SPECIAL WORKING DOGS HELP FARMER GAIN INDEPENDENCE, MUSTER CATTLE AGAIN AFTER SPINAL INJURY
Source: ABC News (Extract)
Posted: July 27, 2022
In 2020, Genine Jackson fell off her horse, crushed three vertebrae, and wasn’t sure if she’d be able to muster cattle again.
“Unfortunately I had a rough accident and it changed my path,” she says.
“I hopped on him, something gave him a bit of a fright and unfortunately I came off … my foot got hung up on the stirrup and I landed wrong and just crunched my back.
“I couldn’t ride a horse or ride a motorbike like I used to, to help my husband muster and work on the property.”
Ms Jackson spent three months in a back brace. “I’m not a person who stays inside the house very much. I was lucky I had my dogs.”
Ms Jackson says her working dogs helped her recover and regain her independence after her accident.
“I went to a working dog clinic and was lucky to be gifted an experienced dog,” she says.
“At that stage, I was still in my back brace and I wasn’t able to walk very well or fast.”
Ms Jackson says it has changed the way she works her cattle on her property at Bodalla Station, west of Charters Towers.
“The dogs and I go on a buggy now,” she says. “There are limitations now.
“I’ll drive out to whatever paddock we’re mustering in and the dogs will go out and find the cattle in the paddock and the dogs and I help to bring the cattle back to the yards.
“Once we’re in the yards the dogs and I will yard up the cattle.
“We’re on basalt country, so I can’t bounce the buggy over a lot of that [land], so being able to send my dogs out there is really awesome to be able to do.”
They are now one of 12 teams from across Australia and New Zealand competing to win the title of “hardest working team” in the 2022 Cobber Challenge Relay.
The team was named in honour of Ms Jackson’s dog, Turbo, who died earlier this year.
“Turbo was a pretty special dog,” she says.
“He was my first working dog. He helped me train a few of my newer dogs including my pup, Whiskey.
“He was a grand old boy.
“I pretty much retired him a year ago but he still came out in the buggy with me, we called him ‘the foreman’ so he could keep an eye out on the other dogs.”
Team Turbo includes two kelpies and one collie — Whiskey, Buck and Nick.
From August 22 to September 11, the three dogs will take turns wearing a GPS tracking collar to measure how far and how fast the muster dogs run as part of the relay.
“I don’t know how we’re going to go because I’m a little soft on my dogs,” Ms Jackson says.
“One of my dogs sleeps in my bedroom.”
The winning team will be announced in September, but Ms Jackson says nothing will change how she works her dogs during the challenge.
“I love every second I get to spend with them,” she says.
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