Isn’t it fun when two of your favourite things get mixed together? Just look at cronuts, radlers and cat cafes. Sometimes bringing the best of both worlds together can be great, even if they do seem really bizarre at first.
When I heard that the Royal Winter Fair was having a day of goat yoga (and one day ONLY) I immediately called to reserve a spot (and then forced my sister Kate to book one as well). Sorry, wait, you’ve never heard of goat yoga before? I want to say the first time I heard about it was on the news last year and it was happening on a farm in Oregon called ‘No Regrets’. Lainey Morse set up a few classes thinking it would be cute to have baby goats prance around during a yoga class, but then her idea turned into a phenomenon with a waitlist of over 500 interested yogis.
While some rolled their eyes at the novelty of it all, other participants were happy to have a laugh, a stretch and maybe clean some baby goat pee off their yoga mats at the end of class. (I think I may fall into the latter category)
The farm behind it all at this year’s Royal Winter fair is Haute Goat. Haute Goat Farm is located just outside of historic Port Hope and is home to Nigerian Dwarf goats, chickens, alpacas and horses. They sell homemade goat goodies like shampoos and soaps and it’s open to the public if you wanted to stroll through the 200 acer land. If you can’t make it, don’t worry, their website has a live goat cam (thank god) and they deliver their goat products straight to your door.
For the last 3 years, Haute Goat has been selling their products at the Royal, but this year they are almost like a main attraction. ‘Do you still have any spots available for the goat yoga class on Friday?” I asked the Royal’s hotline. ‘We have 4 left, they are going pretty quickly’ a man named Josh replied, helping me reserve a spot and bearing with my over enthusiasm. ‘Is there anything special I should know?’ I asked after my order was processed. ‘Yeah, you might want to bring a change of clothes, the goats can be...messy’. NOTED! I dusted off my older ‘back up’ yoga mat and put on some workout gear I wasn’t overly attached to. I was ready to downward dog with some baby goats!
I didn’t know this at the time of booking, but the farm is looking for break a record in goat yoga by having 200 yoga enthusiasts participate. Guinness Book of World Records will even be there to record the session and make the call!
I showed up to the fairgrounds excited but not knowing what to expect. Would a goat butt me in the face? Would my lulu’s get peed on? What if a baby goat starts chewing on my hair?
We arrived to a huge line, and then led into an even bigger arena that they usually have animals shows in (think Super Dogs) we started setting up our mats and taking off our shoes . The place was buzzing with excited goat fans, craning their necks to try and get a peek at the herd that was still being held in the hallway .
"Is everyone excited?!" A worker yelled and a few ladies wooped and threw their hands in the air. 22 goats were led out into the floor on leashes by workers. Cell phone cameras snapped away, hands went out to pet the goats or to entice them over with little bits of evergreen branches we were given upon arrival.
This scene pretty much stayed the same throughout the whole class. I would say half of the crowd was actually taking part in the practice while the others were visiting with every goat that went past their mat.
I think the main issue here aside from the goat distractions , was that we were on the furthest end of the arena and had a really hard time hearing or even seeing what position the instructor was in. We tried to creep on what the other students were doing but most had goats eating out of their hands or were smiling for selfies.
I ended up getting about 4 poses in before I started petting an adorable goat named Lucy. "Do you work for Haute Goat?" I asked Lucy's handler. "Yeah!" "Are all classes like this?" I motioned around to the craziness. "Well, the classes on the farm hold about 22-25 people , you guys should come in the spring when we have tons of babies!" My sister and I locked eyes and nodded to each other. I think it would be a whole other experience, the more intimate class sounded like more my speed and I could relax a bit more.
Another issue, but not really an issue since its nature but the goats were pooping and pooping a lot. My neighbour had a goat unload pellets onto her mat and even after shaking them off into the dirt didn't want to lay down for shavasana (I get it, girl) . To be fair, A) what can you do ? And B) we were warned about this before class. Pretty amusing to be honest.
The class went by fast, and to be honest after those 4 poses I was all about petting me some goats . I had a lot of fun and maybe it was (very) unrealistic of me to expect a class of 200 students and 22 goats would go off without a hitch. Having said that, I DO think the smaller classes that Haute Goat offer onsite would be a lot smoother! My sister and I have already planned a quick visit over a spring weekend to experience it. The handlers were very friendly and a goat only nibbled on my behind when I was in child's pose once ;)
I'm glad to have taken part in breaking the Guinness world record for the most amount of people taking part in goat yoga at one time (I bet my mom is so proud) and my sister and I had a few good laughs (we usually want to kill each other)
So now that we know what to expect, we will be back visiting the goats in the Spring for a more private session, but this time on THEIR turf ;)
Until Next Event! X
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.