The Coonamble Challenge & Campdraft attracts the best riders and horses from across the country. It features a Stockman’s Challenge, full campdraft program plus a Colt Starting Competition.
The Stockman’s Challenge was first developed in Cloncurry, Queensland in 1984. Since then the concept has gained in popularity through-out Australia and is attracting increasing numbers of competitors including some of the best stock and quarter horse trainers in Australia.
The Coonamble Challenge and Campdraft started in 2015 and is run by the Coonamble Show Society Inc. It is the only Australian Stockman’s Challenge Association (ASCA) affiliated Stockman’s Challenge to be held in NSW. While the main event remains the Stockman’s Challenge section of the program, the campdraft brings added competitors and spectators to the weekend. Each year has seen an enormous increase in numbers.
A Stockman’s Challenge consists of a dry section and a cattle work section. The aim of the competition is to develop soft, confident horses that will go on to be strong competitors in other disciplines including campdrafting.
The dry section is similar to a reining pattern; consisting of circles, sliding stops, turns & flying changes performed at speed.
The cattle work section is similar in style to a campdraft but with more emphasis on the way the horse works than merely getting around the pegs and gate.
In 2018, the event consisted of Open, Rookie, Encouragement, Classic (Under 5) and Juvenile Challenges. Along with the Stockman’s Challenge there was a Junior, Juvenile, Novice, Maiden and Open Campdraft. The 2018 event also featured evening entertainment, dry work under lights in front of the bar plus meals, music and presentations spread over Friday and Saturday night.
The action packed weekend saw three of Australia’s finest horse trainers, Ron Wall, Leah Read and Matt Broome compete in the Inaugural Coonamble Colt Starting Competition. It lived up to its promise of being a great event.
Colt starting was a concept developed in America, with trainers using their individual methods to gentle the horse, with the eventual aim to ride them after just a few short sessions. The trainers wear microphones and explain their methods to the audience while they are training.
The geldings donated to the 2018 competition were by Hazelwood Conman and were donated by avid supporters of the event Terry and Christine Hall. All three were auctioned at the conclusion of the competition.
“While most people have seen a campdraft, many will have never seen a stockman’s challenge, or experienced colt starting, and so this is the year to come to Coonamble as a spectator – there is free gate entry all weekend.”
Andrew Shearer (President)