How to Pick a Pack Goat Saddle
Picking a pack goat saddle can feel overwhelming. Especially when you’re new to goat packing. There’s several manufacturers, each with multiple models, not to mention their pricing! This blog and video aim to help you in the decision making process. Marc Warnke breaks down the different styles of pack goat saddle, their pros and cons, and their ideal uses. Not any saddle is suitable to every goat packer, much less every goat.
The Three Variables for Picking a Pack Goat Saddle
Picking a saddle comes down to 3 variables. Purpose, Goat, and Budget. Keeping these variables in mind is crucial to picking the right saddle.
Purpose: The first thing to consider when looking for a saddle is what are your packing goals? How many trips or miles do you go each season? Do you want to use pack goats primarily for day trips or short weekends? Or are you going for 4+ day base camp expeditions? Just taking them out bird hunting or fishing? Or are you pushing the limits? There’s no judgement, but this will help you decide which saddle suits you best.
Goat: The second thing to consider when looking for a saddle is the individual goat. Not every saddle will fit any goat! Are you packing with does or 40″ tall wethers? Are your goats bodacious Boers or A-frame Alpines? The size and build of your goat in conjunction with your packing goals may affect your decision on saddles. Does or smaller bodied males might be too small for classic cross-bucks and will fit better in adult soft packs. Non-adjustable classic saddles may not be best for round bodied goats. It’s important to consider the individual goats in your herd when making these decisions. As good goat stewards we owe it to them. It can save a lot of trouble and even vet visits in the long run.
Budget: Finally, the last thing to consider is your budget. Yes, this should be the last thing to consider. No one assumes you have endless cash. However, it’s crucial to consider budget last to make the right investment. Worst comes to worst, it might mean you hold off on a purchase in order to save up and increase your budget! Buying an inadequate saddle for your purpose and goat is more money lost in the long run. Don’t make a poor decision when picking a pack goat saddle.
The Full Lineup
Check out this video for the full saddle lineup giving the overview of what’s out there. Yes it’s a long video, but it’s worth taking the time to make the right choice. Your packing future (and your goats’) depends on it. Not all saddles are created equal.
Kid Trainer Pack – Great for 4-H showing, great for pack goats in training. It also can work for miniature and dwarf breeds. It is a light duty pack, as a trainer it should be used for BULK ONLY, very little weight. The best part is it’s sold as a package and the panniers are removable for individual weighing. Fits up to about 150 lb goats.
Adult Soft Saddle – Also great for 4-H, great for smaller goats who don’t fit a standard cross-buck. With a 35 lb capacity this saddle is perfect for goats 150 lbs or more. Soft saddle design guarantees great fit. It’s the most affordable saddle and pannier set out there. Sold as a package, also with detachable panniers for balancing.
Classic Cross-buck – The standard, most well know saddle. The classic design is where it all started, that said, classic saddles have a few weaknesses to overcome. This is a great saddle that is ideal for packers with adult goats who need more weight capacity per goat than the soft saddle but only plan on a few trips a season. This style of saddle has inherent fit issues and is not recommended for heavy loading, long mileage, or high trip volume. If you have this style of saddle or plan on getting one, make sure you have adequate pads, it’s crucial for your goats.
Marc Warnke Signature Series – The MWSS saddle is for hardcore packers. You plan on multiple trips a season, high mileage, and more weight capacity. You require a fully adjustable saddle with integrated padding that won’t make your goats sore. This saddle is perfect for big game hunters and hardcore packers that want to go where few others have been before.