Peter Hodge says the Arabic word ‘hooshta’, and suddenly four camels drop to their knees.RHIANNON GAVALAKIS April 24, 2014 3:01am
Peter Hodge says the Arabic word ‘hooshta’, and suddenly four camels drop to their knees.
Training camels takes time and patience, and Mr Hodge has both.
He said camels were affectionate, likening them to ‘‘eight feet tall, 800
Instead of a kennel, he has a special shed on his property near Dookie to shelter his prized 14-camel herd during wet weather.
Mr Hodge has found there is nothing sadder than a wet camel.
The seasoned camel trainer said the desert animals looked forlorn when they were wet, because they were supposed to be dry.
‘‘They handle the Goulburn Valley climate okay, because there isn’t too much rain,’’ he said.
‘‘In the desert they have short hair, but here they grow hair up to three inches longer during winter.’’
The camels are not simply there to look at; Mr Hodge hires them out for fun rides, festivals and exhibitions, and has also dabbled in camel racing.
‘‘I was a jockey at the start, until I realised they run a lot faster with smaller girls riding them,’’ he said.
His camel Roman Ruma Ruma won the prized Alice Springs Cup last July.
Mr Hodge will share his three decades of experience with camels at a training seminar this weekend.
‘‘There are quite a lot of camels sold at the Echuca Horse Sales, and people ring up all the time asking what to feed them and how to drench them,’’ he said.
‘‘People buy them and they don’t know how to look after them.
‘‘They die because they come from the desert to a different climate here with different grass — you need to know how to look after them.’’
He said they were prone to a condition known as staggers, which makes them appear drunk — and it was important to have knowledge of such ailments.
They mainly eat lucerne, but were also given salt blocks to mimic their diet in the desert.
Mr Hodge said horse educating techniques were used to train camels, such as long reining and voice commands.
‘‘Camels are really intelligent, they learn really quickly but then they decide when they are going to do it,’’ he said.
‘‘There is a fair bit of coaxing and conning with them.
‘‘Some people will tell you they are smarter than horses, especially camel people.’’
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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