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January 15, 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For!

Not quite the Christmas gift I expected!

This all started about a month before Christmas when I saw the most adorable video on Facebook—it was a whole bunch of baby goats playing and jumping around and set to music. I shared it on my Facebook page with the comment, “Aw, I want one!” 

My sister replied, “Really? This can be arranged,” to which I replied, “ha ha.” Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would arrive at my sister’s house on Christmas Day to an adorable little kid goat dressed in a Santa suit!

When Casey (my sister) and I were little, my parents had a goat named Lydia at the farm. She was really cute but she was a total pest. She was always in the way when my parents were teaching riding lessons—she would jump on and off of the jumps while students were cantering to them and she ate everything, with her favorite things being my mom’s flowers, any leather tack and equipment that was left on the ground, and LIT cigarettes! 

But she was really fun; my sister and I used to put our Western saddle on her and attempt to ride her, which never seemed to end very well for us. Unfortunately, there was a terrible barn fire at the farm and even though Lydia roamed the farm and was not locked in a stall she perished in the fire. 

A few years later after my parents bought the farm they still own, Red Acre Farm, in Stow, Mass., I remember being on the way home from the feed store with my mom and my sister in our station wagon. My mom saw a sign that said “goats for sale” and decided that we had to stop! The three Steege ladies decided that we just had to have this goat that we met named “Lilly.” 



How can you resist a face like this?

So off we went with the goat piled in the back seat of the station wagon with Casey and I. Lilly was a nice goat—she would also eat anything she could get her lips around and she loved to butt our dogs but she was friendly and interactive and fun to be around. 

However, a few weeks after we got Lilly we discovered that she was putting on the pounds. It turned out that Lilly was PREGNANT! Not too long after we had the most adorable baby goat that my sister and I named Milly. There really is nothing cuter than a baby goat and Milly and Lilly roamed all over Red Acre Farm. 

They got into their fair share of trouble. I remember one day that they somehow made it into our house, up the back stairs and into my bedroom where they were literally bouncing off the walls. They sure taught us all to put our tack and equipment away because they loved to feast on a nice piece of leather. 

I have mostly fond memories of our goats from when I was a child, so seeing this Facebook video really touched my heart and made me remember how cute they really are. That being said, I spend half of my year in Ocala, Fla., where I rent a barn at the HITS horse show grounds and I spend the other half of my year in Far Hills, N.J., where I rent stalls at Weatherstone Farm and spend at least two weeks a month traveling to horse shows. Needless to say, I don’t really have the best environment for farm animals, so the thought of reliving my childhood and getting myself a goat has never really crossed my mind. 

I guess when I look back, my sister did give me a few hints. First there was the reply to the goat video on Facebook, then a week or so before Christmas she called me when she was out shopping and said she was having a total meltdown because she couldn’t find anything that she wanted to get any of us except a goat for me and a donkey for my mom. I chuckled and never really thought about it again. I knew she wasn’t really getting my mom a donkey for Christmas so why would I think that she was really getting me a goat for Christmas? 

Then my mom called me Christmas morning and said that Casey requested that I call when I was 10 minutes away from her farm so she could “prepare my Christmas present.” I said nervously to my boyfriend, Tim Delovich, “Oh God I hope she didn’t buy me a goat, ha ha ha.” Honestly, I still really did not think that would be the case. I was wrong.

Casey was holding my present in the barn—the most adorable, blue eyed goat dressed in a Santa Claus outfit! He is the sweetest, most adorable, cuddly goat I ever have seen. We spent the rest of Christmas playing with him, trying to teach him to lead on the leash, reading the “How To Get The Most Out Of Your Goat” book, and trying to think of the perfect name.

I ended up deciding on the name “Cappy,” short for “Capricorn,” since I got him in December, which is the month of Capricorn, and since he is A GOAT!

For now Cappy is living at my sister’s farm and he has made friends with one of her miniature horses, Mighty. Casey has the perfect set-up for him at her place and she has been doing lots of goat training! He rides in the golf cart, walks on a leash, jumps up on anything he can find (including his miniature horse friend), picks up all his feet in preparation for the farrier, and stands up on his hind legs for a treat.  

We have had a few cold and wet days in Ocala and Cappy had to wear one of the Jack Russel’s coat to stay warm. He has come over to the barn at HITS a few times to visit Team Ashmeadow and has met all of the horses and dogs. I just love him; he is so much fun. I just have to figure out how I can make it work for him to come and live with us. For sure I will never forget Christmas 2013 when I received Cappy The Goat!

A trainer specializing in hunters, jumpers and equitation, Amanda Steege operates Ashmeadow Farm out of Far Hills, N.J. Read more about her and about her experience in her first WCHR Professional Finals