Blythewood showcases best of open horse action

Bob GarnantCountryman
Gingin campdrafter Drew Gibbs takes air on stallion Dakota Rizzo during his winning restricted open horse ride.
Camera IconGingin campdrafter Drew Gibbs takes air on stallion Dakota Rizzo during his winning restricted open horse ride. Credit: Bob Garnant

Open horse action was at its very best at the three-day Boar Swamp Campdraft, formerly the Wellard Campdraft, held last Friday to Sunday at the McLarty family’s Blythewood farm, near Pinjarra.

Continuing to make first impressions on the WA circuit was NSW-born and bred Jonathon McDonald, pictured right, who moved to WA in 2017 and resides at Regans Ford, who put in some quality rides aboard Quarter Horse mare Genuine Jazz.

The 15-year-old horse and rider were good enough to win the Milne Feeds Open Horse final on Sunday against a field of 110 entries.

The win represented the fourth open victory for McDonald and Jazz during WA’s 2019 campdraft season.

McDonald also rode a second horse, McDonald’s Delight, to a second-place finish in the same event.

During Saturday’s West Coast Wool & Livestock Restricted Open Horse competition, which was won by Gingin campdrafter Drew Gibbs and stallion Dakota Rizzo, McDonald and Jazz were not far off the pace taking the second-place sash.

Westcoast Wool & Livestock representative Hayden Ballantyne at the Boar Swamp Campdraft competition.
Camera IconWestcoast Wool & Livestock representative Hayden Ballantyne at the Boar Swamp Campdraft competition. Credit: Bob Garnant

Gibbs, who is a contract horse breaker, said Dakota Rizzo, “performed brilliantly”, backing up the first of two Boar Swamp Campdraft restricted open titles for 2019.

“The 10-year-old is very consistent and easy to ride, and he does 99 per cent of the work,” he said.

Gibbs said he welcomed the competition from McDonald, who settled in WA after being offered a position with Thalanyji Pastoral Company as livestock manager.

McDonald, who grew up in Glen Innes, NSW, said he honed his campdraft skills from an early age and spent two years in Tamworth refining the craft and breeding horses.

Jonathan McDonald, of Reagans Ford, riding Quarter Horse mare Geniune Jazz, won the Milne Feeds Open competition.
Camera IconJonathan McDonald, of Reagans Ford, riding Quarter Horse mare Geniune Jazz, won the Milne Feeds Open competition. Credit: Bob Garnant

The 43-year-old hopes to compete at the Landmark Classic early next year in Tamworth where the best of the best will contest.

McDonald’s son, Jackson, eight, also competed at Blythewood, winning the junior competition on Sunday.

Kojonup’s Georgia Holland, eight, won Saturday’s junior event.

The Boar Swamp Campdraft, held at the McLarty family’s Blythewood property, attracted 574 nominations from 137 competitors.

Boar Swamp Campdraft club president Bruno Hogan said the event ran smoothly and the cattle were exceptional.

“We had a very experienced judge in Tim Hollis from NSW,” he said. “The McLarty family, as usual, were very generous with their hospitality.”

Panwonica pastoralist Michael Percy, riding Yalleen Concept, won the novice B competition.
Camera IconPanwonica pastoralist Michael Percy, riding Yalleen Concept, won the novice B competition. Credit: Bob Garnant

Leigh McLarty expressed appreciation for the 2019 Youth Exchange Program with NSW, some 17 years in the making, which turned out a juvenile event win for Lara de Jong, of Manilla, NSW, on her first visit to WA.

“At home, I am dividing my time between campdrafting and rugby,” she said.

During the maiden event, Pinjarra campdrafter Greg Angilly dedicated his winning ride to “the great horseman” and horse breeder Kent Johnston, who died this year.

“I was riding Taunton Vale Archer, one of the many great horses Kent’s stud had bred,” Mr Angilley said.

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