Cattle Showmanship

Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, cattle shows are currently happening all across the country. As showmen work to prepare their animals to be presented in market classes, it is important to focus on the showmanship techniques. 

While showing cattle, ring awareness is very important. Because show cattle are large animals that take up a lot of space, being spatially aware in the ring is crucial to your success.

As you enter the ring with your steer or heifer, walk them with their head at a naturally high position. Walk forward with the animal’s halter in your right hand and your show stick in your left hand. Do not drag the show stick or halter on the ground. 

Walking Cattle

While walking, make sure to keep eye contact with the judge. Once you come upon a place to stop, turn your body and switch hands with the animal and showstick.

As you do this, slowly walk backwards stroking the brisket and watch the animal’s feet. You should try to “walk it into place” by stopping the animal mid-stride with the legs as close to the set position as you can. A perfectly set steer or heifer should have the front legs set square and shoulder width apart with the rear legs slightly offset with the non showside being slightly tucked up underneath its body. 

Once you walk the animal into place you can make minor adjustments using the showstick. Make sure to stop far enough away from the person in front of you so you both have room to work.

Usually, the best rule is to leave space for one animal’s body to fit between you and the showman in front of you. Once the animal is set, you can calm the animal by stroking its brisket with the stick. If your animal breaks behind its shoulder, you can reach under its rib cage and scratch it there to keep the topline up. Some animals roach their topline, so you should use the stick to stroke the animal’s loin to make the animal level out it’s topline. 

As the judge walks around your animal, move beside or in front of it so the judge always has a clear view of your animal. Lastly, in cattle showmanship you may encounter judges who handle the animal. If this happens, it is important for the showman to pull the comb out of their back pocket and comb over the area the judge handled to even out the hair.

Showing Cattle

In many showmanship classes, the judge may ask the showmen questions. These can range from easy questions for novice and younger showmen to touger ones for experienced showmen.

A good livestock showman should be prepared for these questions and answer truthfully to the best of their ability. These questions can be about the specific animal that is being shown or they can be about the cattle industry. You should be prepared and show the judge what you know!

It is important in all showmanship classes to stand out and be confident. Use these tips to find success in the cattle showmanship ring!