Last year, Riley set a world record – 2.91metres – at the Casterton Kelpie Festival in Victoria.
In February, Ms O’Callaghan received a call from festival organisers who wanted to know if Riley would be competing.
“He’d already won the championship twice in a row,” she said. “They told me if he won a third time he’d no longer be eligible for competition, and could only appear as an exhibitor instead.
“As a trade-off they said they were creating a Kelpie Hall of Fame, and that if Riley won again he’d be inducted into it.”
On June 7, Riley tied at first place with another dog, Rosie – they both jumped 2.625metres – and thus was officially banned from competing there again.
But Ms O’Callaghan was not happy about Riley’s forced retirement.
“He should be allowed to keep on doing what he loves, until another dog comes along and takes the crown. In any sport there’s going to be a younger, fitter competitor coming up in the ranks … every dog has his day,” she said.
Shirley Foster, of the festival committee, said the decision to retire Riley was “all about keeping the event fresh”. She said the Casterton Kelpie Association was considering holding an event for the best jumpers in the country and Riley could compete in that.