• Fran Cleland

Team penning turns work into play for everyday riders


ABOVE: Gordon Nash and Quamby Myremma sorting the cattle. Picture: MA SCAR

ALTHOUGH most horse sport publicity seems to be on the Olympic disciplines, there are so many others that have a big following in Australia.


Team penning is a sport that evolved from the common station work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring or transport and has clubs all around the country.


There are an estimated 93,000 active team penners in North America and there were 130 runs with six junior teams competing at the Central Victorian Ranch Horse Association competition at Seymour.


ABOVE: It was BYO portable grandstands. Picture: JOELLEN PHOTOGRAPHY

The riders in most cases might have not been up to world championship standard but there were competitors of all ages having a ball, with a lot of noise and laughter while being challenged by a spirited mob of Friesian heifers that had no intention of cooperating with the riders.


What is very appealing is that any person can ride any sort of horse in a team situation, without having to spend a fortune on gear and outfits.


It is an event that gives a team of three riders on horseback two minutes to separate three colour-tagged cattle from a herd of 30 and put them into a stock pen.


Teamwork is the key with all three riders working together to cut out the colour-tagged cattle and drive them to the pen while keeping the rest of the herd back.


At the competition, Tracey Heywood, Wally Ingram and Mick Joyce won the open class and the novice winning team was made up of Andrew Sobonicki, Baldy Falzon and Jeff Azopardi.

In the youth section, Lockie Clegg, Amelia Clegg and Jade Fulford headed the group of enthusiastic youngsters, and in the littlies class, Lilly Coridas, Lucy Coridas and Alyce Muller were delighted with their blue ribbons.


ABOVE: Shane Tomlinson in action at the team penning event at Seymour. Picture: FRAN CLELAND