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.’’
Little butterflies, and marvellous munchkins will flutter to the stage at Shepparton’s Eastbank Centre tonight and tomorrow for the Goulburn Valley Academy of Ballet concert.
The Yarrawonga Mulwala Cricket Club has hosted the first ever ACA Masters contest at the Stan Hargreaves Oval in Yarrawonga.
There was a good turnout for Wednesday’s Remembrance Day service in Tatura, which saw a number of wreaths laid at the War Memorial, and the presentation to Brad Corken, of the Tatura RSL Spirit Award 2015, by president Robert Mathieson.
THE Echuca and District Netball Association, reigning 17 and Under regional state league champions, will be required to adapt to a new age category for next year’s competition.
A GROUP of Rochester Secondary College students visited Bendigo last week to donate blood for the first time.
Bowls Club hosts 49th Victorian Country Masters Pairs
The Oriential Weatherloach has infested the Goulburn River.
The largest ever Strawberry Fields crowd turned out to enjoy the event on the Murray River at Tocumwal at the weekend.
AFTER the hottest October in Victoria since records began in the 1850s, it will come as little surprise that rainfall across the district was unusually low.
No, it won’t be Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer creating the Christmas lighting in Cobram this year, it will be Cobram couple, Ron and Kath Renfrew,
‘Peppinella’ development bigger than first planned
Watch and Act issued for Corowa and Wahgunyah near Rutherglen, urging people to leave now as conditions may worsen.
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