With a new year and a new decade upon us, I am filled with excitement for the endless possibilities that lay in front of us all. 2020 is sure to be a big year for us here as we launch our full programming and move full steam ahead. For that reason I have chosen one of my oldest goats for this weeks GotW post. She was the first Nigerian Dwarf Goat born at my farm, so she has been with us on this journey almost from the very beginning. Cassi has the distinction of being the very first registered Sky River Meadows baby. She is a daughter of our herd Queen Bonnie, and our herd King Gigalo. A "Princess Royal" in everything she does, including attitude. Do not let that beautiful baby face of hers fool you. Cassi is as fierce as they come in my herd. She has a mean streak and is easily the toughest fighter amongst my does. Those piercing blue eyes of hers stare straight into your soul. When Cassi works with people, she has a tendency to cut straight to the heart of the matter to draw attention to whatever issues need working with. Her direct nature, no BS attitude and stunning beauty all make Cassi a force to be reckoned with here at the farm. She also is seemingly fearless and delights in taking on any dogs that wander too close and are fool enough to turn their back. I once witnessed all 75 pounds of her hit a 120 pound dog so hard, the poor dog was sent somersaulting. Cassi is a force indeed!
Cassi was born in the Spring of 2012. At the time our herd was still quite small (about 10) and we were still uncertain of the direction the farm was headed. Cassi was one of twins that were the first Nigerian babies born under the farm name. She and her brother Orion were both quite flashy, with stunning blue eyes. Being born to our herd Queen Bonnie, I had my hands full trying to socialize these two babies. Bonnie would hide them from me or play keep away by not letting me catch them. In the end though, time and patience always win out. Cassi is very particular about how she gets touched and where. When being brushed, Cassi actually prefers it if you just firmly hold the brush tightly and she will brush herself. It would seem that us poor lowly humans just can't do it the right way to suit her. She does tend to be quite rough with herself though so I prefer she do it her own way as well. She does appreciate being clean and looking her best. She is also one of a few goats who I can say "ask" to have their hooves trimmed. When Cassi sees me making the rounds doing hooves, she always seems to "get in line" to be one of the first ones done. I guess there is something to be said for a good pedicure. She does seem to appreciate a good hoof trim though.
I often think that the trimming of their hooves must feel weird to goats, but perhaps it is also solidifying their connection to the earth. As my goats work for a living to earn their keep, ensuring they remain in good health is essential. We all need a good solid foundation on which to work with. Goats are no different. When we have a solid foundation and are grounded in our day to day lives, we feel better and perform better. For those who are unfamiliar, goats are cloven hooved, meaning they have two toes on each hoof. The hooves of goats in captivity need to be trimmed regularly in order to keep them balanced on a good foundation. For prey animals (animals that are food for other animals in the wild) having a good foundation with the earth is essential to survival. Prey animals ability to "flight or fight" at a moments notice is literally the difference between staying alive or not. Their very ability to read the energies around them in order to survive depend on it. For prey animals, the alternative to being ungrounded is to become food for another animal. That's a hefty price to pay for sure. What powerful teachers prey animals become when you observe the lessons they share. We can learn a lot about being grounded and living in the moment just by sharing space and spending time with them. For Cassi I certainly feel that is the case. I often think of her as one of my most "grounded" goats. Funny thing about Cassi though - she isn't that friendly. She has no interest in being a therapy goat most of the time and really only comes forward for people who have a deep need to get a direct message - usually about being grounded and present in their bodies. Cassi is blunt and to the point, very much the way a horse is in Equine Facilitated Learning. She seems to have no patience for BS, and wants people to be feeling their best authentic selves immediately. She gets her message across very directly as well. She will rub her head, butt, paw and sometimes even nip to get her point across. She is so direct in fact that I have needed to step in to intervene so that she didn't get out of hand in communicating. She is not afraid to step up her game to be sure her message is heard, and I am always there to try to interpret the best I can. She always moves on quickly after sharing with someone. She is a very important goat after all, and has other important things to be doing ;)
Now that Cassi has reached maturity, she doesn't have much to worry about. Retirement suits her. She is also dealing with a health issue that requires most of her focus and energy to get well. Cassi has a few daughters in our numbers that will take her place amongst the breeding females, and Cassi can just focus on spreading her wisdom to our clients and getting well. When visitors come to the farm, most of them will get to meet Cassi. She seems to want to meet everyone that comes to visit. Most will just be met with her icy stare, but a few may be lucky enough to brush her. Many will be met with her vigorous head rubbing against their knees and even a few others may get a playful nip from her. Be warned if you wear rubber boots to the farm! Cassi for some reason really detests certain kinds of rubber boots. I have had to leash her to stop her from head butting people right out of their offensive boots! LOL! Like I said, that baby face of hers is super deceiving and allows her to get close enough to people just to prove she's not just a pretty face. Beautiful blue eyed wee devil she is. A spitfire, just like her mamma.