KI shearers get a lesson in fitness, skills | PHOTOS

Yoga and a balanced diet are not things necessarily associated with a tough country shearer. 

But one shearing team on Kangaroo Island has spent a week learning all about keeping fit, improving diet and being better shearers.

It's all thanks to the innovative Shear Easy program supported by the Australian Wool Innovation.

AWI is a not-for-profit, woolgrower-owned company that invests in research, development and innovation.

Shear Easy was contracted by AWI to come to Kangaroo Island and spend a week training Stuey Sandilands' shearing team at Parndana.

The three-man instructing team consists of fitness instructor Dylan Fowler and two gun shearing instructors, Paul "The Pope" Hicks and Stacey Tehuia, a multiple world record holder.

Fowler said each day of the five-day course started with fitness and stretching, while improving nutrition was also part of the lesson.

The morning was spent in the Stuey's gym at Parndana or on the beach at Stokes Bay learning about fitness and nutrition.

"We did running on the beach followed by a little bit of yoga and stretching and then jumped into the ocean before having a bit of brekkie," he said.

Then the afternoons were spent in the shearing shed with the program's two gun shearers learning about shearing technique.

"It's all about minimising injuries and looking after the body a little better," he said. "They have been loving it even though they are a bit sore and tender after the fitness training. But it gets a little better each day and they all seem to be taking it on board."

KI woolgrower Andrew "Aphid" Heinrich hosted the shearing team at his Ella Matta property at Stokes Bay during their week of training.

"It's a terrific use of AWI and woolgrowers' money," Heinrich said. "In addition to a healthier lifestyle, if they can shear 10 more a day, then that's great for the shearer and the farmer."

He said more efficient shearing teams would become even more important with the strong wool price and hopefully improving weather conditions.

"The national flock will bounce back after being at the lowest numbers since the 1900s," he said. "We are going to need more sheep to be shorn and if we can get our shearers to shear more sheep, then that's great."

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