No Such Thing as Luck in Showing Livestock
In the livestock industry, there is no such thing as luck.
Back home in Pennsylvania, it's that time of year. The livestock are born, 4-H enrollment has begun, and the goat, lamb, and pig auctions are right around the corner. For the first time in ten years, I am not spending hours on end looking at pigs and searching for "the one".
If I could do it all over again, I would in a heart beat. Many of my best memories have something to do with a pig show. When I first started, just being able to show a pig ranked up there with my big accomplishments. Then, I won my first banner, showmanship, etc. As I look back at what I've accomplished, as well as the accomplishments of my friends, I notice a pattern.
The thing is, there is no such thing as "lucky" in the world of showing livestock. People don't win by accident, luck, or chance. I started to accomplish my goals when I bought better livestock, fed the right feeds, and here's the big one, spent more time. There's a direct correlation between effort and results. If you are doing well, you must be doing something right. If you're not, don't worry, it's a new year!
I would give anything to do it one more time. But as I learned at the Farm Show with my pig named Turbo, it's impossible to create that essential livestock and exhibitor bond from one thousand miles away.
So, for those of you who are lucky enough to show livestock this summer, that is all the luck you get. The rest is up to you. With show season approaching, keep this in mind:
Start by picking a good animal. Just like a house, you need a solid foundation to build upon. The problems you see now, won't just go away as the animal grows. Find a breeder with quality livestock and examine the animal more than for that split second in the sale ring.
Feed good feed. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing an animal not meeting its full potential because of the feed. Also, supplements are well worth the money.
Spend the time. Remember when I said that's a big one? Waiting until a month before the show to start walking, washing, cleaning the pen, etc. definitely does not lead to success. I promise, it's never too early to start.
Skin and hair is half the battle. This goes hand in hand with spending the time. The sooner a skin/hair care routine is established the better. Plus, livestock that are used to being bathed are less likely to be the psycho ones in the wash rack.
Go to jackpot shows. We all know the saying, "practice makes perfect." That can hold true to livestock as well. Good friends of mine always say that the animals learn their manners at jackpot shows and it's true.
It can be either rewarding or devastating when all your hard work is in the hands of one man's opinion on a given day. However, you can work hard to create your own luck.
Julia Grace Hay