Don’t Be A Bully!

Today was our first 4H meeting of the 2020 year and we are so excited for this new adventure!

I was not smart enough to take pictures but I will do my best to remember next time and in the meantime I will explain through videos as well as using my vast superpower of taking a simple topic and making it ultra confusing to explain what we covered.

Notice how I refer to myself as being a part of the group? Well as a parent of a 4H member, I get to be an honorary 4H-er even though I am "old". I am sparing my daughter from the (and I quote) "embarrassment" of having a parent participating. I make no promises as this adventure continues though as the value of "free" learning I think out-weighs the LOW cost of embarrassment.

After introducing ourselves, and listing the length of our 4H career, along with our favorite goat's name, our fearless leader asked us to watch a video. She warned us that not everything in the video was perfect and encouraged the kids to try to spot those imperfections.

Was she doing this to encourage us to make fun of other kids making mistakes? Absolutely not! She had several intentions I am sure running through her head and here are my ideals of what she was wanting to acheive.

  1. Observing what the kids had learned either in past meetings, years, or in general experience.
  2. Letting the kids see that everyone makes mistakes and it is ok to make them.

Here is the video we watched, let's see how many mistakes you can find. Careful though in your critiques, some day you might be in the ring and all these steps that are drilled into your head get muffled on show day.... trust me.

We noticed a few times the exhibitors passed behind their goat instead of in front, there was some bullying going on (it is subtle), and a few times (pay attention here... important information is getting ready to spill out of my mouth onto the keyboard), the exhibitor (the male exhibitor in this case) doesn't quite switch sides when he should have. Basically, if the judge passes the imaginary line in between your goat's nostrils all the way down to it's medial ligament, you should be switching sides. In your head, split your goat in half, if the judge is on YOUR half, switch. ALWAYS in the front. Why did this happen? He was too fixated on setting his goat up and forgot to have at least one eye on the judge. Thankfully, it doesn't look like the judge noticed but it is important to remember to adhere to these guidelines even if the judge is NOT looking at YOUR animal, so don't get distracted.

After the kids finished with their assessments, it was time for some hands-on learning. Our leader instructed us to go get our goats and we practiced some of the things we saw in the video.

Of course the main topics were how to handle your goat (preferably not choke them into passing out) or dragging them (hey, don't judge... I have been guilty of dragging a few goats in my day when they do not want to cooperate) along with how to set up your goat properly.

Now remember, it is February and many of these goats are currently at that stage of their pregnancy that they are just over life and were just not in the mood to pretend like it was show day which gave our leaders a fabulous opportunity to show us how to shuffle our goats back into their position instead of "bullying" them. This technique we call bullying is except-able in market shows, but not in dairy shows.

[insert video of Aslyn bullying]

Instead of bullying your goat, shuffle them or their feet. Shuffling is where you place the hind foot that is furthest from your body to touch the opposite foot, rinse and repeat. I will do my best at showing you how this is done but I HAVE NOT perfected it myself so bare with me.

[insert shuffling video]

When one of the does started causing a muck aka having a hissy fit, Makayla (our Sr 4H leader.... usually a teen who has experience) pointed out it was ok to walk your goat out of the ring and demonstrated the proper way to do that. She told us that it was alright to leave the ring by moving straight out, turn your goat towards your body to turn around and re-enter the ring with your goat already facing in the right direction if possible by the time you re-enter the ring. I have provided a video showcasing this technique below. Even though this video starts at the time that demonstrates an unruly goat, I highly recommend watching it in its entirety as it highlights some great overall information by clicking here.

Our leaders asked questions that might come up in the ring such as "what breed of goat are you showing today" and "what color(s) describe your goat" and allowed the kids who answered the questions correctly to lead the next activity.

Finally it was play time where the kids were allowed to lead their goats in a fun little trail walk through the yard and were met by a see-saw at the end. It was so fun watching the goats play on this obstacle and I am very intrigued by how our goats at home might approach this obstacle.

Guess what my next project will be???? Don't worry, I will post a video on their first reactions to the new toy.