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.’’
One person is dead after a collision between a car and a truck on the Murray Valley Highway and Waaia Bearii Rd. Traffic is being diverted around the scene.
The first preliminary final on Saturday saw the Tungamah seniors start their campaign against Waaia at the Rennie Recreation Reserve.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
CLAIRE Murphy came home the other day.
BE LIKE Barry — the video by Campaspe Shire to educate children about recycling — was launched at St Mary’s Primary School on Monday.
WYUNA’s Memorial Hall was filled with over 80 people for the recent launch of the Wyuna History Group’s third book by Wyuna History Group researcher Noel Thompson – Wyuna Honour Roll 1914-1918.
Avenel win over Nagambie to take top spot
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
WINE is meant to be enjoyed with good food and good friends.
The preparations for the 10th Cobram Swap Meet have been given a boost with a brand new line marker. The Rotary Club of Cobram, which organise the swap meet, applied for a volunteer grant from the Federal Government, from which it received $4600.
Deni’s Debutante Ball gurus Vicki Ackers and Deb O’Connor love working with youth.
Tuesday, August 16
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