Nearly everyone has had a case of the showday jitters. Maybe your palms were sweaty while you tried to grip the handle of your new whip, you didn’t feel like eating before the show or perhaps you even forgot your barrow’s pedigree when the judge asked for it in showmanship. Well, rest assured you aren’t the first or the last showman to stumble upon showring stress and nerves. The key to being a great showman is not avoiding nervousness, but rather not letting it control you. The Showpig.com team has some tips to help you give showday jitters the slip.
Practice to Perfect
This may sound silly, but one of the best tricks to getting rid of your nerves is to be well prepared. If you practice like you plan to show at home, then your showday will likely seem less like a new experience and more like a familiar routine. This means, you should not only be walking your pigs, but also driving them around with a friend or family member standing in for the judge and even practice penning them like you would in a placing pen.
Eat or Drink Something
This may sound counter-intuitive when your stomach is turning or you’re worried about a last-minute trip to the restroom, but it is important to stay fueled up and hydrated – especially during summer shows. A weak, hot or “hangry” showman is not putting their best foot forward. A cool trick we’ve heard of is slowly drinking a protein shake if you’re too nervous to eat. This gives you the power you need to make the drive.
Take a Deep Breath
Your pig will be able to pick up on your nervous energy. When showmen are nervous, they usually tend to move faster or become irritated more easily. If you’re barrow or gilt seems to be responding to you differently during the heat of the moment, take a deep breath. Science shows that a few deep breaths can help relieve stress and give both your brain and your heart a chance to stop racing. Some carefully timed deep breaths before you enter a class can help keep you and your pig calm.
Remember This Is Fun
Do you remember why you started showing pigs? I bet it’s because you enjoyed it. Sometimes, showring jitters make it hard to remember that this is supposed to be something you enjoy. If that’s the case try to focus on the fun side of the sport, such as making new friends and spending time with your family. Once you focus on the fun, we are willing to bet that any stress the show ring may cause will be minor.
Best of luck at the state fairs, from the Showpig.com team.