Now that we had mastered the art of cattle mustering
(in 2 easy lessons you understand 🙂 )
We moved on to ‘greener’ pastures.
In the bus, with horses in tow, we left our beautiful Mount and drove through Gympie, where once again we made a pit stop, this time, not at the bottle shop, but rather at the ‘bandaid’ shop (aka pharmacy) to attend some rather painful nether parts which one of us had acquired which offered as much mirth to the group as it offered pain to that region. 🙂
Task accomplished we stopped at the Best pie shop Ever.
Truely you can take my word for that.
And the chips were not half bad either.
near Widgee was our home for the next few days,
with such cute tents awaiting us and more lovely views.
The team here were Unbelievable
I really need to give a shout out to Rod, Ash, Jake and the rest of the crew.
Here we arrived, greenhorns every one of us, and with their welcome, and patience, we actually understood this camp drafting competition and learnt more or less:
(some of us much less, or perhaps I should one of us, much less – you can guess who that was. The others much more 🙂 )
Our amazing crew
Now for those of you who have no idea what campdrafting is, (I was one of those until a few months’ ago). Allow me to elucidate briefly.
In the days of large scale cattle mustering there was always the banter about who had the best horse, who rode the best, who could ‘tame a beast’ the best etc. And so a sport was created. I believe exclusive to Australia, called campdrafting.
In this, the competitor is in a ‘camp’ with several ‘beasts’ (aka cows) and on his horse he selects one and ‘dominates’ it by isolating it from the others and heading it towards the front end of the camp where there is a gate into a large arena. When the competitor is ready, he calls ‘gate’ and the gate is opened, the cow races out, as does the rider who then attempts to ‘steer’ the ‘beast’ around two pegs in a figure 8 and through another set of pegs (the gate) – all within 45 seconds.
Sounds easy? Well yes, when you see an expert, you hold your breath but they do make it look easy. None of us were experts!!!!!!! So just like us, you now understand what we are to do. I will attach below 2 videos, an expert (our lovely Helen) and a wanna me – yours truely for comparison purposes on condition no one laughs please.
And so our days were spent being taught to chose our ‘beast’; dominate our ‘beast’; turn our horses on a dime; stay in the ‘arc of vision’ of the cow –
not too far behind because all the ‘beast’ will hear is the sound of you chasing and it will go forward – Fast.
not too close or you will clip it and you and/or your horse and ‘the beast’ will go down – Hard.
so a bit like Goldilocks, just right.
Finally we move from the practice runs to the Real Arena – where we had surprise after surprise as our ‘beasts’ roared through the gate and straight across the arena to the opening at the other end, before any of us knew what had happened.
Our horses on the other end knew exactly what to expect and bounded across the arena at fast gallops chasing the cows. Our first rider, who shall remain nameless let out a yell of surprise, you can probably guess and found herself at the other end of the arena before the word was completely out of her mouth such was the speed of her trusty steed!!!!
Thankfully our next attempts were less ‘startling’
Slowly, with the amazing patience and coaching from Jake, Ash & Rod, we all started to improve – of course some did so a lot more than ‘others’ (you can guess who those ‘others’ are – and if in any doubt, refer to the score sheet from our final day competition)
It was all such fun.
Until it wasn’t
Sadly one of the team fell – at the far end of the arena and we watched, helpless, as she bounced and lay still. A sober reminder that this is, still, a risky sport. Thankfully, with a nurse in the team, an ambulance from Gympie and a little bit of luck on her side, her injuries were not life threatening although serious. *
It was a quiet evening for the rest of us – with conversations muted; all aware of how easily it could have been any of us; how quickly things can go from normal to tragic; how fortunate we each were that it wasn’t us (and how awful to think that at the same time)
Then another day dawned
We were back for our last day of campdrafting –
This was a very serious competition
with much shouting and encouragement from the sidelines
as each of us attempted to win the coveted trophy.
Here is a video of our lovely Helen showing “how it is done”.
Here for prosperity is a video of yours truely, showing how a greenhorn does it…. or rather doesn’t
On the day, I am SO pleased to say that our favourite John, won.
Never was a team more pleased for a winner.
and in case you thought it was all chasing beasts, there was also ‘washing them’
And suddenly – it was all over, we rushed back onto the bus for the trip back to airport where we all went our separate ways with Great Memories.
As usual, all photos are thanks to Rainbow Horse Trails, ‘the team,’ myself and Globetrotting.com.au
* Happily T is back in Melbourne and recovering well – we missed her and sister K on the last 2 days.