Have ya herd?
On a small family dairy farm just north of River Falls, people from throughout the area can be found taking part in yoga classes six times a weekend in the Lubich family's yard. However, the humans aren't the only ones taking part in the Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga classes.
"Goat yoga is simply yoga with goats. No, the goats don't actually do the yoga, but they do participate. It is a super fun class, with no pressure. A lot of times, it is more 'goats' than 'yoga,'" said Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga founder Jessica Lubich. "We will try our best to lead you through some basic yoga poses, but if you would rather just sit and play with the goats, that is just fine too. If you want a more advanced practice, you are more than welcome to flow through some of the more challenging poses. It is truly your own yoga practice; the goats don't judge."
The story of how the Lubich family — including Jessica, husband Kevin, and their three children: Lily (6), Macy (3) and Nash (2) — started Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga starts where many small family-owned farms in the United States does: with the family struggling and looking for a way to supplement their income to make ends meet. The couple's first attempt to bring in more money to the farm, in 2016, led them to purchase 150 large breed dairy goats to sell the milk to a creamery in Minnesota. However, the creamery ended up pulling the rug out from under the Lubichs when the company decided it was no longer interested in buying the family's goat milk.
"We then sold about 130 of our dairy goats to a farmer from California, but we kept the ones that we were really attached to since my children were attached to them. So, we had about 20 pet goats," Lubich said. "My husband woke up one morning to feed the animals and he started complaining about the cost of feeding and caring for the goats and that they needed to pay their way somehow. As fate would have it, on the same day my 60-year-old father-in-law, Paul, heard about a farm in Oregon that was doing goat yoga."
As the family started to test the waters to see what it would take and if there would be any interest in a goat yoga business, they faced push back from business lawyers and their insurance company.
"They basically didn't think it was a 'thing' or a sound investment. We pushed through, hired a local yoga teacher who was instrumental in helping us get the business started," Lubich said. "We opened our doors on Sept. 1, 2017 and Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga was born. We started offering classes four times a month and since have expanded to six classes a weekend and continue to grow and expand the business."
Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga — which got its name from all the times the couple asked friends, family and community members "Have you heard about goat yoga?" — offers beginner-friendly, gentle yoga classes where yoga instructors, students and friendly, docile goats interact throughout the course of the class. The Have Ya Herd logo is based on Harry Houdini, one of the goat staff team members at Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga.
"A lot of people are skeptical at first, yes. The skeptical ones are usually dragged along to a goat yoga class with their friends. They are usually the ones that have the most fun!" Lubich said. "Most people will come to a class and say, 'I just love the goats!' I think it is hard to not have a good time, when you spend an hour laughing and playing with baby goats!
"Goat yoga takes the focus out of the self and into the moment. It gives people space to let go of negative thoughts. It's a stress reliever, being with these animals, and outside in the peaceful environment, you just have to be relaxed."
In addition to the goat yoga classes, Have Ya Herd will also be running an 8-acre corn maze from Friday to Sunday throughout September and October. (See sidebar for more information.)
"It is made up of four different mazes, ranging in difficulty. The hardest one takes about an hour to complete, and the easiest can be done in about 25 minutes. The paths are wide and well-marked, you are not going to get lost if you use a map and follow along. We have lots of stuff going on, fall-related, during our business hours," Lubich said. "The straw bales are from our own wheat fields, the corn stalks are from our own corn fields, and the pumpkins were grown by the neighbor."
Have Ya Herd Goat Yoga is located four miles south of I-94 near Roberts (517 County Road SS) on the Lubich family's farm. For more information, visit haveyaherd.biz.
"This isn't a tourist trap, this is for local families to come have some fall family fun. You are not going to pull into our place and have hundreds of other people there. We are a very small family-owned business. It's not overdone or hyper-commercialized, we don't have all the extras that other businesses have. It's not overwhelming and over stimulating, it's just a corn maze and some goats!" Lubich said.