Betathane harness
I recently acquired a new betathane harness for Cuzco, and boy is it nice! I ordered it from Northwest Mini Tack and had them modify a "Mini A" harness for a goat. All they did was remove the crupper and not include a bridle. I made a couple of modifications of my own--basically I just shortened the back strap and the reins. This was super easy to do because betathane can be treated like leather and I just used scissors and a hole punch to make the changes I wanted. So much easier than nylon! I hate punching holes in nylon--they never come out as clean as I'd like.

Phil and I went for a little drive today and I got some photos. The rest of the goats accompanied us, so it was a bit of a circus, but Cuzco mostly behaved himself and I was able to get a few shots that weren't obscured by flapping ears and waving tails.


Cuzco naughtily running away with me! He sure has a lot of spunk for an old critter!

I made him turn around and go back up the road while everyone else went home. He was angry about it, but I'm not going to have him running away every time he gets pointed homeward, even if it is dinner time! I wonder if I should get a proper bit and bridle for this old boy. He's so incredibly strong, and when he wants to go somewhere it's difficult to argue with him without rubbing all the hair off his nose.
We had some help on our drive today. We were practicing for the upcoming Christmas parade. It was a parade today, all right!
What a lot of fun you had today! Your goats are all looking great!

Is there a way you could lower the halter onto the more sensitive part of Cuzco's nose? That may give you more leverage in halting him and in turning him in either direction.
Goatberries Happen!
I second Taffy's post. Get the halter lower down on the nose and maybe think about using a modified rope halter (with loops on the side for the reins).

I would also work on "yielding to pressure" apart from the real driving.
Sabine from Germany
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This not my usual driving halter. I usually use one size smaller so that it sits in a better spot on his nose. But when I tried to put his driving halter on, it wouldn't fit! I think all the winter hair has made his head too big.

Even the smaller halter doesn't fit the way I want it to, though. I've got a miniature horse halter that fits Cuzco and I'm going to see if I can modify it to be more like the Dr. Cook's bitless bridle. Even those have their disadvantages though. No matter how well a bitless bridle fits, it still tends to rub hair off the nose from the side-to-side action any time you use the reins, especially if it's made of nylon. Padding helps, but then you lose some of the communication and you're back to pulling again.

Cuzco is really good at yielding to pressure--when he feels like it. He knows exactly what I want. It's just a matter of whether he's going to obey or not. Usually it seems that the best thing to do is to make him keep going past the driveway entrance a few times until he starts to realize that running isn't going to take him home faster, and that the sooner he obeys, the sooner he gets to start for home. Smile
I think the key to this is that Cuzco is one smart old goat and he just lets you think you're in control! And you're right - repetition is the key. He probably doesn't think so though!

I was thinking - if you removed the breeching from the harness that means Cuzco is having to stop the forward movement of the cart with the shafts instead of his hind end. I hope you aren't going down any hills.
Goatberries Happen!
I didn't remove the breeching. I just asked the harness maker not to include a crupper since goat's tails aren't made like horse's tails. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that even on a horse harness the crupper's only function is to keep the saddle from being able to slide forward, which in turn would only happen if you use a check rein (which hooks to the top of the saddle). I don't use a check rein on the goats since it's totally unnecessary. My harness has a full breeching with proper hold back straps but no crupper.
You're right. The crupper helps keep the harness in place. Cuzco would NOT have appreciated a crupper! Tongue

Check reins (also called an overcheck) are the devil's work in my opinion. I don't think they're fair to horses. It holds a horses head in an unnatural position. Luckily I drove Fjord horses and when showing the overcheck isn't required.
Goatberries Happen!
I had to use an overcheck when I ran my carriage business years ago. I tried getting away without them, thinking they were unnecessary, but then a couple of mishaps (thankfully when no one but me was in the carriage) forced me to realize that when properly adjusted, it's actually a safety device. First mishap was that when a horse bent down to rub a fly off its knee, the rein would sometimes get caught over the wagon tongue (or over a shaft if driving single). This never caused a panic or a broken rein (although it could), but I did have to get out and correct the problem a few times--never safe.

The biggest mishap occurred when I was driving home from work one afternoon and I stopped at an intersection. My younger horse reached over and pulled my mare's bridle right off her head! Had the overcheck been in place, this would have been a lot harder since the crown strap is secured to the saddle. I also started making sure throat latches were good and tight--not like regular riding bridles where we're told to leave quite a bit of "breathing room". I never cinched the check reins up tight--horses should always be able to hold their heads in a natural position--but I realized the safety issue that can occur when a horse is able to put his head too far down and when the bridle isn't secured to the rest of the harness in some way. I always unhooked the check reins when we parked so the horses could scratch and stretch their necks as much as they pleased, but they were tied up to a hitching post at the time.

I like that when a goat "takes the bit" and runs off, he's not all that fast, and I can still out-pull him if it really comes down to it. Horses not so much. Smile

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