We’ve been very busy for the last month. Earlier this spring we got the goats. So we’ve technically been busy with them for a long time it just picked up as we began washing, shaving, and putting in lots of practice time.
The goats are sweet, tiny delicate little things. They don’t lead like tiny delicate little things though. Or maybe it’s that they are almost as big as the children trying to lead them. There were toes stepped on and frustrated children as they worked to figure out how to handle these small wild animals.
The goats were happy to hang out with us but not overly interested in being caught all the time. Playing with small children is exhausting for everyone.
Until we started fair preparations for real. After being held for baths and trimming the goats went from semi feral pets to lap animals. They suddenly loved being caught and came runing to us begging for attention, and more torture apparently.
It makes me think about the quadrants and how ‘reward’ isn’t necessarily what we think it should be. Treats didn’t work but a bath did?
Show day dawned hot and miserable. We were showing one of the few animals that didn’t have to spend the week at fair. Instead we could show up that morning, do our classes, and go home again! There are lots of people who enjoy camping there during fair. I do like my own bed and have plenty of work waiting at home so it’s good to be able to keep it brief.
I entered the children in their classes, even the one who wasn’t mine. Thinking about horse shows I entered them in as many as they could. If we’re driving over there we might as well make it worth the effort. That meant four classes, showmanship, halter, I don’t know what it’s called, they judge the goat not the handler, costume class, and trail.
The Goblin Child’s goat was not interested. She went between refusing to move and flying through the air in giant leaps. T.G.C. handled it wonderfully. She never let go of the collar, she didn’t cry and give up like she did when we were practicing at home.
Instead she kept a brave face despite the difficulties and heat, she held onto that goat. My favorite part was when a friend of ours that she was showing against placed higher than her. She immediately turned and congratulated him. They shared a fist bump and left the arena to continue to help each other out behind the scenes. That is what I’m hoping the children can learn from this. That little bit right there is what makes the whole summers worth of effort worth it.
That and getting to watch them in the costume class.
I decided to do a fairy goat mother. The Goblin Child decided that instead of being the mother to a fairy goat, she wanted to be Cinderella. Her friend she was showing with went as one of Cinderella’s coachmen leading a goat drawn pumpkin coach. They were darling.
The last class of the day was the trail class. They set it up out by the barn. A simple but fun course that included getting sprayed by the hose, always a plus when it’s 100 degrees out. The Goblin Child’s goat was done and she could barely drag it through. 8 watched in fascination and begged to go help her. He wanted to do it himself. I made him wait. There were only a couple of kids, human and goat, in the class. Once they were done he took Daisy, the more willing of the goats and went through the course. They did wonderfully, even jumping the jump and enjoying being sprayed.
We were all happy to be done. We had fully funded the schools ffa program buying water from them all day. There was no way to keep up with the amount of water our bodies needed in that heat. The goats had spent most of the day hanging out in the shade of the barn eating and drinking and staying cool.
Now they are at our house, instead of the friends where they stayed leading up to the show. We are learning how hard it is to keep a determined goat penned. Our goats who live happily with the cows are much easier. It has been a fun learning experience and we hope to do it again next year. The two children too young for 4h should be able to show goats still next year with Cloverbuds. They were all devoted to the goats and worked hard to get it right and do the job properly. Next year we’ll all be better prepared.