Tegan Eagle, 21, Croydon, Vic
‘Jump Bailey!’ I cried out. Watching my boy ace the high jump, I felt a swell of pride. But I wasn’t a mum at an athletics carnival – I was at a kelpie muster with my pooch!
Bailey showed a talent for jumping when we went to the Casterton Kelpie Muster a year ago, along with my partner Tony, 24. The competition sees hounds pitch their talents against each other in a 50-metre dash, high jump and hill climb.
At 28 kilos, Bailey is around seven kilos heavier than your average kelpie. But what he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in enthusiasm. At the 2015 muster, we were shocked when Bailey cleared 2.55 metres in the high jump. Rather than leaping over a pole like the human sport, it involves dogs scrambling up a vertical wall made of wooden planks. Incredibly, Bailey trotted away with first prize! So this year we decided to go to the muster again.
Our boy ran away with the first prize in the sprint, running 50 metres in just 5.38 seconds. Then came the high jump. Bailey got really excited as soon as he saw the high wooden fence. Watching the other dogs jump, he barked with anticipation. When it was his turn, Tony and I stood at either end to encourage him. Despite his large frame, Bailey made the 1.5 metre jump look like a breeze!
Each round they’d heighten the fence with another wooden board. Before long it was just Bailey and one other dog left in the running. Then, the competition organiser announced that the last jump – 2.915 metres – would break the world record.
After the other dog didn’t manage the jump, it was Bailey’s turn to prove himself. Astoundingly, our boy scrabbled up and cleared the fence. Bailey was a world record breaker!
We pocketed $600 in prize money for his talents, but the joy on Bailey’s face is the best reward of all. Our doggy’s hidden talent proves that anything is paw-sible!
Originally published in that's life! Issue 32, 2016.