Showmanship Tips


Showmanship is the ability to control and present your goat to bring
out its best characteristics

Be appropriately Dressed Neat and clean. You should tuck in your shirt and wear a belt.
Be Mentally and Physically Ready for the show Eat a good sensible meal ( you and your animal), run through the showmanship process in your head, and if possible watch the judges style by observing an earlier class.
Be Confident From the moment you walk into the ring be confident that you are presenting your animal better than any other showman can present it.
Be Prompt Do not be late for a class. You should arrive to be one of the first exhibitors to enter the ring.
Be Smooth Walk and Set up your animal in a smooth manner. Do not be too slow, but there is no rush. Make your animal look the best.
90 Degrees Remember the 90 degree rule. Everything you do should be at a 90 degree angle. Corners, taking the goat in and out of line, setting feet and legs, head, neck, back.
Can the Judge see the goat? Do not stand in the line of the judges view of the goat. Show off the front of the goat when the judge is in front. Do not place your hand on the goat if not needed (especially the back)
Anticipate the Judges Actions Keep eye contact with the judge so you are sure of the action he wishes you to take. Be prepared to hold the goat tighter if the judge approaches.
Know Your Animal You have raised it, you should know the basic details (date of birth, feed intake, brand of feed, growth rate, breed, color). Any additional information is helpful. Study!
Have Fun!

Teaching Your Goat to Lead

  • When teaching your goat to lead, make sure you have a proper collar and lead.
  • Chain collars are usually preferred for showing, although narrow leather collars are also used.
  • Practice with the collar you will be using for showing. Fit collars so that you can control your animal's movements at all times in and out of the ring.
  • It is ideal to work with your animal ahead of time until they lead readily and respond quickly to signals.
  • They should move forward with a slight pull on the collar and stop when you pull slightly up and back.
  • Getting your animals used to wearing a collar and teaching them to lead and be tolerant of strangers is important.
  • Have others run their hand over the neck, withers, back, sides, and udder area similar to what a Judge would do in the show ring.
  • Get your goat used to load sounds. Radios work great in the barn area and also has a calming effect.

  • When starting to lead, the first step is to teach the goat that the lead means to stay with you.
  • Sit in a chair, have a drink, and hold your goat on about a 2 foot lead.
  • Don’t pull on the lead, but just sit and don’t give in to the goat's pressure on the lead.
  • They will soon learn that they are attached to you.
  • Next step after you can sit with them without their trying to pull away is to start to walk with them.
  • Take their feed bucket and hang it on a fence or rail and walk them to it and clip them there to eat.
  • Do not ever leave them unattended as they could injury themselves.
  • When they are done eating, walk them back to their pen.
  • Use a give-and-take motion on the lead. If they are walking, do not pull. If they stop, pull gently until they take a step and then release the lead. Repeat until they are moving freely in the direction you wish to go.
  • Always have a plan and stick to it.
  • Goats learn quickly and respond to repetition. If you do the same thing every day, in a few days, they will be leading.

What to do once you are in the show ring
Click on the pictures below to enter the show ring!

  Click on the photos above
to see step-by-step with photos how to show in the show ring.

What the Judge Sees

  • The Judge is looking at the rear view when the goats are lined up side by side. The goat should look "square and natural." Do not let your goat relax or he/she will start to break behind the shoulders. Breaking behind the shoulder is when the back dips down behind the shoulder causing the topline to be uneven and does not blend into the shoulder blades.
  • If the Judge approaches to touch the goat, take a step in front and put your knee into the goats chest holding the head and neck up keeping one hand on the collar/chain and one hand under the chin. This will prevent them from lounging forward when touched. This will also tighten up their muscles and give them a better feel when the Judge touches them.
  • The Judge will view the goats from the front to see the brisket, leg position, and forearm muscling.
  • When the Judge is in the front looking at this position, pull the goat's head and neck up to show extension and make the brisket look tighter. Keep the goat's nose level and the neck at a 90 degree angle.
  • Make sure you step back slightly back from the goat's shoulder and far enough away from the goat so the Judge can get a good view.
  • In the profile view, the Judge is looking for balance and style.
  • Most of his/her decisions come from looking at the goats profile.
  • Make sure your goat is set up correctly and alert.


Example Showmanship Score Card
(How the Judge grades you on your ability to exhibit your goat to bring out its best characteristics)

Appearance - 10 points total

Goat - 5 points

  1. Showmanship animal should be in good show condition - well-muscled with a smooth, even covering of firm flesh, hair smooth and glossy. Some showman will not be showing their own animals; however, the showman needs to take this under consideration when choosing an animal to show in this competition.
  2. Hair should be clean, dry and free of foreign matter, including flanks, face, nose, ears, feet, and legs.
  3. The decision regarding shearing, trimming, or fitting is left to the individual showman and the owner of the animal being shown.
  4. Feet should be trimmed so that goat walks and stands natural and correct.

Exhibitor - 5 points

  1. Exhibitor should be well groomed and clothes clean and neat.
  2. Shirts should have a collar.
  3. Belt should be worn if belt loops are present on pants and should match shoe color.
  4. Exhibitor should have safe and proper footwear.
  5. No shorts.
  6. No caps. If a hat is worn, it can be a clean cowboy hat.
  7. The exhibitor should not chew gum while showing.

Cooperation - 25 points

  1. The exhibitor should be aware of the judge’s location, and maintain that awareness until the class is completed. Maintain eye contact.
  2. The exhibitor must stay in position to effectively and efficiently show and move the goat. It is the exhibitor’s responsibility not to obstruct the judge’s view of their goat at any time.
  3. A judge often places animals from the profile/side view/head-to-tail position. As open spaces occur, the exhibitor should move forward in line without waiting to be told. If the judge is evaluating their animal, the exhibitor may delay in this movement until the judge has completed the evaluation or requests the goat be moved forward.
  4. Goats should be maneuvered into position as requested by the judge, smoothly without a lot of excess movement.

Skills - 25 points

  1. Shows teeth and teats or udder development to judge before entering the ring.
  2. Enters the show ring promptly and proceeds in a clockwise direction.
  3. Uses the entire ring, squaring corners (90 degree angle).
  4. Is responsive to judge’s and ringmaster’s requests.
  5. Works quickly, but not abruptly.
  6. Recognizes and corrects faults of animal’s position efficiently.
  7. Not distracted by persons and things outside of show ring.
  8. Shows animal, not self.
  9. Does not leave ring until released by ring official.
  10. Displays a courteous and sportsmanlike attitude.
  11. Waits until after the class placing to ask any questions.

Presentation - 25 points

  1. A goat should be well presented at all times, but showman should not engage in undue fussing or maneuvering. The goat should always be positioned between the showman and judge on a profile/side view/head-to-tail presentation.
  2. Set the goats feet up squarely under the body with the hind feet spread a bit. Head and neck should be at a 90 degree angle.
  3. Always set up the legs closest to the judge first.
  4. When the judge is viewing the goat from the rear, the exhibitor should be standing in front of the goat, slightly off to one side.
  5. Exhibitor should step to the goat’s side, stand straight, and face the judge while holding the head up when the judge is inspecting the front end of the goat.
  6. A goat should be led with one hand holding the neck chain or collar and the other hand held to the showman’s side. Exhibitor’s free hand should be available to properly maintain control of the goat.
  7. Each exhibitor should maintain proper distance when on the move and when standing to allow other exhibitors enough space to show their animal. Exhibitors should be courteous to other exhibitors and their goats at all times.
  8. When asked by the ringmaster or judge to move an animal to a new position, priority is to get to that position and set up the goat in an efficient manner.
  9. Beginning exhibitors may use a halter if it is required to maintain control of the animal. If a halter is needed, the lead rope should be very short.

Unsportsmanlike conduct is Severely Discriminated Against and May Be Grounds for Disqualification

Questions Asked by Judge - 15 points

When asked a question by the Judge

  • Be Concise - Listen to the question. Repeat the question back to the judge to be sure that you heard the question correctly then answer the question, and answer it concisely.

  • Be Honest - If you don't know the answer to the question asked, just state it. You're much better off saying you don't know the answer to the question, but you will find out. Try to add a detail that may pertain to the question. For example, if asked how many compartments a goat’s stomach has, and you do not know the answer, but you do know that the rumen is one of the compartments that is on the left side, then state that.

Examples of questions that the Judge may ask according to the age and level of the youth showing

  • When was your goat born?
  • What kind of feed do you use?
  • What would you change about your goat?
  • What is the best feature of your goat?
  • Where is the loin on your goat?
  • How many parts are there to the stomach?
  • What are the parts of the stomach?
  • Name three meat breeds.
  • How long is the gestation period for a doe?
  • How many pounds of feed must be fed for one pound of weight gained?
  • What is a goat’s normal body temperature?
  • How do you tell if a goat still has milk teeth?
  • Name some meat cuts of a goat.
  • What vaccinations has your goat had?
  • What is urinary calculi and how do you treat it? How can you prevent it?
  • What is your goat’s name?
  • What do you worm with? How often?
  • How often do you trim your goat’s hooves?
  • Where did the Myotonic goat originate from?
  • What is the most expensive cut of meat?
  • What is the most important nutrient goats need?
  • Be able to name the parts of a goat

You will be able to learn the answers to all these questions on different pages of the Youth Center once the construction on this website is finished (which we hope will be soon)


Advanced Showmanship - How Many Questions Can You Answer?

  1. Which state has the most meat goats?
  2. Which state sells the most goat meat?
  3. What is the current national market price of goat?
  4. When was your goat born?
  5. Is your goat a doe or a wether?
  6. How much does your goat weigh?
  7. How old is your goat?
  8. What kind of feed do you use?
  9. How much feed do you use?
  10. What type of exercise program is your goat on?
  11. What is the fat percentage in your goat’s feed?
  12. What would you change about your goat?
  13. What is the best feature of your goat?
  14. Where is the loin on your goat?
  15. What percentage of back fat do you think your goat has on it at this time?
  16. What is the average percentage of back fat on a lean goat?
  17. What breed is your goat?
  18. How many parts are there to the stomach?
  19. What are the parts of the stomach?
  20. Name examples of meat breeds.
  21. How long is the gestation period for a doe?
  22. What is the carcass yield percentage?
  23. How many pounds of feed must be fed for one pound of weight gained?
  24. What is a goat’s normal body temperature?
  25. How do you tell if a goat still has milk treeth?
  26. Where would you give your goat a shot?
  27. What do you think is the best goat in the project and why?
  28. Name some meat cuts of a goat.
  1. What vaccinations has your goat had?
  2. What is the normal respiration rate of a goat?
  3. What is urinary calculi and how do you treat it? How can you prevent it?
  4. What is your goat’s name?
  5. How many sets of incisors (milk teeth) are goats born with?
  6. Can you name a goat by-product?
  7. What is the average weight of a market wether?
  8. What do you worm with?
  9. How often do you trim your goat’s hooves?
  10. What is the average amount of back fat on a goat?
  11. Name an example of a dual-purpose breed.
  12. What is the average daily rate of gain for a market goat?
  13. Where did the Boer goat originate from?
  14. What is an example of a dairy breed of goat?
  15. Who was your goat’s breeder?
  16. How often do you need to worm your goat?
  17. What is the amount of crude protein in your feed?
  18. What is crude protein?
  19. What is the most expensive cut of meat and what is its diameter?
  20. How is the yield grade determined?
  21. What is the most important nutrient goats need?
  22. What are the rations of feeds you feed your goat?
  23. How much do you work your goat daily?
  24. What is the average thickness of a goat’s loin?
  25. What is the purpose of scrapie tags? Where do you get them?
  26. How would you get a belly off of a market goat?

Click Here for the Answers - pdf

How many did you get correct?

1-20: Great Job! Now you know what to study; 21-49: You're Terrific! Study just a little more; 50-54: You are a supreme showman!

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