TRAINING FOR GOAT SHOWMANSHIP
Part 3 – Tips & Techniques for Preparing for the Class
What to Expect in the Class
Class Order: The ring steward is the assistant to the judge. Their job is to ensure that all class exhibitors are present and ready to enter the ring. If you are required to wear a uniform, the ring steward can also stop you from showing if you are not properly dressed (Example: Such as wearing sneakers instead of boots). Here the ring steward has directed the first person to start the class walking in a clockwise direction with the Judge watching each exhibitor enter. Once you enter, be watchful to what the judge is doing. See how they are watching the judge? The judge will only speak to you on a limited basis.
RULE #1: Always watch the Judge
– It’s a 50/50 balancing act to watch the judge and your goat.
The Ring Steward
The ring steward is in charge of directing the movement of the class as the judge wants. The Steward will direct the class line up.
Nose to Fence – Typically, the judge wants to see the goats lined up to the fence to begin the individual evaluation; beginning with the back, side and front. This is in order of the most important cuts of meat first.
Notice how in each picture the exhibitors are on different sides of their goat? This indicates that the judge was on the opposite side and moving in the arena.
Always keep the goat between you and the judge. As the judge approaches, the exhibitors begin to smoothly switch to the left side of the goat.
In the advanced classes some judges will walk around a lot which causes the exhibitors to be constantly moving and re-setting up their goats. So be ready for anything! This is how a judge examines the muscling of the goats. The judge may in the Advanced Showmanship Class take the top 4 or 5 goats and switch showmen! He may want to see how you show well you can show a new goat!
For novice and intermediate showmen, your class may be big and it may take the judge a long time to go through the animals. So be sure that your goat can stand setup for 20-30 minutes without fussing. At the shows, you can see the kids who did not practice for long periods of time because after 10 minutes of the class, you’ll start seeing goats loose patience and start fussing.
The judge may call each exhibitor out of line to see how they setup their goat. When selected by the judge:
- Step 1 – The Approach – The showman steps out of line to walk into the arena facing the judge to setup their goat and face the judge for an indiviual inspection. The judge may ask some questions or may circle the goat which makes the exhibitor switch sides. The goat is well trained because he never moves.
Never step over the top or behind the goat. Always move in front of the goat and switch hands.
- Step 2 – The Evaluation – Once you have setup your goat, Look at the Judge and wait. Once he sees that you are ready for the evaluation the judge will walk around your goat. You will be expected to move to keep the goat between you and the judge. Move slow and smoothly.
- Step 3 – Returning to the Line – Once the judge is complete, he will direct you to go back into the line. Turn the goat into your legs, switch hands and quietly walk back into line. This keeps the goat between you and the judge. As you walk back to the line, glance back at the judge to make sure he doesn’t have more instructions for you. Re-set your goat back into the line.
- Step 4 – Watch the Judge: It’s a balancing act of watching the judge and looking at your goat to make sure he hasn’t move a leg or needs to be reset.
- Step 5 – The Final Class Order – The judge usually begins sorting the class into his preferred order. Here the judge has sorted the class and is making his final decisions on the top 3 goats.
SHOW STYLE STORY:
When these pictures were taken, showing goats like sheep was the “latest style”. The exhibitor in the red vest chose to show his goat “off the chain” even though he was urged to show like everyone else. He chose to stick to his style. He placed second and earned a spot in the Championship Drive. In both classes, the judge commented on his showing style. While the judge preferred the new style, he felt that this exhibitor was still able to get the job done with a good goat using his own personal style.
At the end of the class, make an effort to shake the judges hand if they are still in the arena. This is good sportsmanship.
Tips for a good handshake are:
- Firm Grip
- Eye Contact
- Say Thank you!
Enjoy the showing process! Even though you may feel nervous about your class…get in there and do your best!