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.

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