Glad to find this thread. I have just been considering trying a show or two. I will look into ARBA in the next few day. I know nothing about showing and honestly can't even pose my rabbits very well. But, I have to start somewhere.
One of the best ways to learn a lot very quickly is to go to shows and listen to the judges, whether or not you enter any rabbits. In fact, the first time I'd suggest not taking rabbits, or at least not more than one. Especially if it's a double or triple show, the bustle of getting rabbits where they need to be can result in the whole experience feeling like a blur.
What are some things you wish you would have know in your first show days? What would be your advice to a total newbie for showing? I appreciate your input.
There was a different thread a while back that covered a lot of this:
So I am going to a rabbit show but not bringing any rabbits, how does that work and do I have to pay to get in? Do I have to wait in the line for people signing for their rabbits?
It's been a really long time since my first show... that's back in the mists of memory... but here are some of the things I tell the youth who are just starting out.
1) It's supposed to be fun! You probably won't win Best in Show at your first show (in fact it may not happen for several years or more, maybe not ever), so don't get disheartened if your rabbit doesn't do well. Just go with an open mind and open ears and try to soak up what you see and hear. Bring your SOP and refer to it after you've watched the judging of a particular breed. You'll learn a ton!
2) Get to the show early enough to calmly unload your rabbit(s) and find a place to set up your things. Many show venues don't have tables or chairs, so bringing a folding chair along can make your day a lot more comfortable. Other things to bring: water (for you and the rabbits); first aid kit (also for you and the rabbits); nail clippers, wet wipes and paper towels...because a rabbit with white anywhere on its body will
find a way to soil it before judging...! Or a rabbit will stick his nose next door and get nipped for the effort, or a buck will spray and make himself sticky...anyway, you get the idea.
3) Walk around and talk to exhibitors who are sitting with their rabbits waiting for their breed to be called. Many (most?) rabbit people love to talk about their rabbits and help a newcomer to showing. Don't be offended if they have to cut the conversation short to run their rabbits to the table. There are all types of folks, of course, so if one isn't friendly, just shake the dust from your feet and move on...
4) Generally, don't ask the judge questions while he/she is judging. That tends to make the show drag on longer than everyone will enjoy. Most judges will give comments as they go; take notes, and if you have questions, ask them during the lunch break, or after the show is done. DEFINITELY DON'T INDICATE WHICH RABBIT IS YOURS (OR ANYONE ELSE'S). Judges try hard to be objective, so it's not good to make that job harder.
4) Keep it in mind that judges are human and all have unique perspectives, and a lot of what's covered in the SOP (Standard of Perfection) requires subjective judgments. Your rabbit may win on one table and be disqualified on another. Again, don't let it get you down. The judge is supposed to judge the rabbit as it is on that day, not its potential, so a very promising rabbit that's about to go into a molt, or is not doing well with the stress of the show experience, can do poorly on any particular day.
5) Try to have a wire carrier that will keep your rabbit out of its own waste. Some show venues ask that you not bring hay, straw or shavings into the showroom. I use doggy training pads in the bottom of my carriers. They eliminate the mess of shavings or hay, and since they are waterproof, they actually make cleaning the carriers so
much easier - just lift them out and you're done.