Tips for 4-H Showmanship in Rabbits
This is a picture of Group Showmanship for 4-H
at the State Fair level in California quite some
years ago. My daughter Heather is the one in
the middle. (She was about 11 years old in
you're in 4-H and you want to show rabbits, you'll
need to perform several steps to get a good rating
from the judge for showmanship. Here's a quick summary
of what you need to do, along with some tips for
helping your score.
the rabbit to the table, using a proper hold. (Put
your right hand under the rabbit's chest and
put your left hand under the rump. The rabbit
should be facing you. Once you've lifted the
rabbit, move his head under your left arm and
lay your right hand on the rabbit's back.) When
approaching the table where the judge is, turn
slowly in each direction to show the judge that
you are holding the rabbit properly.
the rabbit. Place the rabbit on the table,
with his head facing forward and his tattooed
ear towards the judge.
the ears, eyes, and tattoo. After checking
the tattooed ear, I recommend checking the eye
on the tatooed side. Turn the rabbit and check
the other ear and the other eye before moving
on to step 4.
the teeth. Ensure that the rabbit is comfortable
but also make sure that the judge can see what
you are doing. The judge should see the teeth
so that he or she can see that they are in proper
the nose and front paws. Again make sure
that the judge can see and that the rabbit is
in a comfortable position.
the sex. Roll the rabbit on his back to do
the legs and nails. I like to check the straightness
of the rabbit's front legs just before I check
the back legs. I do this while the rabbit is
on his back, which makes it easier on you and
the hocks. When checking the hocks, you are
also checking for thin fur padding and bare spots
as well as sore hocks.
the tail. Look for breaks in the tail. Also
check that the length of the tail is in proper
balance compared to its size.
the chest and abdomen. When checking for
abcesses, be sure to check under the chin and
around the neck also because a good place for
an abcess is in one of scent glands under the
the fur. You can also blow into the fur to
check for undercolor or ring definition. I also
blow into the fur just behind the ears to check
for fur mites.
the steps. When you have finished your final
pose, which should be with the rabbit's tattooed
ear facing the judge, then you can repeat all
the areas and items that you checked. This way
the judge will know that you did check those
areas and just in case the judge forgot, you
are giving him or her a reminder of everything
that you checked for.
the judge if he or she has questions. After
you have completed your routine, take a step
back with your rabbit still posed and ask the
judge if he or she has any questions for you.
the rabbit to his carrier. After the judge
is done asking you questions and excuses you,
once again show the judge that you have a proper
hold on your rabbit and return your rabbit to
the carrier and lock the carrier.
are a few tips regarding showmanship:
If you'd like to see illustrations of the step by step
process involved in a showmanship competition, visit
page on Rochelle Cooley's Web site.
removing your rabbit from its carrier, be sure
to lock the carrier. If you don't lock it, you
will be docked points.
to the judge and let him or her know exactly what
it is that you are doing with the rabbit when you're
out a rabbit that is going to allow you to work
with him on a regular basis, because in order to
become good at showmanship, you must practice!
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