Pacifying billy-goat now wants anxious mare all to himself

2017-02-01 14:29
The jealous billy goat looks on as the foal is let out of the stable. (Le Roux Schoeman, Netwerk24)

The jealous billy goat looks on as the foal is let out of the stable. (Le Roux Schoeman, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - What started off as a close relationship between a Saddlebred mare and a billy-goat, soured when a third party made an appearance.

The King and I, a thoroughbred who suffered from anxiety, bonded with a billy-goat named King almost immediately when he was brought to her last year to calm her, Netwerk24 reported.

The two became a veritable David and Jonathan – until three weeks ago. King's nose was completely out of joint after The King and I gave birth to a foal on a farm outside Stellenbosch. 

“The foal, also a mare, was born prematurely and the billy-goat was bigger than her. We noticed after a few days that King was becoming jealous. The mare didn’t mind having two children, but King started butting her when her foal wanted to drink.  

“We decided to keep them apart at night,” said Petro Botha, co-owner of The King and I. 

“We’d initially thought that The King and I would reject or hurt the goat after foaling, but she wanted to keep both.”


Botha said there was no guarantee that the use of another animal would help calm a horse. It doesn't have the same effect on all horses.

“As a breeder you have to know with what personalities you are working. King of the Highland, a national champion who’d sired The King and I, had also been nervous before a show and she’s inherited that from him.”    

Botha added that The King and I’s nervousness influenced her performance at shows. 

“She couldn’t stand still and paced up and down in the stables before going onto the stage. One could almost say she had stage fright.” 

King was bought to calm her down – and it almost immediately happened. 

The two “children” aren’t giving The King and I too much trouble. As soon as they’re let out of the stables, the two run alongside each other and sometimes even play.

The King and I is six years old and mated with another champion, Four by Four.  

“I’m getting several suggestions for a name, but we are still looking at her characteristics and are trying to identify her strong suits before giving her a name.” 

Botha said the million dollar question was if they were going to put The King and I on show again, or use her for breeding. 

“We don’t have an answer to that question yet.”

The billy-goat gives the foal a fright while its mother The King and I has her back turned. (Le Roux Schoeman, Netwerk24)

Read more on:    cape town  |  animals

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