A Few Hints On Showing Your Pygmy Goat
First try to go along to a show to see 'how it's done'. There are Pygmy Goat shows held at various venues across the country. Some are included in large Agricultural County Shows while others are run by Club members and held at smaller locations. A full list of show dates, venues and contact details are included in P.G Notes magazine as well as here, on the Pygmy Goat Club website (see Shows tab)
Before entering a goat in the Breed Section classes check that the goats you wish to show have no disqualifying faults such as mouth defects or teat faults. PGC Approved shows will only accept pygmy goats which are registered in the Herd Book for the Breed Section classes, and you must also be a member of the PGC. The show schedule will list any other rules or requirements to enter that particular show. The PGC also has their own set of show rules.
Wethers and pet females which have any disqualifying breed faults can be entered in the Pet Section classes. You may also enter un-registered pygmy goats in any of the pet classes. The pet classes are very informal and often pet goats are exhibited by children. Your goat will be judged on condition/presentation, temperament and their conformation will also be taken into account. The winners of each pet class competes for the overall Best Pet and Reserve Best Pet awards. There are rosettes awarded in each individual class as well.
Junior Handler classes are popular for children to show off their showing/handling skills.
So, in the weeks prior to the show date you will need to do some preparation. Teach your pygmy goat to walk and stand quietly on a lead. Try this method of getting your goat to stand well. Put your hand under her chest at the front and lift until her feet are just off the ground, let her down and the feet should be level and well apart. Now run your hand down her back until you reach her 'hips', press down slightly and at the same time rock your hand gently from side to side, she should then move her hind legs back and well apart. Learn to open your goats mouth while holding the lead for the judge to inspect the 'bite'. Get another person to run their hands gently over your goat to get it confident for the judges examination. Talking quietly to your goat whilst training and showing will reassure and calm her.
Brush your goat every day for a couple of weeks before the show.
Two days before the show trim your goats hooves and most people also give their goats a bath. Use a good animal shampoo and make sure you rinse all the shampoo out of the coat or it won't shine and could irritate the skin.
On the day of the show you may wish to rub your goats horns with a little hoof oil to give them a shine (vaseline may be used instead)
Items you will need to take with you to the show are a water bucket, some hay (preferable in a small 'hook on' hayrack) a bowl and some concentrate feed, a brush/comb and most importantly a collar and lead. Most penned shows provide straw for bedding but check in case you need to take a quantity with you.
You will need to wear a white coat in the judging ring and will also need a clip or safety pin to fasten your goats number to your coat.
Defra movement regulations requires that we complete Animal Movement Licenses for the journey to and from the showground so you must make sure you have these with you (or complete online) accordingly.
Upon arrival you should hand the movement licenses to the show secretary who will complete their sections and hand the relevant parts back to you.
The show secretary will also give you your class entry numbers (to wear on your white coat for each class) and then show you which pens to use. You can then unload and settle your goats in. The show organisers will provide water for you to fill buckets. There is usually time to do any last minute grooming and perhaps spray some coat conditioner on your goats fur to give them a nice silky coat.
When your class is called enter the ring and line up as the steward directs. At all times listen carefully to the directions of the steward or judge. It is usual to line up in numerical order.
It is for the judge to decide how he/she will organise the judging procedure but it is usual for the goats to be stood with their rumps facing the judge to begin with. After walking along the line-up to assess that aspect of the goats the judge will then make his examination of each goat. Keep your goat under careful control during this examination. The judge will begin his examination at the front of each goat. He will ask to see the 'bite' of your goat and continue inspecting such things as feet (that they have been trimmed and that there is no sign of heel-mite etc) The judge will check for teat faults by lifting one hind leg. After the inspection you will then be asked to walk your goat in a straight line away from and back towards the judge, often two goats are walked together. The steward or judge will then ask for the goats to be stood facing right or left so that the judge can see and compare the full profiles of each goat. Next, all the goat will be walked around the ring so that the judge can see them on the move. The goats will then be lined up facing in the opposite direction to when they began. Make sure your goat is standing correctly with all legs foursquare and head held high. The judge will begin calling each goats number to be moved to another part of the ring in order of merit. When this has been done the judge will check his placings and may still change his mind and move some goats so don't relax just yet !
The steward will give out rosettes when the judge is satisfied with his final placings and the judge will walk along the line up giving his/her reasons for their decisions.
If you are fortunate enough to win a first place you will be called back later to compete for the 'Best-in-Show' or 'Best Pet in Show' award.
Good luck !