A Nigerian dwarf goat and a former Alberta packhorse have formed a unique bond on a farm in the South Slocan region of the Kootenays.
Aimee Kootnikoff shared photos and a video of her goat named Arret and her horse Bouge on social media. The pair are quickly becoming celebrities.
The video shows the goat jumping off a haystack onto the horse's back and then riding around the barnyard.
Kootnikoff says her farm animals do more than just hang out, "I thought he was just standing on him at first and just bragging a little bit to the other goats. But he's progressed to actually giving him some commands to move the horse around the yard."
Kootnikoff says Arret has tried to ride some of her other horses and that hasn't worked out, "the goat tried to jump on my other horse Rio. And that didn't end well for him. He went flying off the back."
Arret could be a frustrated cowboy but it appears the pair have a mutually satisfying relationship. Kootnikoff credits the goat with being smart enough to realize he can reach more food on the horse's back than competing with the other farm animals on the ground.
Bouge the horse seems to like having his back scratched by the goat's hoofs.
"I think it's intelligence. I think he realized that he could reach higher stuff when he is on the horse. And I think the intelligence part really comes in when he figured out how to get him to move. In the one video I posted he actually gets the horse to walk around the yard and he stopped him or the horse stops. I don't know who's doing the communicating. But I'm assuming the goats doing a bit of communicating there to get him to stop."
The pair have been riding around the yard for the past couple of weeks and Kootnikoff says they appear to be gaining confidence and skill. "I'm excited to see where we end up." Kootnikoff says she might even start taking the pair around to some horse shows or local fairs this summer.
"It seems like the amount of time he's spending on him is increasing. So he's definitely enjoying it. And he also just started to lay down on his back. So he'll paw his back a little bit, and then he'll lay down and just start taking a little nap. It's super sweet."
Kootnikoff believes the pair have found a way to communicate using body language. Arret will let Bouge know he wants to get on the horse's back by putting his front hoofs on the horse's side
"Arret will jump on his side and start pawing on him almost to be like, 'hey, buddy, like let me up. I want to come up.'"
You can follow the farm adventures on Kootnikoff's Instagram page.