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Your planning, selection, feeding, fitting, training and grooming have brought you and your wether this far to the show ring. Now, your skill in exhibiting your wether showmanship cannot be emphasized too strongly, it is often the difference between winning and losing.

You should be mentally and physically ready to enter the show ring for competition. By completing the pre-show activities, you should have confidence that you can do an effective job showing your wether. You should be neat in appearance, but not overdressed. Do not wear a hat or cap in the show ring. Before the show begins, become familiar with the show ring. When the judging begins, watch the judge if possible and see how he works the wethers. You will feel more comfortable and confident if you know what the judge will want you to do.

When the appropriate class is called, take your wether to the show ring. If the ring stewards do not line up the wethers, find a place where your wether will look its best. Avoid corners of the ring and leave plenty of space between your wether and others. Set your wether up, making sure the legs are set properly, and keep the body, neck and head in a straight line with the wethers head up and alert. Always show with both hands. Do not put your free hand behind your back; use it to keep the wethers head and body straight.

A good showman must be alert and always know where the judge is at all times. Remember to keep your eye on the judge! Remain calm and concentrate on showing. Set up your wether and be ready before the judge gets to you. Be careful not to cover your wether with your body and block the judges view. Always keep your wether between you and the judge. In large classes, it may take 20 minutes before the judge handles your wether. Be patient and let your wether relax. After handling your wether, the judge usually will step back and look at it. Be sure to keep the wethers head up and body, neck and head in a straight line. Keep one eye on the judge and one eye on your wether. It is your responsibility to watch the judge and not miss a decision. If your wether is not pulled the first time, keep trying. Continue to keep it set up, remain alert and watch the judge. If your wether is pulled, circle it out of the line and follow the directions of the ring steward while continuing to keep an eye on the judge. Move your wether with style and at a steady, moderate pace.

Remember to keep showing at all times, because a class is not over until the ribbons are distributed. Be courteous to fellow exhibitors. A good showman will emphasize strong points and minimize weak points of a wether. Remain standing at all times and always display a pleasant facial expression. Be a good sport, a graceful loser and a humble winner.

Below is a very good article on Showmanship.

Meat Goat Showmanship

Figure 1. Figure A shows the feet squarely placed beneath the goat. Figures B and C are incorrect.

Once the goat is set up, be sure the head is held up. Then locate the judge. Remain standing in front of your goat when the judge is viewing the goats from the rear. Never place your hand on the goat's back or the base of the neck; this will obstruct the judge's view of the goat's top. As the judge moves around to the right side and around in front of the goat, move to the left side of the goat, so it is between you and the judge When the judge is in front of the goat, remain on the goat's left side, so the judge can see the front view. Be sure to keep the head high and in line with the goat's body. Hold the head up with the collar. As the judge moves to the left of the goat, move back to the front of the goat to give the judge a full view of the entire animal. Do not move to the right side of the goat. When in front of the goat, you have more control and this position will provide the side view that the judge seeks.

Handling the goat

Be ready for the judge to handle your meat goat. Train the goat to stand to be handled by the judge. Ideally, you should hold the goat by the head, collar, or chain while standing away form the goat. If the goat does not stand still be prepared to restrain it.

To restrain the goat, hold it by one or a combination of ways as described above. Use one of two methods. One method is to stand in from and place your knees in front of the goat's shoulder (Figure 2). While restraining your goat, never pick the goat up so that both front feet are off the ground. This does not give you an advantage. It is an example of poor showmanship. After the judge finishes handling the goat, set it up in line with the other exhibitors.

Figure 2. Restrain your goat by placing your knee in front of the shoulders.

The preferred way to show meat goats is NOT to brace the animal with its front feet off the ground. However, some judges will allow you to brace with the front feet slightly off the ground. Observe the first class and listen to the judge to determine what the judge will allow.

Moving the goat

After handling the goats, the judge will indicate what is to be done next. Most likely the judge will want you to walk the goat. Be sure that the goat is under control and is between you and the judge. If your goat does not lead, gently reach back and lift up on the goat's tail. If an exhibitor ahead is having problems, help that person. Never hit the goat or grab the goat by the skin. This will result in a bruise and a soft area will remain for sometime.

Once the judge requests that you stop for the side view, set your goat up as discussed earlier. Small exhibitors should stand in front or on the goat's left side to keep control. Older, larger exhibitors may squat or stand on the goat's left side. Standing is preferred. Do not put your knees on the ground; squat so you may get up quickly and maintain control of your goat. Stay alert; the judge may handle the goat again or motion to move to another line. Once you are pulled to the placing line, remember the class is not over. Be sure the goat is set up and looks its best.

The judge may decide to place the goats differently after one last look while all goats are lined up side by side. If you are asked to move in the line, Figure 3 shows what should be done for different situations. Be sure to line your goat up in a straight line from the first goat set up, as illustrated in Figure 3.

Once the judge starts giving reasons, the class is over, but exhibitors should continue to work hard and display good sportsmanship. Congratulate the class winners and those who stood ahead of you. Ask if you can handle the goats that placed above you. This will allow you to learn what to look for in your next goat project.

Finally, remember this is a learning experience. Leave the ring with your head held high, knowing that you have given this project your best effort. Learn from your mistakes, watch other showpersons, and improve your skills for the next show.

Figure 3. Proper Proceedures for Changing Positions

Goat Showing Equipment Checklist

  Showbox                                                     Personal 
_____ feed pan            ____ health papers                    ____ camera and film 
_____ water bucket        ____ show catalog                     ___ towels,washcloth and soap 
_____ collar, neck chain  ____ pen signs                        ____ lawn chairs 
_____ clippers            ____ hammer & nails                   ____ rubber boots & work clothes 
_____ wash brushes        ____ wire & pliers                    ____ show clothes 
_____ hose (short)        ____ goat feed                        ____ safety pins (for exhibitor numbers) 
_____ soap                ____ bedding (sawdust,chips or straw) ____ First aid kit 
_____ blanket                                                   ____ flashlight & batteries 
_____ stand         
_____ small show brush         

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.


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Updated 09/12/2009