Through sheer dedication, three generations of the knight family have elevated horsemanship to an art form.
Story By Kristyn Maguire
One truism agreed upon by horse breeders is that a talented horse is no accident and always comes from good stock. The same could be said of a good horseman.
The Knight family name has become nothing short of legendary in the Australian Stock Horse industry, with more than 100 years of horsemanship having been passed down through the generations.
In 1975, Peter Knight was on the brink of revolutionising the campdrafting industry with his young colt ‘Warrenbri Romeo’, today the best known and most sought-after sire for campdrafters in Australia. When the horse was two years old Peter made the prophecy, “It’s our turn – there’s no rhyme or reason for me to think this, but I know it’s our turn.”
Truer words were never spoken and for the Knight family a remarkable bond between horse and man continues today, with Peter’s son Lindsay having the perseverance and determination to make sure the family legacy will continue.
At his 1820-hectare cattle property “Sunshine” in Gunnedah in north-western New South Wales, Lindsay’s tall, lean frame sits easily in the saddle thanks to years of experience blended with natural riding ability.
With his Akubra pushed down low on his brow to block out the blazing sun, he watches intently as his eldest son Sam, 21, cuts out a beast from the mob. “Move over Sam, let the bullock come this way,” he yells as the mob of cattle surges towards the round yards.
Mustering 1000 head of cattle is a family affair for Lindsay, his wife Jan (an Australian Ladies Campdraft Champion), Sam and the other children – Sarah, 19, Thomas, 13, and Mick, 11. While at first glance the family working side by side paints an idyllic picture, there is no place for sentiment or romance in the cattle-mustering business with Sam declaring that his father is a hard taskmaster.
“Dad puts 100 percent into everything – he is always in there whistling, shouting and hustling the cattle,” Sam says. “He doesn’t treat me like a son when we are working – I’m a stockman who has to pull his own weight and isn’t allowed to get out of hard work. He only wants to get the best out of everybody and while sometimes I want to knock his head off, I know he’s nearly always right.”
This story excerpt is from Issue #59
Outback Magazine: June/July 2008