But, what tools do you need in your toolbox to be successful while showing at local fairs or on the colored shavings? According to Dan Bauer, a 2019 WDE Youth Showmanship Judge, it’s all about the “p” words as youth strive to reach their full potential in the Showring.
Let’s look inside Dan’s showmanship toolbox of “p” words!
Preparation – Start with a well-trained calf that is appropriately sized for you. It is never good for a contestant to stand out because his or her animal is way too big or way too small.
Practice – Log the necessary hours training the animal you will use in showmanship. Ideally, expose your animal to many kinds of surroundings and environments to be better equipped to adjust to both big and small showrings or whatever distractions appear on show day.
Presentation – It’s a must to make a great first impression. Be sure your animal is perfectly clean, fitted, and groomed. Use a halter that fits snugly and hold the lead strap looped three to four times to shorten it in length. Wear a white collared shirt, white pants, hard toed shoes, and a belt to maintain neatness. You should dress to enhance your animal’s appearance and never distract from her.
Positioning – Focus on refining every kind of positioning: how you hold the halter, where you place your body in relationship to your animal, the space you keep between the animals in front and behind you, as well as where you are in relationship to the showring’s edge. Know when to pose the animal, when to switch the feet and when not to, and how to pull in line.
Pace – Confidently know when to lead more quickly, like when entering a class or when being pulled into line, and when to lead at a slower and steadier pace such as under close inspection, or when taking the final steps before pulling into line.
Poise – Maintain balance and composure while moving gracefully in complete harmony with your animal. Although it’s important to pay attention to the judge, it’s even more important to concentrate on you and your animal and strive to move as one. After all, making her look the best possible is the core objective of any showmanship class.
Passion – Above all else, have fun! Showmanship at the highest level is extremely competitive, and the margins between standing on one end of the class and the other can be slim. If you are disappointed with how you place in one class, don’t dwell on it. Instead, identify things within your control to improve upon.
If you want to put your tools to the test, register for the 2019 World Dairy Expo Youth Showmanship Contest today! All youth are welcome, as exhibiting in the Dairy Cattle Show is not required to participate. Learn more at worlddairyexpo.com.