It's All a Matter of Your Perspective (2002)
From time to time, it seems we tire of the view we have of something and we wonder if our perspective is really valid. When that occurs, perhaps it is time to get up and change your seat! Take a look at things from a different view.

Carrie and I have a great relationship and agree about most things. The one area that we differ in is our view of what style of goat we like. Carrie likes those big massive thick does that have huge butt ends and good tops. I tend to like the more streamlined does that have a little more leg under them and who are well endowed with flat muscle. Those differences have caused us to have more than one 'tiff' at the doe kid pen while evaluating and selecting our keeper does.

We only keep a few dairy cross does in our flock for nurse goat purposes as they tend to drive me nuts. My perspective is that they are louder, harder to keep in fences and more finicky when it comes to winter weather and feed than our full bloods or percentage meat goat crosses. We only have one full blood dairy doe, a Sannen named Gem. Gem had a nice half blood doe kid last spring which Carrie named Diamond and Maren decided should be shortened to Dime. Since Gem was always in confinement due to her being a nurse goat, Dime soon became friendly and Maren adopted her as her very own goat. Within a couple of weeks, Dime had also adopted Maren. Whenever Maren would go outside, she would open the gate and Dime would come out and they would go play, sometimes for hours, sometimes for a lesser period of time as Maren would get mad and Dime would soon be back in her pen.

Boyer Land and Livestock
Tom, Carrie & Maren Boyer
Coalville, Utah
As the summer wore on, Maren trained Dime to lead by her ear or by a lead. We could often find Maren by looking for Dime. My view of all of this was that Dime was indeed a good baby sitter for Maren, but in the back of my mind, I wondered why she could not have picked a nice full blood doe kid that she could have taken to the show and done well with. As August approached, Carrie and I began to pick out show flock and it soon dawned on Maren that she should also have a show goat.

Of course, Dime was her choice and she had no interest in switching to another goat for her show doe. Finally, we 'negotiated' a deal with her that she could show Dime if she would also show a wether or two. I was not all that excited to have Dime show up in the show ring as she was just a goat and would not stand much competition, but a deal was a deal and so we loaded her up with the rest of the flock and headed to Douglas, Wyoming for the Wyoming State Fair. During the preparation day, Dime was really handy as she kept Maren busy and around the pens. Then came show day and Maren was the first one into the show ring with Dime. She was followed by Carrie with another percentage doe kid. Maren was so proud of Dime, she showed her well and ended up second behind Carrie. Then what happened next, made me get up and change my seat. The judge proceeded to explain that Dime was the best goat in the entire barn that day as she was Maren's show goat and would hopefully be the first of many goats that Maren would show in her lifetime. As I stood there at the pen, I realized that she was a great goat and I have had a different perspective of Dime ever since. There has been, however, two setbacks in my opinion. One came on a day, when I was busy working on the farm and not paying attention to Maren, I just knew she was 'around'. Then Carrie figured out that she and Dime were in my office. I was forced to utter a few discouraging words as Dime was on my desk when I walked in. To say things were in disarray is the understatement of the year! The second setback came when Dime ate the heat records on our recipient does for our flush. We only set them down for a few minutes and upon turning around, the only thing remaining was the clipboard! Carrie reminded me that in ten years only the good and funny memories of Dime will remain.

I have learned that having two different perspectives on our animals is really a very valuable thing. It gives us a 'synergy' that we could never achieve in any other way. By having Carrie's view and a group of goats that fit her style and a group that fit my style we have found that a combination of the two styles often produces a winner that we both like.

One of the greatest mistakes that I have witnessed over my years in showing livestock is the attempt to change your style of animal to fit the most recent champion. Very seldom does that approach payoff. It is like a dog chasing their own tail. You can never really get the job done. By the time you get those genetics in place, the industry has moved on and you are always in pursuit but never can arrive. It is a frustrating exercise in futility. Much better is the strategy of developing in your own mind the perfect goat and holding that mental picture out there as your goal. Then moving steadily towards that goal, only making changes as you decide appropriate after pondering and thinking about the prospective changes for a period of time.
Finally after you make your decision and are sticking to it, you may get discouraged from time to time as you are not always successful in the show ring or in some other aspect. In those times of discouragement, it is often helpful to just get up and change your seat....and get that new perspective!