XENIA — Three goat-showers didn’t kid around and trained theirs to walk over a balance beam, under a tunnel, around multiple cones, through a pool of water, over some logs and a final hop over a pole as it was put to the test Thursday morning at the Greene County Fair.
Judge Megan Mooreman said training a goat to complete such an obstacle course takes time and patience.
“It’s definitely a team effort between the kid and their goat,” Mooreman said. “It takes a lot of work to train those animals.”
She said some goats are specifically trained to carry items through the woods, so the obstacle course was designed to imitate some things they may see in those situations. The goats were dressed in a pack with water bottles placed inside to add weight.
“It takes a lot of patience to work with goats,” Mooreman said. “They are stubborn animals, and you never know how they’re going to respond in the show ring, having the crowd and different noises. You never know how they’re going to act on show day. Even when a goat is acting stubborn, it says a lot about the showman how they react. All these kids definitely showed patience with their animals and worked through any issues they were having.”
Danielle Norman of Creative Christian Clovers took the gold with her goat Cooper in the competition, and said the key to doing so was being prepared.
“It’s good to have a connection with your goat so you can actually do this because you can’t just pull any goat through there,” Norman said.
She has participated within the competition for the last four years, and practices at home with the same obstacles featured at the fair. She hoped to give the animals the feel of an arena, but faced her challenges when she first began training.
“They eventually learned it,” Norman said. “Takes a lot of patience, though.”
Her family has their own goat herd at home, and she enjoys them because they “cooperate better than other animals,” she said.
Mooreman felt that the participants did well, and was proud of them.
“This is definitely one of the more labor-intensive projects that the goat project offers,” Mooreman said. “It takes a lot of work to train these animals.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.