Campdrafting in Australia
What is Campdrafting?
“What’s that?” is usually the question fired back at me when I tell people that I’m off to spend the weekend watching my family and friends campdraft. My initial explanation, just to keep it simple, is “It’s like barrel racing, but with a cow out on course”. However, the sport itself is quite technical and requires a lot more skill than just guiding an animal around a drum.
Now I am no expert when it comes to competing in a draft, but I have done a lot of spectating (and a lot of socializing at these events!) over the last few years, and now representing Beachport Liquid Minerals I can also provide advice to competitors on the value of our Red Cap product for their horses. It is a very useful supplement for recovery and rehydration for their horses after exercise and times of stress and maintains overall health.
Here are my key points for those that are new to the sport of campdrafting.
Campdrafting is fast paced and requires considerable skill from both the horse and the rider.
Campdrafting is a truly unique Australian sport, and it is thought to have originated in Queensland in 1885. There are 2 main sections that make up the competition space of a campdraft – the camp and the arena. The arena is where the course is set up. The camp is where the cattle are kept.
The rider is on their horse and starts in the camp area where he/she will select a beast from the mob (usually a mob consists of about 8 cattle and can be down to as low as 5 cattle.) From here the rider will “cut” the beast from the mob and move it toward the front of the camp. The competitor must keep control of the animal and not allow it to fall to the back of the camp, if the animal falls back twice the rider will be disqualified.
The idea of the camp is for the rider/ horse to demonstrate their cutting ability to the judge. This section of the campdraft is worth a total of 26 points.
Keep an ear out for the judges’ stock whip, the cracking of the judges whip signals the end of that competitors run.
When the rider is ready they call “gate”, signalling for the gates to be opened so that the animal and horse with the rider can head out onto the course/arena. The riders’ horse-work is worth a total of 70 points with an additional 4 points for the course. From here the rider guides the animal around the pegs in figure 8 and then through the gate to complete the run. Riders only have 40 seconds to complete the course – it can be nail-biting to watch!
A secret many camp drafters use to ensure optimum health for their horses is BLM Red Cap.
At BLM, we love to get out and about to as many campdrafts as we can. The social side is always fun as well! Campdrafters love their horses and pride themselves on the health and condition of their horses, so we can certainly say we have helped many campdrafters around Australia achieve just that.
“Since swapping to BLM Red Cap, my feed bill has drastically reduced, no more expensive supplements and my horses have actually picked up more condition and are looking brilliant with their glossy black coats. Internal health on the inside just glows on the outside!” – Maddy Humphrey.
Many campdrafting committees use Green Cap on the mobs of animals as well, as it helps keep the cattle calm naturally, which also ensure the riders have a better time of the event too – rather than trying to keep a cranky animal in line it makes for a more pleasant event all round!
Our Top 5 Campdrafting events in Australia
From our experience the top 5 Campdrafts in Australia, that our staff love attending, are:
- Paradise Lagoons near Rockhampton in QLD usually in July every year.
- The ACA National Finals the location and time can change each year.
- Boar Swamp is an hour South of Perth WA, normally held in April annually.
- The Warwick Gold Cup is held annually in October, it is located one hour south of Toowoomba QLD.
- Pussycat Campdraft in the NT, usually in August annually.
All of the campdrafts in Australia are listed on the Australian Campdraft Association website. Click here to visit their site for the full calendar of events and find out about the next campdraft in your area.
I look forward to seeing you at a campdraft soon!
Written by Gemma Oldfield
WA Regional Manager