Bear with me for a moment as I brag on my boys.
Our boys are very good in showmanship.
Part of it is luck, but a lot of it is due to plain hard work.
You can know how to be a showman...in your head, but it is a whole different matter to be able to pull it off in the show ring.
You just have to practice over and over again until it becomes a habit.
Isaac won 2nd place Intermediate Showmanship and Walker won 1st place Junior Showmanship at our county fair.
However, there is a part of that story that I didn't tell you.
Things did not start off on the right foot in the show ring.
The boys have spent countless hours working their cows. They are usually worked and walked daily. Rain and Six have been known to develop separation anxiety, so the boys worked them separately to help them combat this.
These cows have had tons of show ring experience and know exactly what they are supposed to do.
However...sometimes cows are like 2-year-olds. Just when you think everything is going fine, they throw a screaming fit in the middle of the grocery store.
That is exactly how the showmanship classes started for both Isaac and Walker.
The cows know what to do.
They have done it a hundred times before.
They behaved perfectly just a few hours before in the final ring practice.
But for some reason, the toddler temper tantrum took over.
They threw their heads, flipped their tails, tried to push the boys over, wouldn't set up, wouldn't stand still...just your typical refusal to be normal.
In the picture above, the judge is trying to ask Isaac some questions, and Six is prancing all around and trying her hardest to make Isaac look bad.
Rain did the exact same thing to Walker.
It was almost like the cows went back to the barn and had a pow-wow to see what they could do to sabotage the showmanship classes.
But...they didn't know their boys.
Both boys kept fighting and checking to make sure that everything was the way it was supposed to be. They never stopped and never gave up.
Walker has a really hard time hiding his emotions. We frequently remind him not to let his frustration show on his face.
I did catch a few scowls, but only when he turned away from the judge.
Isaac won his class and then went on to place 2nd in Intermediate Showmanship.
Walker won 1st place in Junior Showmanship.
So why did they do so well when their cows performed so poorly?
Because their cows performed so poorly.
A good judge can tell the difference between an off day and a cow that just hasn't had much work.
Both Six and Rain were a handful....and then decided that it wasn't worth it.
You have all heard the parenting advice that when a toddler throws himself on the floor in a temper tantrum, you should just walk away. If they don't have anyone to throw the tantrum for, they will quit throwing the tantrum.
I think we experienced the same concept in the cow world.
Both boys fought with all they had, didn't get flustered (even though they really wanted to), kept their cool and just kept doing what they were supposed to be doing.
Rain and Six weren't getting their way. They weren't allowed to quit and weren't allowed to go back to the barn. They finally used their heads and figured out that it is a whole lot less work to just do what you are asked to do than it is to fight it and still not get your way.
Once they got that through their thick heads, they were perfect angels.
The judge got to see these rambunctious toddlers turn into the perfectly performing cows that we all know they can be.
But the most important thing...the judge saw both Isaac and Walker overcome difficulties with dignity and control. The misbehavior showcased the skill of the showmen.
What is the moral of the story?
Never give up.
If Isaac and Walker had thrown in the towel in the first few minutes, the day would have been over for them. But, because they never quit fighting, they ended up gaining control of unruly cows and then showing the judge what a much worked with and well-behaved cow looks like.
Does it always work out this way? No.
Many times, a bad behavior day just doesn't get any better. Sometimes, a judge mistakes a misbehaving cow for a cow that hasn't been worked with. Sometimes, a judge makes an immediate decision and doesn't give you the chance to prove yourself. Other times, the competition is so tight that a misbehaving cow can be the deciding factor...and not in your favor.
But other times...
The adversity makes you shine.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.