DENTON — Elizabeth Ross of Caroline County and Emma Lehman of Dorchester County gave unfor-goat-able performances with their goats during the Meat Goat Show at the Caroline-Dorchester County Fair on Thursday, Aug. 8.
The two 4-H’ers, who competed in the senior and intermediate classes respectively, have been working with their goats, Violet and Lorali, since the animals were kids.
Ross, a senior exhibitor, said she’s been showing goats for three years, two of which she’s spent with Violet.
The pair placed third in their first show, which Ross attributed to a natural cohesion between her and Violet’s personalities. She said her favorite thing about showmanship is getting to show off her partnership with her goat.
“[Violet] is my girl,” Ross said. “I worked with her every day for three hours a day all summer long. She’s my favorite animal. I don’t use anybody else.”
She said spending that extensive time with her goat is why their bond is so great.
Ross and Violet already have shown in seven fairs this year, and they’re looking forward to Queen Anne’s County Fair next week.
After she finishes college, she said, she plans to own a farm where she can breed her own goats and continue doing what she loves.
Lehman, who is a younger exhibitor than Ross, echoed the same passionate sentiments toward goat showing.
Lehman said she started showing four years ago after being introduced to it through a friend, and she hasn’t looked back since.
She said she’s been working with her 18-month-old goat, Lorali, since January 2018.
The key to their exceptional human-goat relationship, she said, is Nilla Wafers.
Lorali has a sweet tooth, but Lehman said that’s fine because it works for them. Those cookies are her most powerful training tool, she said.
That bonding strategy probably doesn’t help with separation anxiety, though, she said. Lorali cries every time Lehman leaves her side and always follows her off-leash when they’re together, she said.
Lehman and Lorali earned second place in open and first in 4-H during their first show of the day.
Ross offered a word of advice to novice exhibitors, saying goat showmen and women must have a certain resilience.
“Even when you get frustrated and your animal’s bucking, don’t stop fighting for it until it’s over. Keep practicing,” she said.
Roughly 30 exhibitors from around the Shore, including Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Cecil and Delaware, competed from novice to senior class in this year’s Meat Goat Show.