Timid showman

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justme

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My daughter is in her 1st year of "real" 4-H.  She has a beautiful heifer with a great temperment.  She loves on it everynight as it eats hay.  When it comes to grabbing the halter, you can visually see her anxiety.  She almost gets in tears poor thing.  I don't want to force her to show by no means.  She states she wants to show so bad.  By my picture you can tell she has started peweeing now for several years.  How do you help your child get over the anxiety?  My husband thinks she just needs to "suck it up" (and he doesn't mean to sound mean).  I want her to learn to love her heifer and showing.  Smaller calves she has no problem, but how do you help a child graduate to that first "big" project?  She has the desire to do it, and is one heck of a sheep showman but is having a hard time.

Her heifer litterally runs to the gate when she comes and she sits in the hay feeder loving on her.  No fear there, its just when she has to grab the halter.

Thanks for all your suggestions.  Please don't think I'm one of these "show parents" that wants to force her kids to show.  I just want to help her with her little "phobia".  I think once she did it at a show successfully she'd be hooked.  When she shows her lambs she is so natural and at ease.
 

red

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wow, "justme" that's a tough situation.
My daughter was more the oposite. she loved showing, it was the other stuff she didn't like. Me I'm the opposite. I love the day to day but have troubles in the show ring.
A couple of suggestions.
1. Valium- not for her, for the hubby
2. she needs confidence. try to keep things on a calm, no yelling situation
3. can you get some friends over to work w/ her. other kids to have a mock or practice show?
4. maybe a 4-h leader or other adult to help her. i never could click real well w/ my daughter. when someone else worked w/ her, she listened better.
5. try not to threaten her w/ not going. she'll give up & then you'll never get her to go out
6. praise, praise her
7. I know you do better w/ older heifers but maybe for the first show a calf is the best thing for a young showman. we started off our first project w/ a bottle calf named Zippy. horrible thing but it was super tame.
8. encourage her to love the calves & just let her be herself.
Good luck, I'm sure she'll do fine but just give her patience, love & lots of understanding. It's hard to get over the nerves of showing.
Wish I was closer!!!!
Red
 

shortyjock89

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When I first started showin calves, I was pretty timid to lead them too.  What my dad did was have me lead the calf, and he would hold on the the end of the halter just to make me feel more comfortable.  Soon after we started doing that, he would just walk beside me and not hold onto the halter.  Eventually I became at ease with the calf. Problem solved!  I hope maybe something like this can help you.
 

Show Heifer

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Sounds like to me she is scared of screwing up. Maybe her father is a bit critical of her when she does things by herself? Or maybe she has been to a show and seen parents yell at the kids for messing up during the show?
She obviously isn't scared of her heifer, so that is good!  ;D
Take her and the heifer to a small show without anyone else she knows  (including Dad). Have her get the heifer ready and then if she wants, have her show.....if she gets scared just have her lead her heifer around the grounds. Hopefully the show will have a showmanship class and have her enter that too. Somethimes it is just the fact that everyone is watching the show and they get a bit of stage fright!! :eek:
Good Luck and tell her to enjoy herself!! (clapping) (clapping)
 

knabe

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get her some of those bling bling halters.  another thing to try is set up a small pen so the heifer doesn't have infinity to run around.  keep her in the center with some slack in the lead rope.  you are in there with her.  I'm inferring a little bit here, but if the heifer moves, no big deal.  she probably is worried that when she pulls on the halter, the calf isn't coming like she expects.  if the halter is loose, she can wait for the heifer putting slack back in the rope when she holds it.  i know this sounds ridiculous, when everyone is usally holding on to the lead all the time and bascially get lots of muscles, but one shouldn't have to do this.  you can even do this to get them to hold their head up.  they learn to seek the slack, which you can make imperceptibly small.  the other benefit of just a little bit of slack is that the head is level when you raise it rather than tilted towards you and away from the judge.  it also helps them square up and not shift their butt out into the ring too much causing you to walk out in the arena and reset the calf because you don't have the confidence to square it quickly.  it's like a golfer who can both fade and hook.  flexibility.  another thing to do is just teach the calf to respond like this, and then let her take over.  one down side of too much love is that the animal won't respect your space.  this is a huge problem in horses.  it is also possible to teach the steers respect for your space.  i usually stick my elbow out in their face till they back off, then put my elbow down.  you can get good with this too by raising your elbow when you "feel" the steer coming to you.  also useful in the showring when the judge comes over to you and wants to pet your steer to see if it's all gunky and if you will recomb it showing professionalism and not smile and not grimace.  you'll actually be proud they come over to you.  it also helps to be good at putting that comb in your pocket smoothly while holding your stick and halter in the same hand while holding the head up and leaning over.  smooooooth.

probably too much info.

also noticed red's comment about getting someone else.  that's a good tip as kids sometimes dont' want to cry in front of someone else and cave.  being with mommy, they know they can cry and they'll get hugged.  smaller steps with more success.  success is addictive, especially if they can see cause effect which they see in cartoons all the time and have high expectations.
 

justme

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If you see us out and about don't look at my hubby like he's this mean daddy ok lol (lol)  He just wants her to give it a try and honestly his heart is in the right place.  He just has trouble expressing it.

He usually doesn't get to go to the shows with us so that does help a bunch. 

She's showed 4 bottle calves so I think he is thinking she should naturally be ready to just jump in.  Great advice from everyone so far!  We bought her lambs to peewee and jackpot last year and it really did build her confidence.  Before that she wouldn't even go in the pasture with the cows with out trembling.  Baby steps for now and cross your fingers everyone!  Hopefully you'll see a tall skinny 9 year old at The Maine Jr. nationals.  (clapping)
 

red

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yes, don't want to cross dad too much since he's 6'5"!!!!
She just needs to gain some self confidence. I think you can hide behind sheep better. You're down on their level. Cattle makes you more stand out.
Tell her that I get out there & drop the show stick. forget which hand it's in, go the opposite direction the ringman tells me to & usually get the stick stuck under the hoof at least once. I've been knocked down in a show, dragged & had a steer jump on top of me. Usually people get out of my way when they see me approching the ring to show!!!!

Red :)))
 

DL

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OK - I guess I have a slightly different take - I would just let her enjoy her heifer and tell you when she wants to show.

You might be able to get around the haltering thing by playing games (like "races" with her sister or a friend - walk the heifer in a circle, stop, back etc so that the focus is on the activity and not on the fact that she has the halter and is suppose to do x,y or z) - we do this sort of thing with dog training and riding -get her a fancy "game halter" to be used for games (as distinguished from the "show halter" ) - also she can teach her heifer tricks - this is especially helpful if the heifer is food motivated - take all the onus off the idea of showing and make it fun for her to interact with the haltered heifer and then let her decide when she wants to show -  (cow) (cow) (cow)
dl.
 

chambero

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If she likes smaller calves, let her stick to them starting out.  My oldest son is now starting his first "real" year also.  Our best steer calf just isn't going to be gentle enough for him to handle.  He's not mean, but I can already tell he is never going to be one that I can completely trust.  On the other hand, we have one white steer my boys just love.  He's decent, but I'm going to have to keep him in the barn over a better black calf or two just to avoid a riot.

You have to keep the kid's best interest at heart and let them show what they want to.  In the grand scheme of things, the first year or two is really about learning.
 

cowz

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As the mother of a timid showman, I will tell you what we did.  DL hit it right on the head with her game idea.  My husband is also a little on the demanding (and sometimes harsh) side.

After the daily brushing routine, a coveted candy bar would appear!!  The 2 siblings had to do "showmanship"  for the candy bar.  We would do fun things as part of our "showmanship", like who could show the longest without their calf pooping, who could keep a hat on the calf's head the longest, etc.  The person who took their eyes off the judge (mom) would generally lose.  Anyhow, this was a way to practice pulling the calf into place, leading around, setting up, etc.etc.

Whatever you do, it has to be fun.  Kids who have great parents and a show career ahead of them are a PRECIOUS commodity!!  I see alot of kids out there who are burnt out at 12 and absolutely HATE to show because their parents have made their lives miserable. 

Our youngest had a bit of a salty calf last year who decided to buck and play during the county fair show and got away from him.  He was petrified to show him at state fair.  This took a lot of talking and convincing him that he could do a good job at state fair.  We really had to reinforce "pumping up his ego".  The final step was absolute bribery.  We told him that if he showed and kept control of his calf at state fair that we would take him to Red Lobster and let him order anything.  This is a huge deal at our place as we hardly ever eat out!  Well, he did a great job, got the calf shown.  Went to the restaurant and let him pick the lobster out of the tank.  Ate it all himself.  He wanted to keep the antenna for a trophy.  (Mom has already tossed it out of the showbox, maybe he wont notice!!)

Anyhow, my philosophy is PRAISE for a job well done, ENCOURAGEMENT for what they are afraid to do, and a SOFT HEART and support when they fail.

Good luck!!!!  Im sure she will do just fine........Wait until they are older to tell them to "Cowboy UP!"
 

genes

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I was like this too.....my parents were always saying I looked so "stressed" or even "panicked" in the showring.  It didn't help that my first couple of calves could have been quieter.  But then it also didn't help the most when I finally had quiet ones and they were the ones that broke my arms  ::)  (Hey stuff happens...but don't tell your daughter that part of my story).

So since she is ok with the heifer, but not the halter, maybe just ease her into it in steps.  First you control the halter, and she just walks along beside you, then when you stop, she sets the feet and scratches.  Next she can hold the halter at the same time as she sets up, but you hold the lead too.  Then she can walk while you also hold the lead.  Then you let it go for standing, and eventually for walking.  Let her practice as much as she can, but at the same time, avoid her leading at times you think the heifer might get spunky, like at feed time or coming back from the washracks.  That would probably be a blow to her confidence even if nothing really bad actually happens (even one little bounce can feel like a big one to a kid). 

The games sound like a great idea.....if you focus her on a task it can make her forget about what she was scared of.  Just make sure you aren't making them so hard it goes past her comfort zone.

And yes, pass on that pill Red gave you for hubby  :D
 

austin

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genes said:
I was like this too.....my parents were always saying I looked so "stressed" or even "panicked" in the showring.  It didn't help that my first couple of calves could have been quieter.  But then it also didn't help the most when I finally had quiet ones and they were the ones that broke my arms  ::)  (Hey stuff happens...but don't tell your daughter that part of my story).

So since she is ok with the heifer, but not the halter, maybe just ease her into it in steps.  First you control the halter, and she just walks along beside you, then when you stop, she sets the feet and scratches.  Next she can hold the halter at the same time as she sets up, but you hold the lead too.  Then she can walk while you also hold the lead.  Then you let it go for standing, and eventually for walking.  Let her practice as much as she can, but at the same time, avoid her leading at times you think the heifer might get spunky, like at feed time or coming back from the washracks.  That would probably be a blow to her confidence even if nothing really bad actually happens (even one little bounce can feel like a big one to a kid).   

The games sound like a great idea.....if you focus her on a task it can make her forget about what she was scared of.   Just make sure you aren't making them so hard it goes past her comfort zone.

And yes, pass on that pill Red gave you for hubby  :D
I like your style!  ;D
 

genes

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Thanks.  You might not like my style in the showring though...even when I got my confidence I just never had that extra presence to excel at showmanship.  That's why placing so well in my very last show ever was  one of my happiest moments ever in 4-H.    Justme, I have faith your daugher will come around even if it takes time...it sounds like she really loves working with the calf and that will probably be all the motivation she needs to try.
 

austin

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genes said:
Thanks.  You might not like my style in the showring though...even when I got my confidence I just never had that extra presence to excel at showmanship.  That's why placing so well in my very last show ever was  one of my happiest moments ever in 4-H.    Justme, I have faith your daugher will come around even if it takes time...it sounds like she really loves working with the calf and that will probably be all the motivation she needs to try.
Wow, that's wonderful!
 

justme

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Danielle update...babysteps but I think we made progress this weekend.  She loves to sit in the hayfeeder and pet her heifer.  So....I put the halters on them and told her (while sitting there) to pull her to her.  She was amazed how easily the heifer came when she pulled.  I bet she sat there for a good hour!  I was so proud of her I took her picture.  I'll share it with you all later!

Thank you for all your help and support.  As a mom, you hate to see your child struggle, ecspecially when she tells you she wants to do something. 
 

red

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(clapping) great job!

I think she'll come around. She just needs to bond w/ the heifer & enjoy her.She'll do just fine, just give her time.

Red
 

justme

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Here she is with her heifer Delilah. (clapping) (cow)
 

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DL

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just you! great! Love the picture.

How do you like the hay feeder (in the picture?)

how are the pony's eyes?

dl
 

justme

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Love this feeder...bought it way back when we lived in Ohio when we fed out holsteins.  Works nice for show heifers.  I think we bought it at the Ohio Beef Expo.  It is seriously heavy though lol

Pony eyes...waiting on vet.  No change.  here he is...dirty but not bad looking for over 25 years old.  And what a babysitter!
 

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