A year or so ago I found an antique goat cart on eBay. The plan was to teach Ewen McTeagle or maybe Baaxter how to pull it, but last summer was so hot that it never happened. I didn't want to wait too long this spring to try it out and in the meantime I picked a different sheep.
I've always thought there was something special about Andy. He was constantly in trouble over at Final Frontier Farm, but it was like he was on a mission. We'll never know what that mission was, but by late summer he'd made enough of an impression on me that I brought him home.
I put Graham's collar on him last year and occasionally led him around the barn lot in the evenings, but nothing more. He continued to get into trouble on our farm, but usually in ways that made you realize he was a sheep of above average intelligence. A quick learner.
He was a little afraid of the harness at first, no surprise. Valerie and I both held a lead to be safe and he settled into it pretty quickly.
We walked around outside.
Auntie Reg brought the cart around while Andy got a good look at it...and decided Reg was doing a fine job pulling it ;-D.
And then we walked around behind it so he could get used to the noise of the metal wheels on gravel.
And then we realized that we were missing 20!
I love this picture. I'd normally not be wearing a pink shirt but I'd been over at the airport taking pictures in the morning and that's one of my airport shirts. Great catch by photographer neighbor Jennifer!
We were all smiles here...until the cart came around behind him and he panicked and I couldn't keep hold. We caught up with him in the barn, got him settled down, put the harness back on and regrouped. At this point I wasn't sure this was going to work.
I realized though that not only were we asking him to do something scary, but we were doing it in a place he'd never been before. Since he's familiar with the barn aisle, we figured out a way to work in there.
At first we just got him used to the look of the cart behind him. Then the sound of it moving. Then the sound of it following him as he moved. He figured everything out in no time!
We even set the cart shafts into the harness loops so he could feel the weight of the cart and then asked him to walk up and down the aisleway with Reg and Valerie holding the cart into place. We didn't want to clip him in on his first day in case something scared him. We also lifted the cart off of him to turn around at each end.
I have seldom been as impressed with an animal as I was of Andy this afternoon. Obviously having really good help made a big difference, but still...this could easily have not been a successful venture. For him to have been so willing to give it a try...well, there's always been something about Andy...
Here is a short video: