SIMON McGee is hopeful his new kelpie, Stockmans Lucy, will give him a chance to win his first Tasmanian Yard Dog Association championship at the Longford Show on Saturday, October 15.
The livestock manager at Formosa farm, Cressy, won’t make it to tomorrow’s Royal Launceston Show at Quercus Park, Carrick, due to lambing, but he’s looking forward to the second half of the yard dog season leading up to the State Championships at Connorville in December.
Simon has taken his older dogs Storm, 7, and Bundy, 12, through to Open and Improver levels respectively, and together they’ve won and placed many times in trials over more than a decade.
“I’m always hopeful of winning the Championship prize,” Simon said.
“But really it’s just a personal test for me and my dogs and a whole lot of fun.” Yard dog trials simulate what working dogs normally do in the sheep yards on a farm – cutting them out of a flock, working them through obstacles such, on to a trailer and in and out of pens.
They differ from sheep dog trails where it’s the paddock work that’s replicated.
“I’ve always had kelpies as a good all-rounder on the farm and they truly are amazing animals,” Simon said.
“They can do what no man can. I’ve watched them swim a strong-flowing river and bring cattle back from the other side, rescue stock stranded in the middle of flood water in a paddock and once, when I was working at Connorville, the three dogs I had with me found cows in thick bush where I couldn’t get with the quad bike.
I didn’t know where they were but I kept the bike going and drove around to the far side and they bought the cattle to the sound of the bike.”
Lucy has only been with Simon for about eight weeks but already the bond is strong.
Bred by Michael Williams at Fingal, she has already proved she can handle the tough stuff, according to Simon.
“Whether we place or not at Longford Show I know I’ve got a good one here and let’s face it, they’re your mate and you couldn’t do you job without them so it’s great to be able to show off what they can do at the agricultural shows.”
Upcoming yard dog trials: Launceston Show, Saturday, October 8.
Longford Show, Saturday, October 15, Scottsdale Show, Saturday, November 12.