The sport of campdrafting has its origins in the early days of the Australian stockman, and is believed to have begun in rural Queensland in the early part of the twentieth century.
When drovers needed to select individual cattle from a mob to drive them to a separate holding area, the stockman would "cut out" the beast from the mob. This was achieved through the skills of the horse and rider to block the attempts of the beast to follow his natural instincts in returning to the mob. This was usually done when large mobs of cattle were mustered together and held by a team of horsemen on the open plain, while the nominated rider did the "cutting out". Over time, stockmen developed competitions based around this activity, which have evolved into the uniquely Australian sport as we know it today.
The sport today is conducted in a set of yards attached to an arena and requires the competitor to "cut out" a beast from the yard or "camp", follow it out through the open gate into the arena where he must guide the beast around a course of a right and left hand turns before guiding it through a gate, all in a few short minutes. (See diagram below)
Points are scored by horse and rider for cut out, horse work and course completion, from a possible total of 100 points. A good campdrafter is not just a fine horseman, but has the skill to select a suitable beast from the mob that will run well.
The prestige associated with a win in a campdraft of several hundred competitors is invaluable to the owner of the horse, as the winning horse is ranked amongst the finest stock horses in the country.
|Brian Wormwell on Pretty Woman - 1975|