Do goats and horses make good buddies? 

I’m writing this article for one reason, and one reason only.  I WANT A GOAT.  But how would this work?  Ideally, it would be so cute, and never grow up, and be able to use the cat’s litter box and be carried around in my backpack.  Realistically, it would need to live at the barn and be a companion for the horses.  But, is it a good idea for horses and goats to live together?  Or even on the same farm?

Thank goodness for my “Operation Goat” campaign that the answers to those questions are both YES.  Goats and horses do work well together, and being on the same farm is even better for you in terms of pasture management.  


This is Lily, I met her last year at WEF.  What you see is real - a cute goat, a leash, and a dress. 


I tend to worry about stuff like communicable diseases, but as it turns out, goats and horses have their own sets of diseases and don’t really like to share them.  Same goes for most primary intestinal parasites.  


The beauty of most goats is that they like to eat weeds, bark, leaves, brush and will ignore grasses and legumes.  Horses prefer grasses and legumes, so keeping horses and goats on the same farm can work wonders for your pastures.  Get rid of the “icky” stuff and this allows for more horse friendly forage to grow.  Horses and goats can share the same pastures, or you can rotate them.  In some parts of the country you can even rent a herd of goats to descend upon your property and clean it up.  




Most goats don’t need additional grains or supplements, unless they are pregnant, nursing, or growing.  In fact, male goats can perish from urinary problems and stones related to this type of food.  You may need to supplement your goat’s weedy and barky diet with some hay in the winter.  


Goats also make excellent companions for horses, most racetracks have a population of goats that live (and travel) with some of the horses.  I have known a few horses myself that have a companion goat, living in the same stall and being turned out together.  As herd animals, horses need a buddy.  It’s often more financially feasible to have a goat for your horse instead of another pony, but you would be hard pressed to talk me out of getting a pony, too. 


You do need to watch out for the many escape routes that goats can find.  They are surprisingly nimble, and can do the limbo under the shortest fence if need be.  They also enjoy climbing and jumping, as proven by every single goat video ever uploaded.  (I have seen almost all of them, I’m sure!)


What you do think about goats and horses?