Until 2001, Capricorn Cashmere was headquartered south of Laramie, Wyoming. The 3500 acre ranch lies in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is comprised of meadow and upland grasslands with rocky outcroppings on the plains of the Laramie Basin. Historic barns and modern structures alike shelter the goats from the harsh winter cold and wind. In the spring of 1989, after studying the available literature and consulting with the few domestic producers, Kris traveled to Australia to purchase the Nucleus Herd. She took the opportunity to consult with some Australian experts in the field, notably, Dr. R.C. Couchman and Beverley Foard, both of Melbourne. Dr. Couchman has authored concise and quantitative studies concerning cashmere down production of goats. Capricorn decided to purchase and import a Nucleus Herd of 21 animals from some prestigious, award-winning goat studs in Australia; the Karakan Goat Stud, Cashco Goats Australia, and the Kashmir Goat Farm, all located in the state of Victoria. In consultation with Dr. Couchman and Bev Foard, Kris selected 18 does and three bucks based on fiber diameter, down production and fiber character and style. The finest animals available were selected and shipped to Colorado.
The original herd sire, Kashmir Nebula, won his class at the Melbourne Sheep and Woolcraft Show in 1989, 1990 and 1991. He was also the Grand Champion Buck at the 1991 National Western Stock Show, and Reserve Champion in 1992. His progeny have won numerous competitions throughout the country. The imported does went through a rigorous selection process and only the very best remained within the Elite Herd. This group provided Capricorn with an outstanding group of highly selected kid bucks, all with established pedigrees and proven genetic prepotency. The “look” of an animal bred by Capricorn has dominated the show circuit years, culminating in a virtual sweep of the 1993 and 1994 National Western Stock Shows. Capricorn was awarded Best of Show, Grand and Reserve Champion Does, Reserve Champion Buck, Champion 2-4 Tooth Buck, and Reserve Champion 6 Tooth Buck. Capricorn bred bucks have also dominated shows in Texas. At the 1993 Texas State Fair, Capricorn bred goats won Grand Champion Buck, Champion Kid Doe, Reserve Young Herd and Champion Breeder’s Herd. In 1995 and 1996, Capricorn again distinguished itself as a contender for many of the impressive purple rosettes awarded to the Champions. We took 1997 off, but returned to again be the Most Successful Exhibitor at the 1998 National Western! Later in 1998, Capricorn journeyed down to the Texas Cashmere Association Show and Sale and won Champion Buck and Reserve Grand Champion Doe as well as having the highest selling animals, just like 1997.
Capricorn fleeces dominated every fleece competition we entered. The secret to our success lies in our ability to select quality down producers and to make successful breeding decisions. We expanded our original genetic pool by investing in and “importing” a select group of cashmere producing Spanish does from Texas, Nebraska and South Dakota. The advantage that Capricorn stock now has is the lethal combination of selected bucks from the Elite Herd bred to genetically diverse, selected, cashmere producing Spanish does that form our Select Herd. Not ordinary does, Capricorn’s Spanish does. A cut above the rest. Capricorn’s tested fiber average in 1997 was 16.2 microns, 22.5% yield for 1.7kg of BRD1, and 17.5µ, 33% yield for 22.85kg of BRD2. This fiber was professionally graded and represents some of the best bales of raw cashmere in the United States. Having individual quality goats is one thing; being able to breed a hundred quality animals is quite another.
Kris is not now active in the American cashmere industry. She is a past editor and publisher of the newsletter for the Cashmere Producers of America, Concerning Cashmere, and is a past President of that national organization. She is the founder of Cashmere Wyoming, a state funded progeny testing program and group breeding scheme centered at the University of Wyoming. She is a certified CaPrA judge and judged the Texas Cashmere Association Show in Kerrville in 1994. She has also been approved to certify fleeces for entry into the CaPrA Progeny Testing Program and its Database. She traveled to Mongolia in 1999 and March of 2000 to consult with Mongol herders in an effort to reduce their micron diameter and increase their income from cashmere sales. In March of 2000, Kris went to Jamaica to consult with a goat growers cooperative in an effort to improve their profits. Most recently, Kris has backed a DOD contract with Colorado State University to improve cashmere in Herat, Afghanistan. Kris continues to offer consulting services to clients domestic and international.