Riders learn from the best in the business
CAMPDRAFT: The Monto Silver Buckle committee enlisted the help of champion campdrafter Pete Comiskey to run a two-day clinic at the showgrounds this weekend.
The event follows a successful fundraiser earlier this month for iconic horseman Ken May, with the proceeds of both events donated to assist with his recovery.
Robyn Drake was one of the 22 entrants in the clinic that covered all aspects of campdrafting and horsemanship.
After 25 years out of the saddle Mrs Drake recently returned to competition and made the journey from Brisbane to take part this weekend.
A country girl at heart thanks to her Hughenden upbringing, Mrs Drake learned to ride at an early age and was a gun polocrosse player as a junior.
But as a fast-paced life in the city, motherhood and a demanding career in sales took up more of her time, she drifted away from riding.
After a lengthy hiatus she's back doing what she loves and is passionate about the horses she keeps at the family home at Chandler - the closest acreage to the CBD.
Like many performance riders in Queensland, Mrs Drake was a student of Ken May.
She met Monto Silver Buckle organisers Mick and Jody Southern, and Kevin and Naomi Purcell through the Stockman's Challenge circuit and when she found out they were holding a fundraiser she jumped at the opportunity.
"I learned to ride at Ken May's clinics as a child,” she said.
"I wanted to support him and I love the Monto community.
"The clinics are great training for getting the feel of your horse and learning how to read stock.
"It's good being around your peers and having a professional telling you what to do.”
And who better to learn from than the best in the business?
Monto hired the expertise of champion drafter Pete Comiskey, whose riding credentials are as good as they come.
Hailing from Nebo, Comiskey is one of the most accomplished competitors in this uniquely Australian sport having claimed the ACA open rider championship, the national campdrafting title, a record 22 times.
Monto Silver Buckle Committee president Kevin Purcell was thrilled to have Comiskey on board, but said it required a fair bit of natural ability to ride at his level.
"It's a full-on, intensive weekend. There's no sitting around you're always doing something,” Purcell said.
"The clinic covers everything from the basics right through to finishing off runs, and maintaining performance horses at a safe and competitive level.
"It's about educating the horses and fine tuning the skills of campdraft competitors so they can better their scores.
The organisers gave thanks to local supporters including Bill Kelly for subsidising freight, and the Mullers and Ogles for loaning their cattle.