Peter Connor in action.
Peter Connor in action. Daily Examiner

Ready for campdrafting's best

BIG River Campdraft club member Peter Connor and his horse Yothu Yindi will compete in the Australian Bushman's Campdraft and Rodeo Association Championships to be held at Hawthorne Park South Grafton from Thursday.

Campdrafting has been described as 'adrenalin on horseback', but for Connor it's more than that - it's a family affair and a chance to meet up with friends who all share a special interest.

“You meet so many lovely people and the whole family can become involved,” he said.

“My wife and daughter both compete; in fact my daughter has been travelling around the campdraft circuit with me since she was four years old.”

So what makes a good campdraft horse?

“Having a quarter horse-stock horse cross is a good start. Stock horses are renowned for their speed and agility and combined with the quiet temperament and cow sense of a quarter horse, you have an ideal horse to compete in campdrafting,” Connor said.

Connor has entered in both the novice and open events this week and expects to compete in nine runs against some of the best campdrafters in NSW and southern Queensland.“Both events will be very competitive - there are lot of good horsemen in the area,” he said.

“There could be up to 300 competitors in the novice and 200 in the open event.”

Connor said there was a lot more to campdrafting than meets the eye.

“Teamwork is vital, you really have to trust your horse. If you trust them they will trust you,” he said.

“Knowing your cattle is also important. Some people work their cattle with horses, others with motor bikes - cattle that work with horses are better suited to campdrafting.”

Connor recently won the novice event at Walcha on his other mount, Grouse, with a score of 90 - a very high score considering no-one has achieved the maximum of 100 points in the history of campdrafting.

The event, or run as it's called, is over within 40 seconds. In that time a rider must 'cut-out' a beast from the camp into the arena, guide it through a tight course and back through the gate.

One sound competitors all try to avoid is the dreaded whip crack. If your chosen beast gets back to the mob twice or you miss a peg twice be prepared to be 'cracked-off' and disqualified.

Connor attributes his success to watching and listening to other competitors.

“To become a skilful rider you need patience, but most importantly listen to people you have a high opinion of and heed their advice,” he said.

The Big River Campdraft, sponsored by Black Toyota, is a four-day event beginning Thursday.

If you wish to experience the smell of horse sweat and saddles, meet people passionate about their sport and soak up the spectacle of campdrafting get the whips cracking (maybe not a good idea) and head to Hawthorne Park, South Grafton.

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