An annual weekend away not only teaches women campdrafting skills, but also raises thousands of dollars for breast cancer treatment.

Story Ken Eastwood

Karen Hancock, of Woods Point, SA, never competed in campdrafts as a child. In fact, she only competed in her first campdraft three years ago, even though she’s been around horses and cattle and mustered all her life. There was a period after she had children when she barely rode at all. “I had about eight years where I didn’t ride a horse, and your confidence really takes a hit,” she says.

In November last year, Karen attended her first annual Women in Campdrafting weekend, at Lucindale, SA. Sixty women, with the full gamut of campdrafting experience from raw beginners to experts, met with six exceptional instructors for campdrafting and horsemanship tips, to discuss women’s health issues, to raise money for the McGrath Foundation and for a whole lot of fun. 

“In our group there were some people who had been competing for years, and then some who had only done two campdrafts,” Karen says. “We had an older lady who had been an avid competitor all her life and a woman in her late 50s who hadn’t competed much at all. The youngest was 26, so there was a good cross-section of age and experience.”

One-and-a-half-hour campdraft sessions focused on aspects such as position within the arena, preparing a horse and what judges target. Karen was particularly pleased to have picked up a technique to help her prepare her big black gelding for competition, and to work with him better. “I had been getting into a lot of trouble with him deciding he was going to do something and overpowering me,” she says. “An instructor gave me an exercise to do with my horse that completely fixed it. It was a real light-bulb moment for me.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #113

Outback Magazine: June/July 2017