By Christopher Bath
DRAG racing on horses is what the latest sporting craze to hit the equine world is referred to and on Saturday Tamworth got in the saddle.
The Peel Valley Team Penning held the first ever Speed Penning event in NSW on Saturday at Koobah Indoor Arena.
The newer shorter version of team penning has gone viral in the USA, and has now hit the shores of Australia.
PVTP secretary Debby Stocks said that she found out about the new sport when she saw a speed penning race on YouTube.
“I was having a look on the computer and saw this new event,” Stocks said.
“I thought we have to give this a go, and got the rules of a friend of mine who lives in Canada.”
Speed Penning is much like team penning, except it is a one-on-one event.
The arena is split into two channels with 10 cattle in each numbered one to 10.
Competitors have 60 seconds to cut a particular number from the mob and get them back in the pen.
“The riders compete one-on-one and side by side so it is very exciting, entertaining, and fast,” Stocks said.
50 open riders and 18 juniors turned out for the first event, and only got to watch one demonstration ride before they were in the saddle themselves.
Ronnie Grant and Wayne Douglas had the honours of first race and demonstration.
Douglas did very well, for a first go, to cut out and pen the number five in just over 15 seconds.
The overall winner on the day was Elli-Jo Thomas from Tamworth who managed a very impressive time of just 10 seconds.
Cameron Artlett from Loomberah won the youth event in just over 11 seconds.
“Nobody had done it before or even seen much before today,” Stocks said.
“It was great, everyone was really keen to get out there and have a go.”
PVTP is hoping to make it a yearly event, although predict the sport will boom as team penning is already one of the fastest growing sports in Australia.
Preceding the first race PVTP made a donation to the Riding for The Disabled (RDA) organisation.
A variety of horse rugs and plenty of other horse equipment was collected from PVTP members and given to the charity in a fantastic
RDA is a volunteer charity organisation that allows disabled people the chance to ride and be around horses for both therapeutic and recreational use.