A GOAT no bigger than a puppy is nibbling my shoelaces. There’s nothing I can do – sweating and shaking on a Pilates mat as I try and contort my body.

The kid – one of more than half a dozen in the draughty disused milking shed – loses interest. Chewing the laces of two-year-old trainers isn’t nearly as fun as headbutting prone Pilates teachers.

Welcome to Golates – or goat Pilates. It’s a craze that’s been sweeping across the United States. And now, thanks to one Avebury farmer, it’s reached Wiltshire.

Over 40 minutes, nine of us sweat it out in a room of goats about the size and weight of Labrador puppies.

Like puppies, the goats seem to get maximum enjoyment from creating mischief. Minutes after the class starts, one of the kids – white except for a chestnut brown head – rips a page from instructor Sarah’s notebook. Too sure of itself, another attempts to hop on a girl’s back while she’s lying against the floor – and ends up getting stuck around her arched spine.

A squeal goes up from one of the class participants. Unable to contain its excitement, a goat has urinated all over the woman’s pristine yoga mat. Farmer Laura appears – bashful – with a roll of tissue and a quick apology.

But nobody cares. It’s par for the course when you’re exercising with a roomful of animals going through the goat equivalent of the terrible twos.

The kids turn a pleasant exercise session into a fascinating education into goat misadventure. Sitting on the Pilates mat next to mine is Sara Spratt, who’s walked over to East Farm from nearby Avebury to test the class before her friends give it a go next week.

“The goats were just brilliant,” Sara, 44, says as we pack up our yoga mats. “It’s a fantastic way of distracting you from difficult exercise. It’s the most cheerful Pilates class ever.”

The classes, which began last week, are the brainchild of third-generation farmer Laura Corbett and Pilates teacher Sarah Summers.

“I’ve been coming out to East Farm for a couple of years to do one-to-one sessions with Laura and her husband,” says Sarah, 50, who is based in Old Town, Swindon. Laura mentioned last year that she was going to keep goats. I said to Laura, ‘You do know there’s such a thing as goat Pilates and goat yoga?’”

The farmer watched a YouTube video of the US craze – and was left inspired.

“Laura said. ‘We are doing it, we are so doing it.’ That was it,” smiles Sarah.

Since then, the farm has been full of activity. The old milking shed has been pressed into service as a Pilates classroom and the friendliest kids carefully selected from East Farm’s young herd.

She says of the classes: “It’s been really successful – it’s just such a lovely thing to do.” The highlight, she says, is “seeing people’s faces” as the goats tear around the room. “You look around the class and everyone’s smiling and happy. Everyone seems to love goats. They’re inquisitive, cute and fun – you never know what’s going to happen.”

Behind the laughter, though, is a fascinating story of a farm moving to meet modern challenges.

Laura Corbett’s family have been at East Farm for three generations – with her grandfather arriving on the Avebury farm 75 years ago.

The family were dairy farmers, with a prize herd of black and white Holstein cows. But falling milk prices and restrictions placed on farmers in the wake of bovine TB outbreaks left Laura and her father with little choice but to sell the herd.

Seeing the last cow leave the farm in 2016 was devastating, says Laura, 38: “It wasn’t a day I will ever forget.”

Owning a herd of goats was a secret childhood wish for Laura. Three decades on, building a herd of pedigree Boer goats makes financial sense.

She says: “Goats are the only farm animals that can provide a second income.” As well as providing meat or dairy, the animals’ cheerful characters make them perfect for things like the Pilates classes.

Goat Pilates at East Farm runs until Saturday, April 14. £17.36 per person (including booking fee). For more, visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/goat-pilates-golates-tickets-44216578978.