Mick Hudson has won his fair share of major three-sheep trials with his border collies, but he won't stop until he wins with a kelpie.
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The Mogriguy farmer made a promise to his late mate Bill Robinson before Bill died in 2022, that he would win a major trial with a kelpie one day - and now he's "bound" to his word.
Mick was born and raised on a 1000-acre station between Cobar and Wilcannia where his family ran "big numbers of livestock".
His father and grandfather had working dogs and competed in dog trials and Mick had his own dogs from a young age.
"I actually ran second in the Supreme Australian Championship at 19," Mick told the Daily Liberal.
"And then I gave it away until I was 36 because I had to make a living, went shearing for years and bought my own farms, and I came back good at the age of 36 because I always wanted to go and compete with my dogs - because it was a family sort of thing."
Mick recently won the open trials at Dubbo and Morongla with his dog MGH Rabbit. He also won the novice section at Geurie with Rabbit's daughter, MGH Cleo.
A dab hand at trailling, Mick has won numerous Australian and NSW championships.
In his spare time, he runs three farms across the central west where he runs dorper sheep, angus cattle and goats.
Mick is well-known in the industry for his sheep dog trial awards and also for helping farmers train their own dogs. He has provided private training sessions in the past and has trained dog owners from all around the world via video.
"Most farmers didn't really devote the time to train [their dogs], they just took them to the paddock and hoped they would learn on the job, whereas we've refined that a bit and we teach people to educate dogs in a controlled environment before they take on mustering," he said.
Mick said creating a bond with the dog was imperative to being able to gain control in the yard.
"The common mistakes [are] not bonding with their dog before they start training it. You've really got to have a good bond, you've got to have a good recall," he said.
Another important thing for a farmer to know, is livestock and their habits.
"You've got to be able to understand what moves the livestock are going to make. You've got to understand when they're upset or when they're happy or which direction they might be going to go in next. You've basically got to be in front of the livestock," he said.
Mick's dogs have been bred for generations to improve their working nature - so genetics are equally as important.
"Genetics of my dogs makes them good, but then also ... my ability to train them to a high standard also helps them as well," he said.
Mick has always competed in trials with border collies, but he also owns kelpies, and is on the hunt for one he thinks could win a major trial - for Bill.
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Bill was the author of a book called Origins of the Australian Kelpie - Exposing the Myths and Fabrications of the Past. He was "a mad kelpie fan", Mick said.
Is Mick confident he can keep his promise to Bill?
"Oh, I'm definitely gonna do it because I promised me mate. But I've just got to find the right dog," Mick said.
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