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Goats

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Billy Kettle
124696.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:18 pm Reply with quote

Contrary to popular belief and comics, goats do not eat your washing, or chase you, head down, with the intention of butting your nether regions.

They are very, very picky eaters. They will, out of curiousity, grab a mouthful of said washing and probably pull it off the line but they will not eat it. They might eat paper but not plastic, carrots but not parsnips or onions. They love nettles and are, by nature, browsers on scrub and bushes. They are called, in Africa in particular, "The Desert Makers".

 
strukkanurv
124730.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:12 pm Reply with quote

Can anyone explain the origins of the phrase: 'Gets my goat!' ?

 
Billy Kettle
126135.  Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:45 pm Reply with quote

Ah, strukkanurv, I believe that it originates from the time when owners of race horses kept a goat corralled with their horses to keep them calm. If the goat was taken away, the nags became upset and agitated therefore, if someone "got your goat" you would become agitated.

Source - The Phrase Finder.

 
Jenny
126453.  Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:45 pm Reply with quote

That's interesting BK - got a source for that one?

 
suze
126555.  Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:27 am Reply with quote

There are a number of other theories on this one.

Two which are frankly unlikely and cannot be firmly attributed, but have some supporters in etymological circles are these:

* That it was originally "get one's goad" - a goad being something like a cattle prod used to "encourage" livestock. So something which gets one's goat makes one wish to use one's cattle prod on it.

* That it was "get one's gut" - so something which gets one's goat makes one feel peculiar in the stomach.


H L Mencken was a supporter of the racehorse notion to which Billy refers, but there's a problem with it. The first citation for "get one's goat" is from 1909 (it was used in a newspaper out of Stevens Point, Wisconsin). That would tend to suggest that the practice of keeping goats with racehorses was well known at the time - but the Victorians wrote about racing rather a lot and never alluded to it, it certainly doesn't happen today, and in fact there is no convincing evidence that it ever did.

The Random House dictionary gives a 1904 citation for "goat" being jail slang for "angry" - it could be said of someone that "he has the goat today". It is easy enough to see how that could have evolved into "getting one's goat", and it seems more likely to me.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/10/messages/1015.html

 
costean
128799.  Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:18 pm Reply with quote

There might actually be some substance to the racehorse companion theory. The thoroughbred racehorse is an artificial breed specifically developed for one purpose – speed. To this end the standard philosophy has been ‘breed the best to the best and hope for the best’. The pure speed and mettlesome skittishness which guaranteed the survival of their Arab ancestors have in no way been diluted in the make-up of the modern thoroughbred. And while they might well be ‘blue of blood, clean-lined and handsome’ the results of 300 years of inbreeding have produced animals which are, to put it mildly, highly-strung. Without wanting to make generalisations about equine delinquency it is fair to say that providing companions for racehorses is one of the less extreme methods that have been employed down the years in order to keep them calm.

I am well aware that nebulous recollections in the form of I-am-sure-I-have-
read-somewhere are of no use to man nor goat so I have dug out a few articles.

Quote:
Bam Bam the sheep finds her true Destiny


Quote:
Bam Bam in search of new partner


The two headlines above came from the Racing Post in 1999. They are references to a sheep called Bam Bam who was used as a companion for a very good filly called Atlantic Destiny, although they must have been a bit short of copy or it was the racing equivalent of the silly season when it was the sheep and not the horse that made the headlines. The first describes when they were paired up and the second when the horse was sent to race in America. The headlines were actually part of a diary column written by Mark Johnston, one of our leading trainers. He wrote:
Quote:
She [Atlantic Destiny] has always been difficult to train as she is pretty excitable at home, as well as on the racecourse. As a result, she can be inclined to go off her food as she nears peak fitness and I find it very difficult to keep sufficient weight on her. It is fairly common for horses like this to be given a companion such as a goat, but I have always resisted this option. It worries me that they can become too attached to each other and separating them may be a traumatic experience for the horse one day. Eventually, however, I succumbed in Atlantic Destiny's case and we have now provided her with a friend called Bam Bam, a Suffolk Cross ewe.


From a piece in the Racing Post about Remittance Man one of the top steeplechasers of the 90’s:
Quote:
…a fast and accurate jumper, but not without idiosyncrasies - a nervy sort, his best friend was a sheep named Nobby, who accompanied him everywhere.


Quote:
A shirty remark to get the goat


This was another gem from the Racing Post from an article about top American trainer Bob Baffert. It continued:

Quote:
In an interview prior to the nationally-televised Grade 1 Ramona Handicap at Del Mar last Saturday, Baffert was asked how he has managed his new star Tuzla, who had to move to his barn from trainer Julio Canani without her faithful companion, a goat. Replied Baffert: "I got one of Julio's shirts-it smells like a goat-and hung it in her stall." It worked, as Tuzla won the Ramona.


It is interesting to note that all three of these horses were top class and their companions only became noteworthy because of the exploits of the horses. This, (and the comments of Mark Johnston above), would suggest that the practice is more commonplace than might be expected.

Further research would be necessary to determine whether this practice was customary in Victorian times, research, I should add, from which I am precluded by a natural state of etymological indifference. I realise that this has done no more than muddy the linguistic waters, but I speak as someone who is happy to use English but has no idea how it works, (to misquote a certain fictional historical character). Apologies for the tabloid look to this post but it does feel like the end of term.

 
Ejob
128807.  Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:58 pm Reply with quote

I think that is very interesting Costean!

 
indigo fugit
140144.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:48 pm Reply with quote

Billy Kettle wrote:
Contrary to popular belief and comics, goats do not eat your washing, or chase you, head down, with the intention of butting your nether regions.

They are very, very picky eaters. They will, out of curiousity, grab a mouthful of said washing and probably pull it off the line but they will not eat it. They might eat paper but not plastic, carrots but not parsnips or onions. They love nettles and are, by nature, browsers on scrub and bushes. They are called, in Africa in particular, "The Desert Makers".


I won't say i hate to disagree but.

goats are called desert makers for that's what they do best.

My brother in law needed his very large lawn cutting so he borrowed some goats. They ate the flowers, weeds, line prop and fencing in fact anything but the grass.
Taking advice from an old countryman he swapped them for sheep and in no time at all he had a lawn fit for bowls

 
jimmee191
436146.  Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:21 pm Reply with quote

[quote="Billy Kettle"]Contrary to popular belief and comics, goats do not eat your washing, or chase you, head down, with the intention of butting your nether regions.

They are very, very picky eaters. They will, out of curiousity, grab a mouthful of said washing and probably pull it off the line but they will not eat it. They might eat paper but not plastic, carrots but not parsnips or onions. They love nettles and are, by nature, browsers on scrub and bushes. They are called, in Africa in particular, "The Desert Makers".[/q


[i]They are not bloomin picky!! As a child I was leaning to pick something up from the edge of the fence when the goat from next door leant through the gap and started munchin on my hair! Needless to say, I screamed like a child and ran! getting back to them being picky, I'M GINGER!!![/i]

 
AndyMcH
436178.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:00 am Reply with quote

Quote:
As a child I was ..... Needless to say, I screamed like a child


I think thats understandable...

 

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