Here are five basics to keeping your lamb stuck. ‘Set’ and ‘stuck’ are often used interchangeably or even the word ‘braced’. Often the best thing you can do is focus on the fundamentals. You need to do the basics better than anyone else in order to be noticed.

#1: Check often that your lamb’s feet are set. Your show lamb’s legs need to be stuck at all times. It is critical that they stay set. Glance down briefly throughout your class every few minutes to double check you didn’t miss your lamb moving.

#2: Keep the head level and neck coming up straight. This is a huge game changer for most showmen. It is key to keep the lamb’s neck up at a 90 degree angle with its back. Make the neck a priority and then work consistently at getting the nose down and straight forward as well. Many sheep showmen have been bumped down placements or way up in the running based on these two things alone.

#3: Practice your stance and style and know how you look. Practice how you look. A mirror is key. You can see how you look in real time and adjust in the moment. I believe a mirror is better than video, but it needs to be big enough that you can see your whole lamb as well as yourself. It is a key show tool to have. A video is the second best option and some coaches will prefer video over a mirror. A bonus tip on style that I have in my showmanship books is finding a showman to imitate when you are starting out. Copy their show style some and it will help you find your look.

#4: Get a good brace and work on maintaining it strong. Sheep and livestock showmanship, should be strongly based on how you make your animal look. Would the judge want you to be showing their animal today? Are you the best out there at making your animal look good? Spend a ton of time at home getting your lamb into a good brace. Don’t settle for your lamb just standing still sleepy in the show ring. Keep a constant pressure. When beneficial for your particular animal, make it is a strong brace that holds that animal’s back, head and body perfect at all times. Again, a mirror is key to knowing where your animal looks the best.

#5: Use touch to give them balance and prevent them moving. This key is a secret in the show world really. Mainly it is a secret because no one thinks to pass it on. If you watch closely at the shows, many of the best showmen are doing it, but they often don’t realize they are doing it. Once you are intune to your animals and have been showing a long time, it becomes second nature. If you feel your animal shift, you shift with them or give them a hand to balance on so they don’t move. If you are new, it is so subtle and gentle and it saves you tons of time. A newer showman would be setting their lamb all over again not knowing he could have kept the animal from moving in the first place.

Many times sheep showmanship comes down to who sets and stays set the longest without moving, who makes their animal look the very best, and who can feel and fix legs before they move or immediately when they do. Style is a cool look and makes a big difference, but not if you can’t show. Always go back to the basics of getting and keeping your lamb set at all times.

Thank you for reading. Check out my sheep showmanship book and flashcards if you like what you are reading and they can help you improve more.

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