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Winning Ways With Cattle at the Show

02 Oct 2007

For more than 10 years, Wollert student Kellet McDonell has been showing horses on parade at various equestrian events round the state.

But for the first time ever, Kellet, 21, led a steer around the ring at the recent Royal Melbourne Show and took out first place in her class.

As a first-year student in the Diploma of Agriculture at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), Kellet has been nurturing an 18-month-old, 650 kg Charolais Cross with Red Angus Steer for the past few months at NMIT's 320-hectare property Yan Yean.

She broke him in for handling at the property and was responsible for feeding and nutrition morning and night.

Eight weeks before the show, the steer was moved to NMIT's Epping campus barn to accustom him to a more confined space in preparation for the show.

At Epping, Kellet practised leading him around about twice a week for several hours as well as brushing and clipping him.

At the Show, Kellet competed against 14 other students from various colleges and universities around Australia in the 21 years and above class.

Winning first place as led handler at her first effort with leading cattle was a great surprise, Kellet said.

'It was very exciting and I thought, Wow, I can do this! It was also a great sense of achievement for me,' Kellet said. ' There was also a sense of relief as I was quite nervous when I first walked into the ring.

'But it was fun and the hard work paid off.'

As the winner, Kellet had to lead the Steer - which she named Red Dog 'as something different' - for about 30 minutes in a ring where she had to stay alert and focus her sights on the judge of the competition.

'The judge was the key focus rather than the steer and he wasn't an easy steer either. But the most important thing is how the handler responds rather than the steer's behaviour.

'I was careful to stay aware of my role all the time and ensured I was holding the reins firmly. It was really a performance for me and I just tried to remember all the skills I had been taught at NMIT,' Kellet said.

She added confidence with the steer was also a big factor and there had to be a level of trust between her and the steer.

Kellet lives on a farming property Karool with her parents in Wollert and hopes to pursue a career on the land.

'I don't know exactly what I'll end up doing but I love the farming lifestyle and my diploma studies at NMIT are giving me the knowledge and skills to pursue a range of options.'


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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.