31 Aug Scott Rogers: Campdrafting
Scott Rogers is a Thompson and Redwood sponsored rider competing in the discipline of camp drafting. Here, he discusses the sport and why he chose it over other equestrian disciplines.
“I guess the best place to start is to ask the question ‘what is camp drafting’? It’s certainly not the first equestrian sport that comes to mind for most. The best visual analogy I can align it with is sheepdog trials on horseback!
Campdrafting is an Australian sport along the lines of a more western type discipline of riding, involving usually Australian Stock horses or Quarter Horses. The basic objective is to cut an individually selected beast (yearling cattle) from a small herd in a yard called the ‘camp’. The horse and rider must show they are capable of cutting out and stopping this animal from returning to its mates at the back of the camp.
Then, when they feel they have sufficiently shown the judge their horses ability to do this, they call “gate” and proceed to attempt to guide this animal around a barrel race-like pattern of pegs. This is known as the outside section, still within a large arena (however they only have a 40 second time limit to complete this in).Now, there are many rules and regulations that make completing the above task much harder than it may sound! The scoring is split into 3 sections; 26 points for the camp component, 70 points for the outside section, and 4 points for course/pegs, giving you a total of 100 points to ride for. The crack of the judge’s stock whip will signal the termination or completion of every run. Like most sports, the higher the degree of difficulty and the standard to which it is executed, the greater you score.
To be competitive in the sport, you will (like all horse sports) need to understand the basics of effective riding, good horsemanship and selection of cattle. Your horse will need to be reasonably athletic to gallop fast enough to remain in control of the cattle, but also be trainable or cool enough mentally to handle doing this in a controlled manner.
Campdrafting is not a team sport; you compete on an individual basis. However, you will be in charge of 3 thinking, breathing, decision-making minds at once (your own, the horses and the cows), and this is a job in itself! It can be a very hard sport to grasp when you’re beginning, especially considering the majority of it is performed at considerable speed. You can easily find yourself returning to the truck and unsaddling before you realised you had even begun. Regardless of any amount of preparation, professionalism or determination, luck can definitely play a role in this sport!
Like most Equestrian disciplines, camp drafting is a massive industry in the Eastern states of Australia, however WA is continuing to grow at a healthy rate with a constant rising standard of competition and quality of events. It relies hugely on the generosity of many WA farmers for the use of large numbers of cattle for competitions, as well as the use of privately owned properties for some events. It is a great family sport and it is certainly not unusual to see 3 generations of a family all competing against each other in the same event. It can be quite competitive, but always with a very relaxed atmosphere and plenty of time for a catch up with everyone.”