Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Goat Show Basics

Goat Show Basics
When you show your goat, you are exhibiting your animal to the best of its ability by highlighting its best characteristics while minimizing its faults. A major aspect of goat showmanship consists of courtesy to the judge. By having every contestant show their goat in the same manner, using the same techniques and possessing a good and friendly attitude, the judge is better able to concentrate on evaluating the animal. 

Showmanship entails 10 percent skill and 90 percent sweat and hard work. Ideally, you should begin handling and working your animal as soon as you get it, but at least a month before a show to begin practicing with your animal. Practice walking your goat and setting them up as you would for the judges. Also, you may start training your goat on a halter but you will need to use a nylon collar or chain. A goat that has been worked with is much easier to handle during a show and a judge can tell the difference between a goat that has been worked with and one that has just been brought in from the pasture. 

Be sure to check the show's rules before deciding on grooming or clipping your goat. In general, most does will look better with their hair on, but some participants will trim long hairs and smooth up the hairs on the head, neck and leg areas. Wethers are almost nearly always clipped. Be sure if you clip to do it 7-10 days before a show to allow enough time for the hair to grow enough to even out any clipping streaks. In addition, you should trim your goat's hooves a week before the show so they are not tender on their feet and potentially lead the judge to believe the goat is lame. Make sure to give your goat a bath the day before a show using regular soap. Before you walk into the show the next morning you can just use baby wipes for any touch ups. It is good to do this on a regular basis, but remember to brush your goat down before you walk into the ring to be judged. You can also use a little light oil in a spray can, to help bring out the goat's healthy and glossy coat before you enter the ring. 

Preparing the Handler 
Don't forget the judges are looking at you too, so be sure to dress nicely. An ironed long-sleeve shirt and long pants, like ironed jeans, are appropriate. Leave your hat outside the ring, wear appropriate leather footwear and don't forget to brush your hair! Also, make sure to know all the information on your goat like your goat's name, age, birth date and other common facts about your goat. 

In the Ring:
  • Be alert and remember a smile always helps!
  • Always have the goat between you and the judge.
  • Lead the goat on the left side (the goat will be on your right). The only time you lead your goat on the right side will be when the judge moves to look at the left side of your goat.
  • Always move around the goat's head and NEVER around its rear.
  • Always keep your goat's head up. Set its legs squarely beneath it and as far apart as possible, but not sprawled. Make sure the hocks are straight in the rear, and are not turning in.
  • Be sure to check with your show on their rules for "bracing." Bracing is when a handler places their knee against their goat's chest when the judge comes to feel them, helping the goat to tighten its muscles.
  • When you turn your goat, make wide, smooth circles. Tight turns 'kink' your goat, and tend to make it look less attractive to the judge.
  • There are four things you need to keep an eye on; the judge, the ring man, your goat and be aware of the participant in front of you.
  • Follow the judge's or ring man's instructions promptly and quietly.
  • ALWAYS set your goat up, even if the judge is not looking at you. Don't show off, but rather always be standing there with a smile on your face and a calm, properly arranged goat.
*Information gathered from an article "Basic Meat Goat Showmanship" on www.thejudgingconnection.com.

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