Not Goat Yoga

I have a nice feeding pen for the goats that connects the pastures to the back of the barn. They don't want to be penned up in stalls but they don't want to leave the feeding pen with any speed either. Every couple of months I bring Sadie out into the feeding pen with me. She is long past the days when she wanted to chase the goats but they are still frightened of her enough to scamper out the gate into their pasture when she shows up. It puts a little pep in their step that slowly wares off over the following weeks. After 4 to 6 weeks, they don't remember she was ever there and I have to chase them out of the feeding pen.

It had gotten to that point in the process. The goats were not automatically heading for the gate as soon as I opened it. I don't want to terrorize them but I would very much like them to walk out the gate rather than me having to chase them out. 

About a week ago I brought Sadie into the feeding area with me. The goats all gasped and huddled together at the far end of the pen. I should say at this point that Sadie is a Labrador Retriever who has no understanding of retrieving and doesn't really listen to commands except when there is food involved. Ask her to sit for a treat and her butt is on the ground in a nanosecond. She never met a stranger and loves everyone but asking her to go around the back of the goats and urge them towards the gate requires skills and training she just doesn't have.

As Sadie wandered around the pen sniffing the ground, the goat herd moved fluidly and easily away from her. Fitz broke for the open gate. I saw him coming and took a step backwards so as not to deter him from getting out the gate. That would have been fine except for Pi who was making a mad dash around my back to get out that same gate. Pi slammed into my leg and I hit the ground. Fortunately, I landed on my most well padded body part. It was immediately obvious that I wasn't hurt, except for my pride, but Sadie dashed over to check on me. When the dogs knocked me to the ground 4 years ago and I broke my ankle in three places, Sadie wrapped her body around my head as I lay on the ground and wouldn't move until Ron brought out a leash and dragged her away. This time she ran up to me, gave me one quick sniff and wandered off. It was clear to her I wasn't hurt and she had other things to do.

By the time I rolled over and got myself up off the ground, all the goats were well up the pasture and Sadie was still looking for the freshest goat berries to eat. Since then, the goats are moving more quickly out of the feeding pen. When I again need to remind them to move quickly, I'll try to be more aware and not get knocked over.