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Dairy Goat showing

This is an excerpt of Dairy Goat and Sheep Operations in the Southeast Production Guide, ANR-2457.

Dairy Goat and Sheep Showmanship

Using techniques established by Harvey Considine and George Trimberger, who have authored numerous books on showing and showmanship, when competing in showmanship can be a rewarding experience. Before participating in any show, a showman must consult with the rules committee of the event. Most shows will have a rulebook available by mail or online.

Following are guidelines to help you achieve success in the show ring:

Before the Show

  • When entering the ring, move in a clockwise direction and as directed by the judge and ring steward.
  • Walk facing forward on your animal’s left side with your right hand on the chain or collar.
  • If you have a long chain, do not coil it around your hand or allow it to touch the ground.
  • Lead your animal slowly, keeping 3 to 4 feet between you and the animal-showman pair ahead of you.
  • Keep your eyes on the judge at all times. Only look away to set up your animal.
  • Keep your animal between the judge and yourself.
  • If the judge indicates to stop your animal, do so promptly.

In the Ring

  • When entering the ring, move in a clockwise direction and as directed by the judge and ring steward.
  • Walk facing forward on your animal’s left side with your right hand on the chain or collar.
  • If you have a long chain, do not coil it around your hand or allow it to touch the ground.
  • Lead your animal slowly, keeping 3 to 4 feet between you and the animal-showman pair ahead of you.
  • Keep your eyes on the judge at all times. Only look away to set up your animal.
  • Keep your animal between the judge and yourself.
  • If the judge indicates to stop your animal, do so promptly.

Setup

There are two common methods in setting up a dairy goat/sheep:

  1. If you can move your animal by lifting its legs, reach the hind legs and set them up correctly (squarely). Follow with the front legs. This method is the easiest and quickest.
  2. For a showman with a larger animal, this method is preferred. The showman must put pressure on the point of the shoulder to move the animal backward. Once the animal is in the correct position, the pressure is relieved to avoid distracting other participants. This method has the advantage in that the showman stays balanced, keeps more control of the animal, and gives an overall more graceful presentation.

With practice and patience, you can become a good showman. Contact your local Extension 4-H agent or FFA advisor for more information.

Alabama Dairy Goat Judging

Before beginning to judge dairy goats, judges should become familiar with the anatomy of the dairy goat and the ADGA scorecard. The scorecard is available online at ADGA.org. Learning and using these terms is essential in judging.

Judging Guidelines

  • Stick with your first impression of an animal, unless further inspection gives good reason to change.
  • Observe the animal from the front to evaluate the width of chest and from the rear to evaluate sharpness of withers, spring of rib, width of rump, width of rear udder, and amount of udder cleft.
  • Use the scorecard to evaluate points from each trait.
  • Observe walking animals for ease of movement.
  • Always arrive to a judging contest before the registration time begins. This will allow you to register, obtain a list of the classes, and fill in your name, your contestant number, and the class number and name on each of your judging cards.
  • Make sure you have a spiral notebook and several pencils to make notes on each class as you judge.
  • Keep in mind that classes are usually comprised of four animals. You will normally have 12 minutes to place a placing’s class and 15 minutes to place a reasons or questions class.
  • Consult your group leader for the class name, number, and type. Before you start, you need to know if you are judging a placings, reasons, or questions class.
  • Keep the length of oral reasons to 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Contestants need to learn early in their judging careers to give oral reasons without referring to their notes. Beginning contestants should start with a shorter, more concise set of reasons that they feel comfortable giving without referring to notes. As they gain experience and confidence, the reasons can be expanded.
  • Keep mindful of time. You are generally allowed 15 minutes to judge a reasons class. This does not always allow a lot of time to take notes. Develop abbreviations for traits. Do not write out entire sentences or phrases, as this takes too long.
  • Be accurate. Accuracy is critical when giving reasons. Generalizing or giving reasons that are untrue will deduct points more quickly than other factors.
  • Speak clearly and loudly enough to be easily understood. Speaking in a bold voice conveys to the audience that you are confident in your placing. It is difficult to be convincing if you speak softly and are unsure.
  • Make eye contact with the official. To help establish good eye contact, practice giving reasons to an empty chair. Once you are comfortable, move on to giving reasons to a mirror, and finally video yourself giving reasons. You are your biggest critic. If you can maintain eye contact with yourself, it becomes easier to keep eye contact with the official.

 

Read more from the Dairy Goat and Sheep Operations in the Southeast Production Guide.

Download a PDF of Dairy Goat and Sheep Operations in the Southeast Production Guide, ANR-2457.

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