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Pack goat leads girl to Columbus

ROME TOWNSHIP— One young lady’s skill using goats as pack animals and to pull carts has earned her an invitation to the Ohio State Dairy Goat Conference Oct. 27 in Columbus. Kaitlyn Huddle got the invitation Thursday after dairy goat judge Pat Cornell, of Medina, saw her abilities on display Thursday at the Lawrence County Junior Fair.

Not everyone who has farm animals raises goats and not everyone who raises goats trains them to do what Kaitlyn does. Duke, her Nubian, first battled an obstacle course in the advanced pack goat competition and then made his way along a set-up street course pulling a two-wheel cart carrying Huddle. Cornell was impressed.

“He went forward well, did his turns, stopped at the mailbox. The young lady driving did a beautiful job and she is to be congratulated for her time and effort. It takes a lot of time on the exhibitor’s part to train the animal— this is natural for the animal to do this. They have to be trained,” Cornell said.

Huddle was the only entrant in the advanced pack goat and cart goat competition and as such took top honors. Cornell was pleased with Huddle’s ability to lead a goat through a pack course as well.

“This is probably one of the best,” Cornell said. “He didn’t balk at the water. He has a lot of confidence in his owner.”

Huddle also took home the trophy for dairy goat showman in the senior division. For Huddle, working with her goats (another Nubian, Razz, also attended the fair) is more like an afternoon with friends than an animal competition.

“My goats are the greatest,” Huddle said. “They have their own personality. They’re like dogs, basically.”

She has been involved with goats five years and said she spends as much time as possible training and caring for them.

“There is so much you can do with them,” she said. “I think more kids should get involved with goats. There is so much more you can do with them beyond 4-H.”

Cornell shares Huddle’s opinion of goats, saying they have more personality than some animals and make wonderful pets. They also live up to the old phrase “beasts of burden,” she said, because they can carry 35-40 percent of their weight even while traveling in difficult terrain. When Cornell said cart and pack goats are used out west to carry loads into places were horses and mules can’t go — goat hooves are different from horse and mule hooves, allowing it to jump creeks and ravines and navigate rocky places.