Make plans to attend the very first Australian campdraft competition in the United States, August 23-25 in Kiowa, Colorado.

The American Quarter Horse Journal
January 24, 2013

Campdrafting, photo by Abigail Boatwright

Kimberly Sammon and Australian Quarter Horse Lakotas Divas Destiny guide a cow around the cloverleaf pattern at a campdraft at Beaudesert Showgrounds in Queensland, Australia. (Abigail Boatwright photo)

To all you adrenaline junkies out there, clear your calendar for the weekend of August 23-25 and get ready for a chance to be part of American history.

For the first time ever in the United States, an Australian campdraft clinic will be held, followed by a campdraft competition. The Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa, Colorado, is set as the home for the first American campdraft competition.

On August 23-24, Australians Steven Hart and Peter Comiskey, an Australian national campdraft champion, will teach the campdraft clinic. The competition will follow on August 25.

As rodeo, working cow horse and team penning claim roots from everyday ranch work, so does campdrafting, noted special contributor Abigail Boatwright in “Feel the Draft” in the January 2013 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal. But compared to cutting, working cow horse, team penning and ranch sorting, where 500- to 600-pound cattle are routinely used in competition, fully grown cattle are the typical quarry in campdrafting.

Under Australian Campdraft Association rules, horse and rider begin in a herd of at least six cattle, called a “mob,” in a small pen, or camp, connected to a large circular arena. With two helpers minding the gate to the arena, the competitor cuts the chosen cow from the herd and works it for a short amount of time, similar to boxing in working cow horse.

Once the rider is ready, the helpers allow the “beast” and rider through the gate to the arena, which is known as a draft. There, the team has 40 seconds to guide the cow through a cloverleaf pattern of cones, known as pegs. The cow must be turned in a figure 8 around the first two cones and driven around the top end of the set of cones at the far side of the arena until the cow faces the camp and runs through the last two cones. All maneuvers in the draft are typically performed at high speed to avoid running out of time.

Knocking down the first peg, losing control of the cow and riding the pattern incorrectly result in disqualification. The horse and rider can earn up to a maximum of 100 points for their performance: 26 for the cutout, 70 for horse work and four for proper completion of the course.

Quarter Horses have found their way into the campdrafting mix in Australia, with many breeders taking note of the Quarter Horse’s versatility, athleticism and cow sense.

“The Quarter Horse adds a tractability to the horses,” said Australian breeder Terry McKinnon, who breeds both purebred Quarter Horses and crosses with Australian Stock Horses, in an interview with the Journal. “(Quarter Horses) are every bit as smart and they have a little better mindset.”

Look for “Feel the Draft” on Page 128 of the January 2013 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal. Contact the Journal circulation department at (800) 291-7323 to order single issues of the magazine or visit www.aqha.com/journal to subscribe and receive instant access to the digital edition of the January Journal.  

Test your American Quarter Horse’s athleticism and cow sense, and sign up for a good time while you’re at it, at the Colorado campdraft clinic and competition August 23-25. For more information, contact Mary Harris at kiowacountryc@earthlink.net or (303) 621-5836.