Over the past four years, two 4-H’ers have bonded over weeks spent at the Johnson County fairgrounds with their goats.

Twelve-year-olds Grace Ison, a Center Grove Middle School North student, and Mallory Luse, who attends Franklin Community Middle School, both have families that own farmland where they raise their animals. The two met about four years ago when they began showing animals for 4-H.

Most people really don’t know how much work goes into showing animals at the fair, Ison said.

“People think you can just put a leash on them and walk them,” she said.

Getting animals into contest shape is more than feeding and watering them. They have to be trained to stand still and walk — and behave themselves at shows, said Ison, was about to walk her Toggenburg goat, Charlotte, into an arena for a goat show.

“Depending on the breed, you have to learn different ways to train and hold them,” she added.

Luse, who shows French Alpines goats, said she most enjoys learning about the animals and what they’re used for.

Mindy Ison also was on hand to support Grace on Monday. She said 4-H is a great learning experience — and a wonderful place for kids to make lifelong friends.

“She has made so many friends and has learned so much,” Mindy Ison said.

Kids also learn money management skills since they keep track of all expenses — feed, vet bills and other expenses — all in the hopes of making some money at the end of the summer.

Grace Ison bought Charlotte with money she’d made the previous summer in 4-H. She thinks she may profit about $50 this summer from her sale.

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Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at aherkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2712.