Kelpies & Country Girls Hit the Road- Part 1

Host: Glenforrie Station

Courtney touched on our road trip earlier in the year in her blog but I wanted to expand on a few of my favourite highlights.  Being 2 young women on the road in a cruiser ute with a trailer load of dogs (only 20…) heading across the country, we did draw a bit of attention. We were humbled to receive numerous offers of places to stay & spell the dogs in every state, the generosity of people following our trip was incredible & very much appreciated. Between staying with friends & finding ‘out of the way’ tracks to roll our swags near, we were rarely short on somewhere to camp & small town caravan parks always had a corner for us.

Photo 1 copyPacked up & ready to hit the road

Photo 16 copyFinding a good spot for the dogs to have a break

One such friend we had the pleasure of staying overnight with was Scott & Trish Amon who’s incredible Barru dogs left us extremely impressed.  Showing great temperament, clever work & plenty of natural instinct, these beautiful dogs epitomised everything we look for in our kelpies.  Thanks to Scott & Trish for the chance to visit & for the tour of your lovely property.

Photo 2 copyI fell a little in love with these Barru Dogs

Our first week on the road took us across the Nullabor via Esperance to Keith where we spent a week with Neil & Helen McDonald.  An impromtu dog day was held at Sherwood & it was great to finally meet many people whom we knew in passing but not in person. From there we headed down into the Gippsland where we were able to help Neil & a few others educate weaners for a Meat and Livestock Australia trial.  We also had the chance to attend a Greg Prince school where we learnt some great dog training techniques from one the the best.  Our time in the Gippsland wrapped up with a Neil McDonald school before we headed north on the next leg of our trip.

Photo 3 copySome of the weaner breakers

Photo 4 copyPeter Barr & Vinny O’loughlin’s dogs blocking the lead on some fresh cattle

Photo 18 copyHolding cattle up

We didn’t make it far before we pulled into Margareta Osborn’s driveway. After settling the dogs for the night & crossing our fingers they wouldn’t start up an echo in the shed, we sat down to our first home cooked meal in weeks & it was to die for; hard to beat a lamb roast. After a wonderful night near a roaring fire for these 2 shivering WA girls, we had a quick tour of their property in the morning before we once again hit the road, with a lasting friendship firmly established.

Photo 5 copyHad a wonderful visit with the very talented writer, who sent us up the road with a delicious chocolate cake

From there we bee-lined it up to Miles in Qld, after crossing over the mountains through Hotham with the promise of snow. We did find some (albeit not the snow banks we had envisioned) & although the dogs weren’t real impressed at the temperature drop, it was definitely worth the drive.

Photo 17 copySnow ball

Photo 21 copyHotham scenery

In Miles, we attended a Faansie Bassan Dog Training Clinic & though we were the only ones there with kelpies, we made up for it in numbers. It was a great school & we added some more handy tips & techniques to our training repertoire. One of the highlights of these few days for me was staying with Penny O’Neill who hosted the clinic & seeing her beautiful Maremma’s in action. These dogs are incredible to watch protecting their select mobs & interacted with us like we were old friends. I left Penny’s place with the realisation that a couple of Maremma’s could be just what we need in our weaner paddocks for added protection against wild dogs & this could definitely be on the cards for our property in the near future.

Photo 19 copyThe Maremma’s guarding their sheep

Photo 6 copyCourt finding her photo subjects a little too close for the shot

After the Faansie clinic, we had a week to kill before heading over to Rockhampton for Beef week.  Here Courtney & I parted dogs & ways for a while. She headed over to stay with a friend in Biloela while I headed back south to family friends near Lightning Ridge. After numerous years in drought with no relief in sight, it was heart breaking to see the country so ravaged & the ongoing struggle to keep the remaining few stock in good health. But the strength, resilience & compassion of the people still working the land & doing everything they could to pull through until the drought breaks was incredibly inspiring. I tagged along on feed runs, shovelling cotton seed & trailing grain, doing anything I could to help lighten the load for a few days. Thanks to Rob & Therese, Robbie & Hannah Turnbull for my ‘home away from home’, it was one of my favourite weeks of the trip.

Photo 7 copy

Photo 8 copyFeeding cotton seed to the remaining sheep in drought stricken Lightening Ridge

Tune in tomorrow for part two of our trip!