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.’’
A fire truck has lost two of its back wheels on the Goulburn Valley Highway
The Ovens & Murray qualifying final between Yarrawonga and Lavington on Saturday left spectators talking more about the standard of umpiring than the two competing teams.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
Police Association slams secret roster trial.
District hotels and businesses may change rosters with penalty rates for casual employees on Sundays set to be cut.
Students visit local businesses for reading lessons
Bottle thrown at Jason Cole in bitter aftermath to Seymour-Benalla game on Saturday.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after crashing into a Jerilderie home yesterday morning.
Chef and co-owner of Heathcote’s Willow Room Brent Loam is thrilled with the listing in the 2015 Age Good Food Guide
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
TRUCKtalk magazine all the rage with local truck drivers.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
An unknown sum of money was stolen from Benalla Golf Club this morning after thieves broke into its gaming room.
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