June 27, 2010


As I go out to pick tomatoes from my garden and I see the pen of weanlings I know that it must be summer time! And with summer time come 3 things in my dairy goat world: 1. Lots of milking 2. No repro related work for a whole 2 months 3. County Fairs!!! So in honor of county fairs I am dedicating a whole post to Showmanship. As a showmanship exhibitor once and now a showmanship judge I have compiled a list of do's and do not's every exhibitor should know. The top 10 things to know or have done before you enter the showmanship ring (first 5 are essential for all, especially beginners and the second 5 are important for advanced and if you want to do really well) 1. That your animal is CLEAN and well trained - Remember - 40pt that your animal is well fitted, in good condition, well clipped, and very clean! If you don't make this, you probably don't make the top 1/2 2. Where the judge is at ALL times (goat, ground, judge on the move - make it your mantra!) Never be caught on the wrong side. Alert and courteous at all times. 3. How to set you animal up quickly and properly - don't overstretch or scrunch the animal and whenever you stop, even if it because a goat 2 in front of you had to pee, set your goat up! 4. Body Parts (breeds of goats) - Absolute necessity, I am almost guaranteed to ask. 5. Maneuvers through the ring - know how to move in an out of line and do it smoothly. (the next 5 things you should learn) 6. Scorecard!!!! - do you know the major point categories? This is my #1 way to divide close placings 7. How to handle the acquisition of a new animal and how to act when the judge approaches you. 8. Setting up right feet, setting up to best advantage ANY animal - if I hand you another animal can you set up a milker as well as a kid? 9. Evaluation of your animal and be able to evaluate another persons animal - the ever present "what do you like and what would you like to change" about your animals and of course any other animal you get handed. 10. Defects, DQ’s, and any other rules from the guidebook - if you know everything else backwards and forwards and you are ready to go for the big showmanship classes, start memorizing this! Ok, so what are the top 5 mistakes of showmanship? Here is what NOT to do: 1. DO NOT GREASE YOUR ANIMAL! 2. Do not forget to trim and clean the insides of the ears, the fore udder, the armpits, and between the hooves. 3. Do not stand on the wrong side of the animal because you were not paying attention, as the judge was moving. Don’t walk behind or over the goat to switch sides. (or behind the line, ever) 4. Do not bring an animal into the ring with a web collar or a collar that is too loose and can pull over the neck. Use only a small professional, unobtrusive leash on a Nigerian. 5. Do not try to trim your goats’ hooves on the day of the show – nothing worse than a lame goat.

June 07, 2010

Almost a marathon

The past two weekend have been a whirlwind of goat shows. First their was REDGA. Really this show is the place to be on Memorial Day weekend. All the big names in Northern CA come over and bring out their best goats. Such a beautiful show it actually moved the judge to tears and the amazingness of the animals. Needless to say I do not yet have the quality of animals that I expect to be standing in those champion line-up. So imagine my surprise when Ysis took GCH again! Not only does that give her a second milking leg (only 1 more until champion!) but she got to stand in a beautiful line-up again. Amusingly with the 4 goats in her class, she actually stood in every single place in one of the rings. Once again our 4Hers were able to come and help show the goats they are taking to the Fair this month. Even more fun, there was a 4Her who was from a different county who is really excited about Saanens (the breed I raise) so I was able to let her try taking one of my Saanens into showmanship and try it out. Overall one of the best REDGA weekends! The weekend finished with the acquisition of two new goat kids. Two does from Bill Davis' outstanding herd with bloodlines based in Nan Wojcik's Cisco herd. These two girls are so people friendly that perhaps "needy" might be a better term for them. They are really sweet and want as much love and attention we can give them. I really think they have even grown in the week that we have had them. This last weekend we continued the goat show marathon with a show up in Humboldt. On a map, Humboldt looks like it is just a ways up there. Wow, that is a long drive. And such an extremely different climate too. Here in the valley it was warm and sunny, up in Humboldt it was cloudy and overcast. I am a staunch believer in washing my goats before they go the show ring. Even I conceded that bathing them in that weather was crazy. The show itself was quite enjoyable and we were able to put one champion leg on Brazil. Azalea, who we took along in an attempt to fill out the Saanen jr show took RGCH twice behind a doe who went best in show in two different rings. The only down side of the show was the 6.5 hour drive home after leaving at 8pm at night. It was not, however as late as the night before when the show did not end until 10pm at night! Wow! that was a long show. The weekends ahead have a slowing of the goat shows, but the big shows like Watsonville and State fair still remain.