Dogs leap to fame at Newdegate Machinery Field Days
A pair of sheepdogs owned by a well-known local family had crowds enthralled at this year’s Newdegate Machinery Field Days dog jump competition, taking the top prize after soaring over a 2.13m fence.
On the opening day of Newdegate’s premier 48th annual event on Wednesday last week, Nina and Alfie leapt from a standing start to clear the hurdle and claim tied first-place honours in a field of three dogs.
Nina, an 18-month-old kelpie, and Alfie, a two-year-old border collie, both made the 2.13m height with no training.
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The feat was a shock to family patriarch Ashley McDonald, who said they were just shy of the Newdegate Machinery Field Days’ record of 2.3m set in 2014.
He entered the competition with Nina while family friend Tim Harris entered Alfie.
“We were amazed to watch. We have only ever had the dogs jumping on and off the back of the ute, but they just did it,” he said.
Nina belongs to his 22-year-old daughter Suzie, while Alfie belongs to his 24-year-old daughter Jessie.
The dogs are two of the “wolf pack” of four dogs at the McDonalds’ mixed farming enterprise at Lake Biddy, helping to oversee 1200 Merino and 400 crossbred sheep.
The McDonalds also crop about 5000ha. The dogs’ big win did not mean they could retire from work, with both back on the job the next day. “We were shearing during field days, so the dogs were a big help,” Mr McDonald said.
“They had their day out and then they were working the next day.
“Dogs are a valuable part of the farm and a big help.”
While bullocks and horses have long given way to tractors on farms, humble working dogs are still having their day.
On the Thursday, crowds gathered to watch a dog jumping demonstration with Dwight and Lisa Ness’ dog Bluey. The dog was cheered on by the couple’s young daughters Nikita and Kendra.
Alison Spencer coordinates the competition each year and holds the 2.3m record with her dog Bits. “People love to watch it. Everyone’s favourite dog is Red Dog, and there was a dog there doing demonstrations called Bluey,” she said.
“The Newdegate Primary School children really enjoyed watching the demonstrations.
“The dogs start at 1.2m and they go upwards of 1.7m so it makes a good show.”
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