Blue Heelers and Goats!
One of the best parts of Animal Wrangling is the fantastic personalities you get to meet and train with. I am talking the animals here but some of the humans have been a lot of fun too!
The script came in that Blue Heelers needed a Milk Goat Breed, it was the pet of an Italian Gentleman.
On the phone and calling around, who had milk goats, what breed would be best suited?
who had one that was maybe halter trained or at least well handled to start with?
What did the goat have to do? Well that was pretty vague as usual, get there and wing it.
I got hold of a lovely lady who bred milk goats and ran a small dairy. She had a couple of Bucklings that had been handled and were still of an age to be outgoing and not too ....well Buck like.
I travelled down to the farm at Pearcedale and met her goats and we decided on two of the boys as they travel better together than alone.
Filming date was set and we met at location. Script was still quite vague as to the actions required so all we could do was condition the boys to the area and the equipment.
As it turned out the lovely gentleman in the pic was cast as the 'farmer' and we were so lucky that he immediately took to the boys and the boys to him. You are often not that blessed with the actors ability to settle in and be around the animals.
The area was a long barn with a breezeway through the middle. the man had to stand with a goat at the heel position, then on action! he had to run through the barn with the goat and exit out the end. First run through was a bit rough but the Buckling was more than happy to have a go and strode out enthusiastically! The guy had trouble keeping up!
On the next run through the goat slowed his pace to match that of the mans, then at the end of the run through trotted back to the start position and waited for him.
I couldn't help laughing at the look on that goats face "ready??"
Action! Off they went again...and again...and again. That goat went back to his mark each time like he was born to the screen. The old boy was puffing a bit but the goat was just hitting his stride.
Lessons learned that day, goats can be easier to work with than dogs, never underestimate how far kindness will get you with a goat and be grateful when you get human that is as kind as the goat.