgoats. They were showing Boers in the other barn and saw my class on the program. The man had a lot of experience packing with horses so it was fun to introduce him to goat saddles without having to spend time introducing terms and such.

Finn and Sputnik were good boys. They were model citizens as I whisked saddles on and off of them, but any time we left the two of them to themselves they would troll each other. I tied them far enough apart that it was difficult for them to interfere in each other's space. But Sputnik would back up almost to the end of his lead so he could put his tail as close as possible to Finn's area. Then Finn would reach over and bite Sputnik's tail. Sputnik would get riled up and act like he was being tormented, but he would back right up into Finn's face again. And of course Finn stood as close to Sputnik's side as possible so as to be sure that Sputniks butt could reach his face. It was hilarious to watch them.

Finn and Sputnik are shaped very differently, so it's fun to compare and contrast how the different saddles fit them. It would have been fun to have had more goats to try saddles on. It would especially have been nice to have had a classic Alpine or other Swiss type there to show how a saddle should fit. Both of my boys are too wide for a standard saddle. Finn can get away with it, but it's still not ideal. I hoping his withers will come up in the next year and improve how his saddle fits. It's fun to show saddle fit on Finn and point out the problem areas, then take the same saddle and plop it on Sputnik. Suddenly the minor problem areas on Finn become exaggerated on Sputnik to the point where anyone could point out the issues and why that goat would be very unhappy once I added weight onto the tree.
I love that when we take Finn to goat shows, we have to remember to bring our "tiger cage" panels to boost up the height of his enclosure. He's too good a jumper and far too curious for his own good. Sputnik could leap out if he wanted to, but he doesn't have Finn's insatiable desire to be involved in "people activity."

I had so much gear I needed two long tables to fit it all! And look how far apart my goats are tied. Is there any reason whatsoever for them to get in each other's way? I ask you!

This gentleman and I critiqued the fit of a vintage John Mionczynski saddle on Finn. 

One of the fun diversions of the weekend was a pirate-themed murder mystery dinner theater. One of the girls we know from goat showing was in it (top row, left-hand side), so Phil and I checked it out. We were the only customers that dressed according to theme. Phil was a nerd pirate. Check out his awesome t-shirt!

Now for the best part of the show... 

Every year when we go to the Weld County Goat Extravaganza, we end up staying about twenty minutes from the show grounds because there are no hotels closer to that end of town. Except this one...

I noticed the "Rainbow Motel" last year when we took a different route to the show grounds. It's only about 2-3 blocks away and it looks like the kind of seedy establishment that Phil and I love to investigate. The sign was not in good shape last year, but new managers took over this past January and restored it to its former glory. Phil and I love a good neon motel sign! 

We checked in mid-afternoon before we settled the goats at the show, which is usually a safe time of day at any motel. It turned out much safer than I realized! No sooner had Phil and I pulled in than a police car pulled in right after us. While I was checking in, the safety level continued to rise as four more police vehicles filed into the parking lot. It took me a good half hour to check in because the manager was talking to the police about certain creepy guests in the room next to the one Phil and I had reserved. It would take too long to relay the entire story, but apparently the mother of one of the men had paid for the room and then left. The motel common areas are under 24-hour surveillance, and during the night the men had been going back and forth to their car. One of them went across the highway toward the railroad tracks with a duffel bag. Next morning they drained their car fluids into the parking lot. The manager thought maybe they'd been cooking meth in their car and called the cops to be there as a "presence" while he kicked them out. 

We still stayed there. Good location. Good neon sign. And the creeps had been evicted. Apparently the previous owner had let the place become a total dive and would even rent by the hour. So I'm glad we didn't stay there on our previous trips to Greeley. Although I'm sure the stories would have been very good if we had.

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