My first contact with Ridgebacks took place in the late-sixties when I competed against a Ridgeback bitch in an obedience competition. I was struck by her unique style and character, this impression stayed with me from then on. After marrying and giving up work I was able to get my first Ridgeback and was lucky enough to locate (Tara) who joined Ean and myself in 1981. Shortly after, Daniel our first son, arrived. Two years later Tara had a litter and (Lela) joined our family followed by our second son Charles. Our kennel name came from Lela's registered name of Imbali Balela meaning "Little face shining of the sun".
Ean and I have always believed that too many Ridgebacks have been bred for the wrong reasons and have endeavoured to be very selective when considering our own breeding programme. Our breeding programme was, and is, intended to make sure that the wonderful temperament that had was carried forward and so we only breed to continue our line. This has meant the in the 20+ years we have had Ridgebacks we have only bred seven litters. We believe in quality NOT quantity.
We currently have five Ridgebacks having recently lost our rescue bitch, all of our own breeding, four of whom live with us and one who lives with another family. The last few years have been hard as we lost our lovely dog Kip who was the top Ridgeback for 2001 and his dam, (Khala), was top Brood Bitch for 2002. We do not have kennels and all our dogs live in the house as part of the family.
Both Ean and I are Founder Members of the Southern Rhodesian Ridgeback Association and I have been a serving Committee member since 1991. As well as my usual committee duties I am Show Secretary and serve on the Judges Sub-committee. I am extremely active with all matters regarding Ridgebacks in the UK.
Zena who turned 11 this year, is along with Kip an International Champion having won in Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal, they were, at the time, the most travelled Ridgebacks in the UK. There are only 3 INT CHs in the UK, two of them are ours. Kip and Zena are out of .
I have recently been working on a new project that was inspired by a mixture of my Rescue work and from breeding the occasional litter, it is called "The Imbali Way Of Raising And Training Your Ridgeback Puppy". This booklet started off as puppy notes for my new owners but has developed into a very comprehensive guide to raising a puppy. The booklet is now 70 pages long and is a product of the many questions I have been asked by Ridgeback owners both old and new.
Scotty Stewart of the Rhodesian Ridgeback International Foundation presented a unique statue "The Leo Trophy" to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed Liaison in the UK. This is then presented to individuals for their outstanding contribution to Rhodesian Ridgebacks. In 2003 I was very honoured to receive this award for my work for rescue.
If you are interested in finding out more about this lovely breed or possibly obtaining a puppy then please telephone or e-mail me.