“Sometimes it’s just about as important how an animal is presented as what kind of quality it has.”
That’s called fitting and showing, or showmanship, as we were reminded during the county fair. There were several entries that looked of ample conformation, type and style to place much higher in class than they did, had they been clean and presented by their owners, so the evaluator could better see their attributes.
Contrastingly, a couple entries seemed to lack what are sought characteristics in today’s shows, yet their exhibitors had them well fit, proudly showing like they were going to win, and took the prizes.
Makes us reflect five decades when we lead out two booby prize entries in our first 4-H fair horse show, but were the only one entered in horse showmanship.
Those who’d showed the champion horses didn’t enter for some reason. It was a new deal, at least for horses, and perhaps the champion owners thought they knew how to show, or they wouldn’t have already won, and it would be degrading to them.
Regardless, as the only horse showmanship exhibitor, we qualified to participate in round-robin (all-species climaxing) showmanship with our sorrel mare Nellie Belle. Again, we got last, because we didn’t have a clue how to show a wooly booger, a squealing pig, a milk cow, or baby beef.
Worse part, Nellie didn’t know anything about showing either, and the other species’ round-robin kids knew even less than we did about exhibiting horses. All things considered, it wasn’t a good day.
Fortunately, with expert coaching from their mother, our children excelled in showmanship, starting with horses through other species, collecting numerous round-robin titles.
And, that special talent, no credit to us, carried into the next generation as our grandson qualified to compete at this year’s round-robin with three species: horse, swine and meat goat, finishing as the junior round-robin showmanship champion four years in succession.
We’ve entered old folks’ horse showmanship three times this year and got the gate every day; some things never change.
Reminds us, unfortunately, in our case, of Second Timothy 3:6: “They get exploited every time, and never really learn.” However, thankfully for our grandson: Second Kings 17:41: “Like father, like son.” Because, Proverbs 1:5: “The wise will hear, increase in learning, and acquire skill.”