Yay! I showed my first goat today! Very exciting. I was nervous before I got there, but when I saw how informal it was I realized there was nothing to worry about. I showed a goat named Colbert--a two-year old saanen (Colbert is not the goat in the picture above--that's Dominion). She was a little ornery and gave me a hard time as we walked around the show ring. She made up her mind that she did not want to walk anymore. But then, when you've got them by the collar there's not much they can do about it besides being stubborn and just making you work harder at leading them.
After you walk around the ring a few times, the judge will tell you to stop, and at that point you set the goat's position. This just means that you square up her feet (look at the picture--her hind feet and front feet are squared), hold her head up to make her neck look long and graceful, and you set her spine--you give her a little squeeze on the lower part of her spine. This makes her flatten her back.
At the end, the judge calls out who is first, second, third, fourth, and so on, and you line up in order. He (or she, as the case often is) then explains why the first place doe won over the second place and so on. My goat won something like fifth place, but I was just excited to be showing at all. I can see this being very addictive. You go to the fair, hang out with other goat people (who are few and far between), walk your prettiest goats around in a circle, and win ribbons. Many people show their animals at the fair because you get paid a premium for every animal you show. The premium varies from fair to fair, but this is the only way it would be feasible for most dairy farmers to transport their animals. Otherwise it would just be money out of pocket.
Whoa, but did I ever see the strangest thing today. I did not know there was a breed of goat that has no ears (well, they have little, tiny, nubby ears called "fairy ears"). They're called la manchas. They're quite sweet, and I could envision a few of them in my future herd. I guess that's the problem with goat shows--they make you want more goats.