Just in case you were living under a rock, or anywhere on the planet outside Australia, today was Melbourne Cup day. "The day that stops a nation", all for a 3 minute horse race. And frankly, it's boring. Sure, I like the fact that work provides lunch for everyone, but what a yawn.
If you like horses and good horsemanship (used in the gender inclusive sense; horsewomanship just doesn't flow off the tongue nicely) then a much more interesting thing to look at is the sport of campdrafting.
I knew it existed, but didn't know any more than that until I saw this report on Landline recently. The campdraft part starts around 34 minutes in. (Side note, the program will be taken down from ABC iView on Saturday November 10th so if you're reading after that date, sorry.)
Basically you're on a horse. But not in the Old Spice sense because you've got to work as a team, both horse and rider. A mob of 8 or so cattle are released from a pen and the first task is to "cut out" or isolate one beast. Once you've done this, they'll release a gate and your next task is to steer the beast through a course - two large loops around some markers then a final dash through a pair of trees. It takes a skilled rider, a skilled horse, and even the best teams can come undone by a skittish or recalcitrant beast.
Much more exciting don't you think? The Chinchilla Grandfather Clock is one of the biggest campdrafts in the country - yay for the place I called home for 6 years, even if it is just a trophy and not an actual grandfather clock. But then, if it was a real clock, what would you do when you'd won it for the third time like this year's champion?
Yet another reason to take the kids to a real country show instead of the Ekka.