This year Sunshine showed her Boer goat, Junior, at the Ohio State Fair Boer Goat Show. This was her 1st show and she did such a great job.
We almost didn’t go because we knew her goat wasn’t going to win any awards, since he had been sick a few weeks before the fair. We decided to go anyway just for the experience. She spent so much time with her goats this summer; she had been looking forward to the show all summer. She had quite a showing of support with our family, my mom, hubby’s dad, both of my sisters, and several other friends. She was so gracious and thanked them all for coming.
In her first class, she finished dead last. Poor Junior just hadn’t had time to get back in shape. Sunshine kept her smile on and when she came out of the ring just shrugged her shoulders even though I could tell she was disappointed. I gave her a big hug and told her how proud of her I was for getting out there and overcoming her fears. I hate to admit I was a little disappointed; I didn’t want her first show experience to be a bad one.
When the time for the showmanship class rolled around it was a completely different ball game. In the wether class, they judge the goat. In showmanship they judge…the showman. She went in the ring smooth and confident…and she WON! I was so proud, as she came out the ring; she took the time to congratulate the girl next to her on a good show. Then when she got back to her pen she thanked her dad and Chuck, her “coach” for his help. We were both beaming! Sunshine because she won, me because I was so darn proud of her for pushing through her nerves and showing such maturityboth inside and outside of the ring.
Now that our first goat show has come and past, a few thoughts have occurred to me. First I love our goats so much more in the pasture than in a show ring.
Secondly, there seem to be a lot of people with questionable (at best) techiques for improving the “performance” of their show animals. Imagine my suprise when my child asks, “Mom, why are they spraying Windex on that goats butt?” I honestly had no idea until I asked my hubby and he explained some people spray a menthol like spray on the animals to make them tense their muscles, and hopefully impress the judge. Needless to say, I was shocked and quite frankly disgusted. I think now would be a good time to sit down and talk as a family about animal welfare and what we consider to be appropriate, and what is not. I wonder do these people consciously start using these “tricks” or do they just gradually start turning a blind eye, reasoning that they have alot of money tied up in these animals and this justifies using any and all tricks to give them an advantage in the ring? If they had a written management plan that established their goals for their herd, would they think twice about putting their “tricks” in writing?
When I suggested we get goats, I had no intention of raising “show” goats, and Im still not sure how I feel about the idea. I do however recognize the opportunity it offers for the kids for personal development.
I wonder what others have done in this situation? Where is the line between farm animals and fair animals? I guess I aways thought they were the same, a fair animal was a farm animal you loaded up and took to the fair. As I have found out, if you want your kids to “win” at the fair your fair animals are going to need to live and eat much differently than your farm animals. Is it worth it? What are your thoughts?