Riding the crest
IT IS one event down and two to go this year for Southern Downs Team Penning which is cashing in on an unbelievable increase in interest in equestrian sports.
Club president Bill Collins was delighted when his club attracted 144 teams of three riders to its inaugural event this month at the Warwick Showgrounds.
But that is only the start for a sport he hopes develops into one of the strongest in the town.
"We will have a practice day in April and another event in August," Collins said.
Previously, team penning events have been held in Warwick by the Warwick Hack and Pony Club and Warwick Show and Rodeo Society and Collins wants to co-operate with both organisations.
"We initially formed our club to compete in the nationals in Tamworth," he said.
After covering the initial cost of setting up the sport, Collins said they planned to donate money raised to Riding for the Disabled or other charities.
He acknowledges many team penning competitors are also campdrafters but believes his sport was better for riders who were a little less experienced.
"Many of the top riders are keen to be part of teams to help less experienced riders," he said.
"You don't need as much preparation for team penning and we have the best arena in Australia at the Warwick Showgrounds."
In team penning, riders can compete on the one horse in different teams. At the inaugural club event in Warwick, Pittsworth rider Mick Diggles competed in 18 different teams, one of which won the open competition.
"We had some teams which would match it with the best in Australia," Collins said.
Collins is club president, Sharon Keogh secretary and Kerryn Easey treasurer. More information from Collins on 0418 454999.