Lessons I’ve Learned From Owning and Showing Goats

Hearty

HeartyPost written by Brittany Couch, Intern

I never really thought I would own and show goats like I do now.

A lot of individuals that have goats and show them start when they’re young or even in their early teen years.

Me? I didn’t begin until my Junior year of highschool and I’ve loved it ever since. My best friend, Mysti-Ane’, was the one who got me into it.

Most people who get into showing animals do it because their parents did it or they already live on a farm with livestock. That wasn’t the case for me. My parents, when I told them I wanted to show goats, were a bit shocked, but now they love it too.

Fast forward to today….I’ve now owned South African Boer goats for six years.

Now even though I say I love it, don’t get me wrong, I know how difficult goats can be to work with. There are times I get upset. Owning livestock is difficult and overcoming problems is just part of the experience. We go through good times and bad times with the goats.

Throughout the years of owning goats, a lot of my favorite times have been going to the county, 4-H, FFA, and State Fair shows. It will never be a boring day when it comes to show day.

There’s no telling what will happen…an animal could get loose…or break a horn…or maybe you cut your foot open on a cattle panel. Unfortunately, all of these have happened to me at one time or another.

Every show is different and fun and surprising things can happen. Animals, (especially goats) can be a surprise in the show ring. You never know what the judge is looking for and, even though your animal may be small, it can still get placed high in the class if it’s sound in other ways.

It feels so good to know that even though your animal doesn’t place first, you’re still a winner. If you get last or close to last, that’s still great! Take it as a lesson learned when the judge explains why you got that placing. You can take that information home and keep working on those qualities.

The problem may just be that your animal has a fault, so you learn and know what to look for in a steer or lamb the next time you buy or breed. You just never know what you’ll learn next and that learning can help you teach others down the line.

Showing livestock also gives you the opportunity to travel to each show every year and meet new and awesome people. As you see those individuals again and again over the years, you tend to share a bond with them.

In a sense, you gain a new, big family that’s there for one another at those shows and even outside of the shows. I’ve gotten to know at least four other couples and I look forward to see them at shows each summer and when I attend goat camps or even have my goats bred with their stock.

They’ve helped me learn new things about showing. You never stop learning and these new friends continue helping me even after six years of showing. Showing can teach friendship and help get you out of your box instead of keeping to yourself.

Showing also teaches us about ourselves. You put so much into training, washing and drying, clipping hair, trimming hooves, and so much more. It’s all so worth it at the end of the day. You did well or maybe you didn’t, but you still have fun because you’re doing something you love.

Showing will give you confidence in yourself knowing all of your hard work has paid off no matter what. It can also teach you leadership, by teaching and leading others that need help, boosting your confidence, or setting an example for others.

I’ve definitely changed over the years since I’ve started showing goats. If you asked my “goat family” they will say I’m not the same as when I first started. Showing livestock has taught me discipline, better public speaking, being more outgoing, leadership, and friendship.

And that it’s not always about winning ribbons, trophies, or plaques. Those are items that will fade and collect dust and will lose meaning over time. Showing livestock is about creating memories with others and holding onto that for the rest of your life.

Showing livestock and owning animals has led me to my future career and I can’t wait to learn even more!