Historically, goats have been used to pull small carts and carriages for both practical and frivolous purposes. They offer a relatively inexpensive alternative to horse-drawn transport. More utilitarian carts are used with large breed like the Boer goat, but any goat can be trained to draw a suitably size load.
These carts have been used for the following reasons:
- For special parades and celebrations
- As children's toys
- To pull small loads
- As transportation, and
- as amusement rides.
Costume and Parade
Goats carts appear in parades and as part of elaborate costumes. For example, the picture above appears to date from the 1930s and the goat card is standing in for the kind of chariot that might be more appropriate for a Grecian goddess. Or perhaps, as Thor himself is said to drive a chariot pulled by two billy goats, this is already entirely fitting!
In an era when their parents got around on horseback or by carriage, many children had smaller sized equestrian equipment. This scale model tack was perfect for a goat. And a properly trained goal with be fairly calm and tractable, and so safe for children.
While few children in the modern error need to develop carriage-driving skills, some still make goat carts as a fun hobby activity. Some fairs and agricultural shows even host goat cart races.
Drawing Small Loads
Carts also had a practical use prior to the availability of engines. They were used on farms for small loads like hay or to deliver products through winding and narrow streets that might be difficult to navigate with a larger vehicle.
Small wooden hay carts of this type are now sought after items for collectors of antiques and rustic decor items.
Photo credit: Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons / Foter.com
The use of goat carts by adults was less common but did occur. While avoided by most adult men, goats might be employed by the disabled or elderly. Often a pair or team of goats would be used.
Goat carts might also be rented to both adults and children at beaches, piers, and other tourist or vacationing areas.
Goat cart racing also sometimes occurred spontaneously or at fairs and other gatherings.
Goat carts are still offered as children's entertainment in various countries (see video below).
The use of goat carts fell out of widespread use by the late 1940s. However, all of these uses sometimes occur with modern goat owners, as hobbyists and for historical reenactment.
You will also still see goat carts in use in developing nations where access other forms of transport is limited.