Preparing Belted Galloways for Show and Sale

Brian Blinson, North Carolina Cattleman’s Association
In March, 1998 Belted Galloway breeders Robert Flynn and Stewart Lucas of North Carolina hosted an excellent “A to Z Showmanship Clinic” at Fearrington Village near Pittsboro, NC. Presenter Brian Blinson demonstrated each step of the showmanship process and furnished participants with the checklist below. Flynn and Lucas had the entire presentation professionally filmed and VCR tapes of the clinic are available at $50, with proceeds from film sales earmarked toward support of Belted Galloway shows at Raleigh, NC and Perry, GA. Order the VCR tape from Mary McClellan, phone or Fax (205) 699-8938.

Preparing Belted Galloways for Show or Sale

When you exhibit animals at a show or sale, both your cattle and yourselves represent your prognun. Therefore, the animals should be of the highest quality you have to offer. It is also imperative that the animals be presented in a way that leaves a positive impression with those who view them. Your objective in exhibition of cattle should be to market your genetics to other breeders and put the entire Beef industry in a positive light.


The first step in a positive exhibition experience is selecting high quality animals that are appropriate for the event. Selection criteria should include structural correctness, adequate muscling, performance, disposition and eye appeal.


After selecting your show and sale animals, the work and fiin begins.


You will need to design a feeding program that will put your animals in optimum condition. Although your animals should be well maintained year-round, show animals usually require slightly more condition but should never be obese. A basic diet that provides adequate energy, protein, vitamins and minerals is recommended. Your local feed mill or form store can recommend a base feed that should fill the need. Additional ingredients are also useful to customize your ration to fit the needs of individual animals. These additional items may include corn, oats, a protein supplement, oil and beet pulp. Beet pulp is a feedstuff that can be very belpful in preparing cattle for shows. It not only helps to stimulate the appetite but also helps to maintain fill and enhance coat luster. (Beet pulp is fed damp and mixed in with the grain to provide a bulky, damp and dust free feed.) Roughage is critical to a ruminant diet. High quality hay should be provided for all beef animals. Water is also an important part of an animal’s diet. Clean fresh water should be provided at least twice a day when showing and free choice at home. Note: One should feed twice a day at constant times at least 10 hours apart. Halter Breaking: At the time of selection, one needs to begin the halter breaking process. To halter break a calf the most important thing to remember is that it needs to be a positive experience for both you and the animal. The first step in the process is to get the calf accustomed to you and its surroundings. This can be accomplished by spending time with the calf in close quarters while talking to her and scratching her. When you first put the halter on, spend time comforting the calf so that the halter will not be viewed as a hazard. After a few times on the halter, allow the animal to stand tied for a short period of time while you comb or brush. Never leave a calf unattended before he/she is halter broken. To train the animal to lead, it is often helpful to walk with the calf to water. This can mean walking behind the calf and pushing it along. This gives a reward for going someplace on halter. Eventually, he/she will reach a comfort level with the halter and will lead where and when you want.


Be patient, calves are like children, they have different personalities and will progress at different levels. Abuse will only slow the process.

Hair Preparation:

This process begins along with the halter breaking process. While proceeding through the steps of halter breaking, you should brush and comb the calf each time you work with them. This will not only give you a leg up on a good hair coat but usually speeds up the halter breaking as well. Required equipment for good hair: Proper Nutrition Rice Root Brush Water Elbow Grease (does not come in a jar)

Rinsing steps:

Cattle should be rinsed and brushed frequently in the weeks leading up to a show.
1. Wet animal thoroughly
2. Comb straight down
3. Brush straight down
4. Comb forward
5. Brush forward
6. Continue comb/brush procedure until the hair is in the desired position.
7. If you feel you must blow dry the calf, remember to blow the hair in the direction that you brushed the hair.
8. For best results, leave the hair a bit damp.


Washing cattle thoroughly to get the hide and hair clean is important. Once this is done however, do not wash excessively, as it will remove the bloom from the hair.
1. Wet animal thoroughly.
2. Scrub animal using a mild soap such as a lemon dishwashing detergent.
3. Scrub white points on an animal using soap containing bluing.
4. Rinse completely.
5. Dip using water containing an vinegar, conditioner and mild insecticide such as Repel-X
6. Use comb/brush method described above
7. For best results, brush dry in the sun at home to brighten white.


A light coat of alcohol applied to white hair after washing and then brushing dry in the sun will help to whiten the hair.


Clipping and blocking are procedures which require a great deal of practice. The day of the show is not the time to learn, but once you have mastered them, they will give you an edge. After the hair has been properly trained, blocking adds the finishing touch to accentuate the animal’s positive attributes.
Guard Hair: Using 3″ sheep shears or regular clippers turned upside down, slowly clip the guard hair.
Top Line: Block with shears to give the animal a level appearance.
Bottom Line: Should be blocked to give a neat, level appearance and accentuate the volume of the animal.
Tail: Should be sheared slick on the sides from about halfway up to the tail head. The tail head should be left with enough hair to blend into top line to create a square, level appearance to the rump.
Head: Should be trimmed to appear neat, youthful and to be concurrent with the style of the day.
Neck and shoulder: Most difficult part to clip. Should be clipped close and blended into the longer hair on the rib.


Cattle should be hauled in a clean, well-bedded trailer. Cattle should be unloaded, taken to tie out and given hay as soon as you arrive at the show grounds.


This is where your hard work pays off, so don’t stop now.

Stall Area:

Your stall area is the office and showroom of your business while your animals are on exhibit. Although elaborate displays are unnecessary, neatness of your area and cattle along with knowledge and courtesy are critical.
Bedding: Where allowed, mulch or well-packed shavings are preferred. These will allow for cushion as well as cleanness. The bed should be maintained properly throughout the course of the event and should be dressed each evening when cattle are taken to tie out.
Stall Ends: These will provide a way to designate your animals and provide for a neat display.
Fans: Should be used at all shows to move air over cattle and provide for cooling. Fans should be directed so that they do not conflict with others in the barn.
Signs: Farm signs should contain the farm name, owners name town and phone number and other pertinent information. Each animal should have a stall card that gives the name, sire, sire of dam, birth date and other pertinent information.
Staff: Everyone who comes through the area is a potential customer of your farm and the beef industry. Answer questions with courtesy and knowledge.
Cattle: Your cattle should be well presented at all times. Brush them out each time they stand up. This will help their appearance and improve their haircoat.

Tie Outs:

Tie outs are important as they give the animals a break from the concrete under their bedding and the stuffiness of the barn.
Tie outs should be well bedded with straw or mulch to keep cattle out of the mud. Tie outs a long distance from the barn are good, they allow for exercise, which the cattle need during a show. Before going to tie out, cattle should be fogged with a mixture of hot water and oil. They should then be brushed. This will help to add bloom to the hair.

Show Preparation:

If you have done a good job of training the hair, show prep is quite easy.
1. Wash the animal thoroughly when you arrive at the show, then rinse and wash white from then on.
2. Wash dirty spots and white on show day then brush/comb and blow dry.
3. Foam the calf with mousse and then brush it in.
4. Bone the legs using a light comb-able adhesive.
5. Prepare tail head and top line with the same adhesive.
6. Clip legs, tail head and top line after applying adhesive to give a finished look.

Show Ring:

This is where you have a chance to compete head to head and let your work pay off.
1. Know what class you are in and be on time.
2. Know the age of the animal and any breeding information.
3. Always hold the head up.
4. Be aware of the judge.
5. Keep the feet properly set but do not pick at them.
6. Gently scratch the animal on the belly but do not saw them in two.
7. Do not quit showing until you leave the ring, you never know who might be watching.
8. Listen closely to the judge’s comments.
9. Never blow up at a placing, you might see the judge again.

After Show:

Break down any adhesive immediately and rinse them out. Work the hair when you return to the stall, your customers are still in the building.

Items Needed for Show
Show Box
Grooming Supplies
Show Foam
Tail Ties
Scotch Combs
Rice Root
Clipper Lube
Show Sticks
Show Halters
Show Harness
Tail Comb
Soft Brush
Medical Supplies
Feed & Supplies
Water buckets
Feed Pans
Beet Pulp
Other Stall Ends
Pitch Fork
Stall Cards
Business Cards
Hand Truck
Blocking Chute
Wash Supplies
Repel X
Wash Bucket
Dip Bucket
Tool Box
Wire Cutters
Adjustable Wrench
Truck Supplies
Spare Tires
Lug Wrench
Motor Oil
Hotel Confirmation
Registration Papers
Health Papers