Rider Toby Usher put one of the bison through the training course with the help of instructor Jazmin Nielson.
Rider Toby Usher put one of the bison through the training course with the help of instructor Jazmin Nielson. Ben Wilmott

Bison turn heads at Killarney Showground

FOR the first time at the Killarney Showgrounds, budding campdrafters were given the chance to learn the ropes with the help of a different kind of animal.

The American bison may seem an unusual sight loping around an Australian paddock but there are plenty of good reasons the bison has become a popular choice for teaching the basics of campdrafting.

The bison has a docile and patient nature that makes it the perfect animal for junior riders to develop both experience and confidence in campdrafting.

Killarney residents were given the chance to take part in a three-day campdrafting school run by the Killarney and District Hack and Pony Club.

President Brett McKenzie brought in instructor Kendall Nielson, from a campdraft school at Geurie, near Dubbo in New South Wales.

Mr Nielson is based at Dungog, in the Hunter Valley. During the week he is an instructor at Tocal Agricultural College, but these days his weekends are almost completely occupied with campdraft schools.

Mr McKenzie said the experience of Mr Nielson and his two daughters, also instructors, had showed.

"The kids' confidence has increased so much; the patience and horse management of Kendall and his two daughters is just fantastic," he said.

"The bison are just perfect for the younger riders, perfect for training them the skills they need to get into campdrafting and have fun on their horses."

Twelve bison from Mr Nielson's property provided the more than 20 riders with three full days of riding.

Mr McKenzie said organising the event had been well worth the effort.

"They have been worth every cent, it's such a unique opportunity for the kids," he said.

"It's been the focus of the club to get a variety of events and training in Killarney.

"With progressive and fresh ideas like this one we hope to redevelop the site and get the community involved.

"It's also a great opportunity for people to come to Killarney and get an insight into rural life and attract people to the region.

"To be able to hold a high-level equestrian event like this brings awareness to the area."

This is the Mr McKenzies' first year as club president and he hoped to bring more events like the bison campdrafting to Killarney.

"It's about creating new industry and embracing the future," he said.

"We need that long-term plan to engage the community with events like this."

Bison campdrafting

Bison Campdraft Schools and Training operates out of Dungog NSW

For information phone 0428729582



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