Finally an update. A lot has happened this year.
We held the National yard trials in Wagin WA, and the National Kelpie Trials in Kelleberrin a few days later. A busy time indeed, and it went very well. NKFTC results here.
National yard results here
It was great to see some Kelpies from the eastern states. It does give us a look at other bloodlines for future reference.
I was happy with the way my dogs worked at the trials, but the highlight for me was winning the Shield for the lady working the highest scoring dog. This was with Yarralonga Bella, quite unexpected as she had not been working well and it was her last trial before retirement. She will continue to do farm work however.
Jake is also heading for retirement from trialling. He will compete at a couple more three sheep trials this year and that will be it. Time to get some young ones going.
Ginger is hopefully ready to step up. He has been going through a difficult period. (arrogant male stage of life actually) but he seems to be settling now and starting to listen to me. He is a strong dog and fires up occasionally, so hopefully he will soon get that out of his system.
Ginger showing off.
Balto has been quite difficult as well. Being a strong heading dog he simply refuses to come off balance on the trial ground. This causes many problems. He is worse on really flighty sheep as he knows if he comes off the head the sheep may run. But he must learn to do it anyway, so he is getting some training to hopefully alleviate the problem. He has also been earning his keep and doing some farm work. He shows great enthusiasm for yard work but not a lot of finesse. It is really helping his confidence though, especially when facing down sheep at close quarters.
Balto, dealing with a stubborn ewe.
Balto and Caleb, working togother.
Just Otto and Kumbark Rocket are working well and Otto is getting some training. He was fairly soft early on and I actually stopped him working by applying too much pressure. Now though, he is coping well with the training and I am working on getting him off the sheep as he likes to work too close. Both dogs will naturally back sheep in the yard, which I am pleased about.
Otto enjoying the water.
Rocket is also quite soft so I am just letting her grow up a little more. Barru Zilla is a tough little thing, and although very strong eyed at the start she has freed up and is working well. She appears strong and is lovely and biddable, and responding well to training also. Binnaburra Cheeki gets a look at sheep occasionally but no hurry for her either. I am happy with her so far.
Cheeki annoying Zilla.
The most exciting event for the year was flying over east and attending the Supreme Championship trials in Warwick QLD. It was a bit daunting at first as I had a lot of organising to do, booking myself and Balto on the plane, sorting out what to pack, booking vans etc. Not to mention I had never flown that far before and hadn’t a clue what to do. But it all worked out and I had a great time. I was a little disappointed with Balto in the Supreme as he would not come off balance again but he went ok in his novice run and in reality I did not expect too much as he is quite inexperienced really.
It was like living on another planet at the trial. There were about 70 caravans, campers and tents on the ground, and we just talked dogs, watched dogs and ran dogs. We were sort of out of touch with the real world for 8 days.
It was tiring though on the last day. A 2 hour drive to Brisbane, a 5 hour flight and then a 3 hour drive home. I was near exhaustion by then, and battled to stay awake. Then of course it was back to the real world, sigh, but I have the bug and hope to do more travelling next year.
Results and photos here.
Some photos of the lovely scenery around Warwick.
On the farming front, we are once again well down on our annual rainfall. Paddock feed is not too bad but nothing like we would normally get during a spring flush. So we will probably be handfeeding much earlier than usual.
Also the threat to end the live export trade is a constant worry. Many people simply do not understand the real issues here. The sheep are well looked after on the boats, no worse than feed lots or people who keep their dogs locked in a small backyard all the time. Australia is working to improve conditions for the sheep in these other countries, if we dont send sheep they will find them elsewhere and Australia will have no influence then on how they are treated.
Plus many farmers rely on live export to survive. Farmers are battling now, this could be a nail in the coffin for many, quite literally. And if live export were to cease, many sheep would have to be shot, there then being no market for them. Does this help the sheep, I dont think so.
Off my soapbox for now.
Lambing went very well, and we achieved 107% overall, more than we expected. At the moment we are jetting all our sheep to protect them from blowflies, always a problem this time of the year.
Our next big job is shearing, coming up towards the end of the year. Always a good time to get some of the young dogs doing some real work instead of just training.
Two more trials left for the year, than our summer break, usually until about the middle of Feb next year. Not really enough time to train some more dogs but I can try anyway.
And some photos of my dogs at work and play.