The bits between their teeth…
I spent yesterday doing one of my very favourite things… watching good riders and gorgeous horses show off their athleticism and ‘cow sense’ in a campdraft arena.
(For those new to this blog, here are a few examples of the sport, and a thorough description to get you into the ‘know’.)
I love local ‘drafts because I know many of the competitors – sometimes they ride beautifully, sometimes they have a bad run, but the thrill of the contest is always there.
The terminology usually gives me a giggle too – from ‘grabbing the bit’ and ‘cracked off’ to ‘the camp’ (which is actually an area of the arena where the rider selects his/her cow). I don’t believe the family for whom this yard (above) was named was the slightest bit ‘camp’. Heh.
This is a new idea (brought in over the past few years anyway) as the wearing of helmets becomes more standard – the helmet rack! Riders deposit their felt hat and swap for their helmet while riding. Then back over when they are finished their ‘run. I love it…
This is Trooper… He adores the chase and is frighteningly nimble (one need exceptional knees when a horse changes direction abruptly!).
(Hint: it’s all in the ears!)
This is his new horse Scandal…
He selected a bit of a cranky beast (cow) and she didn’t get a score ‘outside’ but Mr I was very happy with her. She pinned her ears back and WENT for it.
After he had finished with his competition for the day, my husband took Dash and Violet aside and helped get their ready for THEIR draft. The Junior (for ages 8 to 12).
Violet had been soooo excited – she was up at 4.30am to go in the truck with her Dad (quite something for a girl who struggles to get up on a school day). Dash on the other hand, wavered between anticipation and nervous doubt.
No-one gets QUITE as nervous however, as parents watching their offspring compete.
This Mama had her heart in her mouth watching her daughters compete too.
Dash was first up in the Junior Draft.
While Dash is not super confident about his abilities and Pickles doesn’t take him in super close to the beast, he actually has great cow sense – he know where he needs to be and usually gets around the first peg and sets second peg up…
She held the heifer at the front of the camp (just like she is supposed to) and called for the gate (okay, her mother may have done so too!).
My concern is always that the kids remain in control of their horses and the situation – having grown up with campdrafting, I understand the potential hazards all too well. We are so lucky to have two VERY trustworthy horses to look after our two – horses who WAIT to be told rather than taking matters into their own hands/hooves (or getting the ‘bit between their teeth’ and ignoring what the rider wants).
I know how good their horses are, but I am still not sure I breathed the whole time either Dash or Violet competed. I think I called out a lot of ‘encouragement’. I know I didn’t take many photos (the front-on ones* were very kindly snapped and shared by my aunt).
Other competitors, like the young man below who actually took out the event, I was fine to photograph. Breathing is apparently integral to getting decent photos. Who knew?
This young fella had a cracker round and deserved to win. He’s also one of Dash’s mates, so we all enjoyed his victory.
All the juniors got a ribbon – Violet came around 8th I think. Her orange participation ribbon is already treasured.
We left Mr Incredible to camp overnight at the campdraft grounds (that word again!) – in a swag in the back of a truck. Violet was miffed at not being allowed to sleepover too. I decided to be the mean, responsible parent and take her home for a decent night’s sleep! No popularity contests for me…
Speaking of which… I suspect it’s time to choose some calendar photos.
Get your voting fingers ready, my friends. I promise it’ll be more fun that the Australian Federal election – think of me as your happy (bush) distraction!