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How to Exercise Your Show Lambs & Goats for Top Performance


boy training a show lamb

Exercising your show lambs and goats is more than just a routine; it's a crucial part of their development and a fantastic way to strengthen your bond. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or new to the show scene, understanding the right ways and times to exercise your animals is key to ensuring they look and perform their best in the ring.


Timing is Everything

The timing of when you start exercising your show animals is critical. Starting too early can be just as detrimental as starting too late. Young animals that haven't developed enough body mass may not have sufficient fat reserves for effective muscle building during exercise. On the other hand, starting too late may not give your animals enough time to develop the desired muscle tone. A good rule of thumb is to initiate the exercise regimen about 100 to 120 days before show day. This timeframe allows for optimal muscle development without the risk of overexertion.


Methods of Exercise

There are various ways to get your show animals into peak condition:


Hand Walking and Running

This is the most straightforward and cost-effective method. It involves simply putting a halter on your animal and walking or running with them around your property. Start with leisurely walks to acclimate your animals to the activity, then gradually increase the pace and distance as they grow stronger. This method helps build endurance and muscle and maintains interest and excitement for you and your animal.


Treadmills and Other Equipment

For a more controlled exercise environment, treadmills are excellent. They allow you to adjust the speed and incline to precisely target the development of muscle groups in the lambs and goats. Reversing the treadmill direction can help strengthen the loin and leg muscles specifically.


Chariots or simple walkers can also be effective, especially if you train multiple animals simultaneously. Chariots can be attached to a lawn mower or ATV, allowing you to exercise several animals at a controlled pace. Walkers automate the walking process and are particularly useful for larger herds, ensuring consistent exercise for every animal.


Incorporating Play and Challenges

Incorporating play elements such as jumps can be very beneficial, especially for goats, to keep the exercise engaging and cover all aspects of physical training. Setting up small jumps or ramps that match the height of the animal’s chest within their pen or during routine walks adds variety to their training regimen and helps develop muscle tone and agility.


Monitoring Your Animals

It’s essential to watch for signs of fatigue, such as panting, which indicates it’s time to cool down. Generally, exercising your animals around twice a week is enough, but this can vary. Heavy animals may benefit from additional sessions, while leaner ones might need less frequent exercise. Always adjust your routine based on the individual needs of your animals and their response to the training.


Enjoy the Process

Ultimately, the goal is to enjoy the training process with your show lambs and goats. This improves their physical condition and mental well-being. Happy animals are more cooperative and perform better in show rings.


Remember, consistent exercise is key to developing strong, healthy show animals. Following these guidelines and mixing up activities will ensure your lambs and goats are happy and healthy on your show journey.


Best of luck with your training, and here’s to bringing out the best in your show animals!


Warm regards,


-Delaney Barber

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