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As a county agent, my weekend schedule stays pretty busy helping provide opportunities for the 4-H members in my county. This year I made it a priority to actually take my goats out to shows, as opposed to only milk testing and (hopefully) getting my herd appraised. I made it to a show this past weekend, which was my first since 2015.

There were two things I quickly noticed. First of all, there are a lot more Nigerian Dwarfs being shown now than 10 years ago and showmanship is always important for both youth and adults.

Showmanship means being a good sport, supportive of other showmen, and exhibiting your animal to the best of your ability. It also means that you are respectful of the judges line up and you realize that this is one person’s opinion on one day. Tomorrow, your goat who got cut from the class, might go in and place 3rd or even end up in the champion drive.

You must be a humble winner and a gracious loser, even when you disagree with the line up at the end of the class. Your showmanship is evidence of your character. If someone has good character they are trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring, and practice good citizenship.

Showmanship, and by default character, is evident both inside and outside of the show ring. How you speak to people, especially people that are new to goats, on social media is evidence of your showmanship. How you treat the goat that won’t walk in front of yours in the class line up is showmanship.

Why is showmanship so important aside from developing good character? Whether you are a youth or an adult in the show ring, you are marketing your farm’s product. If I witness an exhibitor with poor showmanship, they will probably go on my “Let’s not do business with them” list. Why would I want to purchase or even sell a goat to someone that might not be trustworthy or responsible? Or someone who isn’t caring or kind to other showmen?

Stock shows can certainly be one of the best parts of owning animals, but they are super stressful, especially when we forget our “why.” At the end of the day, each of us are doing two things- creating a breeding program that makes us smile when we look in our pastures and serving as diplomats for the breed we have chosen to raise. If we keep this in mind, showmanship should come naturally.

ANDDA April 22 Newsletter - Copyright 2022

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