The Parcmawr Herd: Boers and
          Boer crosses

e-mail:    mwshackles@ddol-las.net

             My final BT, Parcmawr Eldorado,  is mated to one of my Boer males each year.  In 2005, she produced triplets, a girl and two boys, mostly white in colour, but with light brown on their heads and necks and dark Swiss face markings.  The girl was sold and we kept the boys, who had been castrated at birth.  They were such nice kids and so well matched that I didn’t feel that it was right to eat them; instead I conceived the idea of trying to break them in to harness.   This wasn’t quite so rash as you might imagine, because I had previously broken our Welsh Mountain pony and my Welsh Cob (one at a time) to harness while we lived at Parc Mawr.  This was going to be a bit different, because in addition to the change of species, I was going to get them to work as a pair.  We named them Port and Starb’d and I supplied them with red and green collars, so that we would always know which was which and which way round they went.  

 I made  harness for them  from nylon webbing (red for Port, green for Starb’d)  We refurbished an old hand trolley we’d had lying around for years, replacing its handle with a pole and swingle trees.   When they were two years old in 2007, we had progressed to the point where they were able to pull the trolley.  Our first outing in public was to a (horse) Driving Show.  The boys were captivated by the whole thing.  Being castrates, they’d never been in the trailer or travelled anywhere away from home and had never appeared at a public occasion of any sort.  When it was our turn to go in the ring two of my helpers led them while I walked by the trolley giving the orders. Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable day! 

 
At the harness show, Leominster, their first outing in public.  A video of this can be seen on Youtube.  Carting hay (right).


In mid May a further challenge was th
e Smallholder Festival at the Royal Welsh Showground, where we were required to make an exhibition of ourselves.   The boys proved an enormous attraction, as did the two baby Boer kids I took as well. 

The next step forward in the training process, was to bring in a load of hay.  We make hay by hand, a bit at a time.   The boys are very intelligent and soon worked out that they were actually DOING SOMETHING USEFUL.  

In 2008 my husband built me a 'sit-on' show wagon  so that I don't have to drive them from the side.  In this picture you can only see Starb'd, but Port is
there too!
Picture of show wagonPort with broken leg
The show wagon on the first outing on the road (left), and Port looking sorry for himself (right).

There was something of a setback in 2009 when Port managed to break his leg (in his pen during the night!).  However with treatment he seems to have recovered fully and was able to help with moving wood when we took down a hedge to make a new entrance in 2010.
carting wood  show wagon and goats
Carting wood back to be made into firewood (left) and the show wagon with the goats ready to roll.