Riding high after campdraft comp
ELEVEN-year-old Grafton Pony Club member Niav Bacon found out what the term "feral cows" really meant when competing at Trangie at the weekend.
Representing Zone 15 for the first time against 38 other campdrafters around the State and Queensland in the under-13 section, the young rider received a huge shock when the chute went up.
As her teammate Nathan Brown said: "the cow looked at her, lifted its tail and took off."
Or in Niav's words: "the cows were really feral".
The response meant Niav only scored 21 points for her 'inside score' in the event, equal with another three or four riders.
Faced with equally difficult animals in the ride off Niav scored 22 points, giving her a total of 43 for the event - enough for a narrow victory.
Pony club member Christi Brown said the cows were so difficult all the riders in Niav's age group were only able to record inside scores.
In a campdraft riders must cut a cow from a group then herd it through a gate (inside score) and guide it through obstacles to demonstrate the skills of rider and horse (an outside score).
All this is done under a time constraint.
Brown said the Grafton riders had performed extremely well in trying conditions against stiff competition in all age groups.
"Nathan finished fourth in the campdraft and he had to deal with the same cattle as Niav," she said.
"Because he's a more experienced rider he was able to get an outside score."
Locally the focus turns to the Grafton Pony Club Gymkhana, to be held at Hawthorne Park, South Grafton on April 28 and 29.
Brown said the facilities at Grafton meant the gymkhana was a big event with plenty of action on both days.
"On Saturday we have the flat riding and dressage and the start of the jumping events," she said.
"On Sunday we have the finals of the jumping and the sporting events."