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10 Ways to Prepare for Animal Exhibition Season

For many 4-Her’s, summer isn’t just about vacations and lazy days by the pool or at the beach. Those things are all fun and games, but they often get pushed aside for the true 4-H summer activity, show season! As fun as it is, getting ready for regional and provincial exhibitions can be a stressful time, however with a little planning and forethought you can ensure you make the best of this unique experience, so here are some tips I learned over the years.

Make a List
Write down what you have and what you need to purchase a few weeks before the show and confirm everything is in good working order. Make sure your show box has paper towels, lint rollers, show shine and clippers for last minute touch ups! Coordinate with your club for larger items such as wheelbarrows, shovels, brooms and first aid kits.

Pay Attention to Details
Pay close attention to details when cleaning your show clothes and your project. Organize your trailer and tack box beforehand to make finding things at the show easier!

Label Everything
There’s nothing worse than walking away from a show with a list of lost things. Putting coloured tape with your name on all of your equipment and supplies prevents any mix-ups.

Practice, Practice, Practice
I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before but practice makes perfect! Apart from practicing patterns and project skills like fitting, ensure your animal is comfortable being trailered and stalled.

Prepare Answers on Showmanship
Sometimes the judge will ask questions to make a final decision on the top showman, so be prepared! Questions may include the weight, gender, breed, age or parts of the animal.

Book Professionals Ahead of Time
Determine if veterinarians, farriers or groomers need to be involved and be sure to book them in advance. Showing season is a busy time of year for these professionals as well.  

Participate in Other Shows First
Schooling shows or clinics are great opportunities to kick the dust off! You can see simple things to work on, get all your show clothes and equipment ready and add to that list of things you need to remember to put in your show boxes or trailer.

Do Your Research
Know the rules, stalling procedures, camping fees and the on-site facilities to avoid surprises. Remember, different shows have different rules! Talk to seasoned 4-Hers and leaders to learn how that show works. It’s also a good idea to put your registration and health forms in a plastic sleeve to keep them clean and protected.

Keep Everyone in the Loop
Confirm with family members to make sure hauling, set up, move in times and show times work with their schedules. Remind your buyer, friends and family of the event.

Stay Healthy!
There’s not always enough time to go get healthy food during a show so pack the cooler full of ice, water, fruit, snacks and sandwiches. In the weeks leading up to the show, sleep well to prepare for the long days.

When all is said and done, if you’ve done your best, had fun and learned a thing or two, then you’ve had a good show! Good luck to all of you this show season! Tag @4HCanada on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts.