Showing Your Goat

Showing Your Goat

By Debbie Cassidy

Why show your goat? Showing your goat is fun! It is also a great way to meet new people. Showing your goat will help promote your goat breed too. It can be a lot of hard work but it is very rewarding and YES fun! Showing your goat allows you to be able to show off all the hard work that you have put into your goat. Showing can also build up your confidence. You can gain knowledge about the breed and your individual goat from the judge. The judges are required to give their reasons for the placement of the goats in the lineup. You will be able to find out your goats strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge can help you plan for future breeding’s or even with your next purchase.

Remember that there is no perfect goat. Even if it is your favorite goat it may not be what the judge is looking for. It doesn’t mean that your goat is a bad goat. Not all goats are show quality, in fact very few are, but they can make great breeding stock and awesome pets.

If you don’t already have a goat to show and are going to be buying a goat then there are a few things to consider. First you will need to decide what your budget will be for a show quality goat. Breeders generally sell show quality goats for a higher price than a pet goat. This doesn’t mean that you have to go into the poor house to buy your goat.

Ask around and buy from a reputable breeder. Don’t buy trouble buy getting it from a sale barn. Try to ensure that the goat you are buying is healthy. Ask for health records on your possible purchase. Has it been vaccinated? It is also helpful to know the last time the goat was wormed and what it was wormed with.

One thing you should look for is how well the animal appears to be built. This is often hard for new goat owners. It is even hard for the experienced breeder. Think about the goat from the inside out. The bone structure is one thing that can’t be changed.

Let’s look at the goat starting from the front and working our way to the back. The neck needs to flow smoothly into the top of the shoulders. From here we will travel all the way down to the hip with what should be a straight line. This is also referred to as the goats’ topline.

Looking from the side view you would like to see some good length from the front to the back. You should also see some good depth. Depth is looking at the topline of the goat down to the underside of the goat. At the hip we should see a slight drop to the tail. The hips should be wide. (Narrow hips usually indicate a narrow goat throughout).

Rear legs should be straight without turning in or out when viewing from the rear. Rear legs however should not be straight from the tail to the ground when viewing from the side. The pasterns should sit up. The rear legs need to have good bone density as well.

The front legs should also show good bone density and be straight from the chest to the ground when viewed from the front.

The goat should also travel easily as it moves.

Once you have selected your goat for the show ring, you must be willing to devote the time that it will take to train your goat to get them ready for the show ring. It is best to work your goat every day for 10-15 minutes. Don’t try to accomplish everything over the weekend. Allow at least 6 weeks prior to the show to train your goat. Some goats learn at a faster pace than others.

There are many different opinions on how to train your goat. The first thing is to decide if you will train them using a collar or a halter. Feel free to try both methods to see which one will work best for you and your goat. All goats are different. Before you start pulling your goat around it is best to let them adjust to the collar or halter. Some goats do this easily but others do not. I like to put a collar or halter on them at a young age if possible. Every time you visit your goat you can put it on for a while and then be sure to remove it before you leave.  They will soon learn it will not hurt them and you will be ready to move forward in your training. If your registry requires the goat to wear a collar and leash while being shown, you will eventually need to switch from using a halter to a collar if you started out using a halter. This should not be too hard.

Now it is time to teach your goat to lead. Don’t drag your goat around. Instead, encourage them to walk with you by offering them a little treat. Keep some in your hand. Praise them for even the smallest step. Please don’t pull your goats tail. Touching them on their hip area may help encourage them as well, but remember don’t pull their tail.

Once they are leading you can start working on setting the goat up. Setting a goat up is just a matter of getting all 4 feet square. The front two feet should be set squarely under the goat with some distance between them. The rear two legs should also be set squarely under them. Don’t try to set them up so wide that it is unnatural. It will just take some practice to get them to stand still. You should also practice moving from side to side while you are teaching your goat to remain still. You will need to do this while the judge is looking at your goat. Try to keep the goats head straight and the back straight too.

A few days prior to the show you will need to start fitting your goat. Fitting your goat is what people call it when you are getting them ready to show. This is done through grooming, shaving, and hoof care. Of course good nutrition should be a part of your daily routine.

Most breeders will shave their goats a few days prior to the show but some breeds and breeders prefer not to shave their goats. The long haired goats often referred to as Hippie goats or Silky goats are not shaved. Many of the Fainting goat breeders do not shave their goats. If you decide to shave your goat make sure it has a nice warm place to stay afterwards. Also you should know that goats can sunburn so care should be taken during the summer months. Don’t forget to trim the hooves.

Always shampoo your goat the night before the show or the day of the show. The day of the show you will also want to groom your goat.

Make sure to have all of your paper worked turned in on time. Read the show rules so that you know what to expect. Watch a class or two before it is your turn to show, if possible, so you can get an idea of how the judge likes the goats to walk around the ring. Always have a good attitude and learn to win graciously and how to lose with dignity. Show good sportsmanship at all times. Learn from your mistakes. Most importantly is to have fun showing your goat.