Riders ready to compete

Stockman: The Coonamble Challenge Campdraft attracts the best riders and horses from across the country. Photo: Emma Boland Photography.
Stockman: The Coonamble Challenge Campdraft attracts the best riders and horses from across the country. Photo: Emma Boland Photography.

The best riders and horses from across the country will make their way to the small, rural town of Coonamble in NSW for the annual Coonamble Challenge Campdraft.

Held over three action-packed days, organsiers say the Coonamble Challenge Campdraft will be bigger and better this year.

It features a stockman’s challenge, full campdraft program plus a colt starting competition.

The event will draw competitors from all over eastern Australia and is a major event on the Australian Stockman’s Challenge Association calendar, being the only affiliated event held in NSW.

This is only the fourth year the event has run, but organisers are amazed at how big it has grown in a short space of time.

“We are very pleased with the program we have put together this year, so we know we will attract the best horses and riders from right across the country,” said committee president Andrew Shearer.

“While most people have seen a campdraft, many will have never seen a stockman’s challenge, or experienced colt starting, and so this is the year to come to Coonamble as a spectator – there is free gate entry all weekend.”

The Stockman’s Challenge is unique to Australia and consists of a dry section and a cattle work section.

The aim of the competition is to develop soft, confident horses that will go on to be strong competitors in other disciplines including campdrafting.

The dry section is similar to a reining pattern; consisting of circles, sliding stops, turns and flying changes performed at speed.

The cattle work section is similar in style to a campdraft but with more emphasis on the way the horse works than merely getting around the pegs and gate.

The action packed weekend will also see three of Australia’s finest horse trainers, Ron Wall, Leah Read and Matt Broome compete in a colt starting competition, which promises to be a great event to watch.

Colt starting was a concept developed in the USA, with trainers using their individual methods to gentle the horse, with the eventual aim to ride them after just a few short sessions.

They explain their methods to the audience while they are training.

The geldings donated to this competition have been kindly donated by Terry and Christine Hall, are all by the great sire Conman and will be auctioned at the conclusion of the competition.

The committee is also very lucky to be supported by local cattle donors which are integral in making the event a success.

“It’s great to showcase the quality of Coonamble’s cattle at our event, and we’d like to thank our very generous cattle donors,” Mr Shearer said.

“One thing is for certain – Coonamble Challenge and Campdraft promises to be a great event so clear your weekend and come along – we’d love to see you there.”

The event runs from Friday, March 16 to Sunday, March 18.

The program and order of events is available on the website www.coonamblechallenge.com