This page was last updated on: October 26, 2008
Leading in the Show Ring
by: Lyndsey Keller
When leading your lamb during a show, you aren’t supposed to use a halter on your lamb. Some shows/judges will allow you to use a halter, but it is preferred that you do not use one. You can’t just expect your lamb to go into the show ring knowing how to be led without its halter, so you must train it to do so. In order to do this, pick a day when you have nothing better to do (what’s better than sheep?) and get your lamb out. Practice nothing but leading without the halter. When leading your lamb, place one hand under its chin near the jaw line and your other hand on the back of your lamb’s head, right below the ears. Using slight pressure, gently pull on your lamb’s head in the direction you would like it to go. If your lamb will not walk when you are leading it, take your hand off if its head and tap or squeeze the lamb’s dock. This is slightly uncomfortable to the lamb and will cause him to move. However, some lambs, particularly wild ones, may jump into the air instead of moving forward when their docks are touched. Never let go if they jump. This will only teach the lamb that when he jumps he gets loose. If you are unable to control your lamb when it jumps, you can try to straddle your lamb to prevent him from jumping altogether. Depending on your size and the size of the lamb, straddle your lamb so that you are standing right over his shoulders. Then, hold onto his head like you normally would and start walking while still straddling him. If he stops, reach for the dock. When he jumps, you’ll be on top of him, preventing him from getting away and coming off the ground. Another advantage to straddling your lamb is that you can use your legs to prevent it from running forward or backward. If your lamb starts to run, all you have to do is squeeze your legs around the lamb and it can’t get away. It’s easier if you use a stick or long object to tap the dock when you’re in this position,or you can have someone else stand behind you and do the tapping. Keep working with your lamb in this way until you don’t have to touch the dock at all or very little. A lamb is more attractive in both showmanship and market/breeding classes if it doesn’t constantly have a hand reaching to its dock. Just keep working with him and you’ll get it.