Our eyes met from across the pen.
It was on.
To Catch A Goat You Must Never Hesitate And Never Let Go
I was alone and had to treat an eye infection in a 45 lb goat kid before it spread to the rest of the herd. She was wild. I got within four feet of her, threw myself in her general direction and was able to grab a leg. Number one rule of catching a goat, do not hesitate. She dragged me at least four feet across the pen and we ended up with me flat on my back in mud and her on top of my chest, with my left arm wrapped around her neck and my right arm wrapped around her lower abdomen. The Teramycin (antibiotic) was in my front right pocket of my jeans. How was I going to get it out, open the tube and squeeze it in her eye? Always remember, the number two rule of catching a goat is if you have it, you do not let go even if it’s kicking you in the face. Using strength found in the "I f****** hate goats" part of my brain, I rolled onto my side and then rolled again so I was laying on top of her. Using my body weight as leverage, I grabbed the medicine out of my pocket, untwisted the cap with the same hand I was holding it in, held her eye open and squirted it in.
To Catch A Goat You Must Learn How The Goat Thinks
Rule number three is to know what type of goat you are dealing with.
There are three types of goats. The first is the friendly goat. This type can be identified easily by the fact that they like to press their head against your leg and slowly lean into you. They also paw at you and sometimes try to lay on your lap even though, when full grown, they are 150 pounds. They think you are amazing and will do nothing to hurt them, ever. This is the stupidest type of goat but also, the most awesome.
The second type is the indifferent goat. This is your normal, average, run of the mill goat that generally goes where it should, when it should and is quite indifferent your existence. All you are is the bringer of food in the winter. This type can be identified by their air of indifference and lack of gratitude. They are of average intelligence.
The third type is the wild goat. This type is the kind that if one day you stopped feeding and watering them they would be fine. They’d go feral quicker than a dog rolls in fresh horse shit. You are not irrelevant to them. You are a threat. This type can be identified by the look in their eyes and their location on the outer edge of the herd. They are always watching you. They are smarter than you.
To Catch A Goat You Must Prepare Thyself
Rule number four is to wear sensible footwear. Cowboy boots? Really? That’s a recipe for slipping and falling on your ass. Oh, and rule number five is don’t have anything sharp in your pockets.
To Catch Goat Type I: The Friendly Goat
The goat walks up to you and asks you what it can do for you today. You scratch it on the head and say thank you goat, please follow me.
To Catch A Goat Type II: The Indifferent Goat
The goat notices you walk into the pen but quickly loses interest. You use your zen-like, emotionless and calm demeanor you’ve cultivated over the years to lull it into a false sense of security. Rule number six is you never make eye contact with the target. NEVER. Do not look at it, do not think about it, do not acknowledge its existence. Your calm mind is their calm mind. If you get angry or agitated so does the goat. Rule number seven is YOU DO NOT GET ANGRY. You slowly walk through the herd scritching and petting other goats till you are near it and then in one motion, too quick to be registered by the goat, you grab it and hold on for dear life. They are stronger than they look and you just startled them. The qualifier rule here is that if it is a wild goat, rule number six and seven are null and void.
To Catch A Goat Type III: The Wild Goat
The goat knew you were going to come in to the pen to try to catch it before you even opened your eyes that morning.
There is no way in hell they are letting you get near them.
So, what is a goat rancher to do? It usually involves at least two people unless you're an expert goat catcher like myself.
You get as close as you can, have someone else block off their main exit and you throw yourself in their general direction, arms out in front of you, aiming to grab on to a back foot and if you are lucky enough to get that back foot, you hold on like you’ve never held on to anything before in your life. Rule number eight is to watch out for their horns. There is no more zen, no more quiet movements through the herd. It is all out tackle football. You cannot have any regard for your body. You must act with decisiveness.
Rule number nine, if you hesitate, you lose.
Now, there are many life lessons to be learned from this.
For me, it is that I should learn to rope and build a sorting pen that goats can't escape from.