Raising goats is always exciting, but many never get to travel outside of the farm. New farmers can spice things up by taking their goats to a goat show. Goat shows are a place to meet other goat farmers, show off prize goats, and possibly return home with a monetary award. Goat shows exist for every breed and in almost every part of the United States, so no matter where you are, there's a show for you.
What Does Showing a Goat Mean?
It may sound strange to talk about showing a goat, but the term means exactly what it sounds like. Showing a goat usually takes place in a ring, and it's a process in which the goat is presented to a judge. The judge ranks the goats, and the top three or four usually receive a ribbon or cash award. Showing a goat is a way of assessing the quality of the animal, which can make it more valuable for breeding.
What Do Judges Look For?
A goat may be judged on physical quality or showmanship. For physical competitions, a judge assesses the goat's gait, coat, build, and health. Showmanship competitions focus on how well the animal is presented by its handlers. For both categories, a handler will need to work with their animal beforehand to prepare it.
Long before the show, get the goat used to being led around on a leash. It's okay to introduce this slowly. Grain or other treats can be used to help the goat associate the lead with good things. A few weeks before the show, thoroughly groom the goat. This includes trimming the hooves, bathing it, and brushing its hair. There are different grooming standards for each breed, so be sure to check which one is appropriate. Before the show itself, groom the goat once more. During the rest of the show, pay attention to the judge, and follow their directions. All that's left after that is to await the judge's decision!
What Are the Benefits of Showing?
Showing a goat is a lot of fun. Farmers can meet and swap tips with other goat farmers, and it's a great way to show support for a special breed. Entering your goat in a show is also a prime opportunity to demonstrate how much care and effort went into the animal. Judges will explain the various strengths and weaknesses of the goats in the show, so you'll be able to learn more about your goat and about the breed as a whole. Plus, if your goat wins the show, it can become more valuable for breeding.
There are goat shows all over the country, but for information on some of the most popular ones, check out these sites: