Hosts rein in winners

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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In the true spirit of the event, WA's top campdrafters competed with plenty of grunt at the Boar Swamp draft held recently at the McLarty family's Pinjarra property.

The horse riding sport requires competitors to draft an animal and then guide it around an obstacle course which is scored according to ability and speed.

The annual Boar Swamp draft brings out the best of those who ride on the regular circuit, being the last event of the season.

Over three days there were more than 900 runs for young and old competitors.

Leigh and Nicky McLarty and family, of Blythewood, who host the draft assisted by many volunteers, made a big effort to enjoy the rewards of their labour.

The first to take the winning reins was Harriet McLarty when she scored two 89s in the ladies draft to claim outright victory.

"I attributed the win to my horse, Obsession, which I borrowed from its owner, Joe Pederick," Harriet said.

"If we weren't a couple, I wouldn't have liked my chances of talking Joe into the deal."

Saddling up under the same belief that those who ride together, stay together, Leigh McLarty put in some big rides.

In Saturday's round one of the International Livestock Export (ILE) open with 118 entries, his ride was good enough to secure a finals berth.

Meanwhile, the best of the best were preparing for the Blythewood Stockman's Whip open draft.

Only the most experienced riders and horses are able to compete in this prestigious event.

This year, 43 entries were chasing top bragging rights.

For Montana-born cowboy Bob Neuman, who was just days from his 79th birthday, it was one of those challenges that he could draw on from a lifetime of experience.

His Dakota Quarterhorse stud is renowned for producing well-bred horses and at Pinjarra he was riding his favourite mare, Dakota Dynisty.

With a first round score of 91, his grip loosened somewhat on the reins during round two.

"I picked some really good cattle to draft, and my mare is in peak form," Bob said after sealing the win with an incredible repeat score.

Bob's day was topped off when his grandchildren, Tom and Alex, won their respective junior and juvenile events.

Also showing good form beyond his age was Jayden Panomarenko, 14, who won his first maiden draft riding Flying F Captain Jay.

It's possible he may be the youngest rider to win a maiden in the State.

Before Saturday's evening social got underway, the toast of the day went to Stefanie Retzlaff, of Coolup, who won the inaugural Hawkesbury River Saddle Maiden draft.

Heath and Krissy Harris, of Hawkesbury River Saddle Company, Mt White, New South Wales, sponsored two events at Boar Swamp, donating their handcrafted saddles as prizes.

"We like to give something back to the horse industry which has been so good to us," Mr Harris said.

During the evening, drafters traded in their horses for dancing shoes and it was time to let loose and keep the good times rolling.

It would be fair to say that Sunday morning's competitors were working off a slight handicap but things started to giddy-up in the 115-entry novice draft.

After round one, Joe Pederick was one point behind his horse-swapping partner, Harriet, but Joe's round two score put him in the lead for the win.

Attention quickly went to the ILE open draft final where Leigh McLarty put in another mighty effort riding his gelding, Zac.

With two previous scores of 86, Leigh finished in a gallop over the line to take the win but there was one more victory to claim.

After many hours of preparing to host the draft, Leigh still had enough energy to line up for the inaugural Hawkesbury River Saddle open.

"My horse, Zac, was terrific all weekend but what I enjoyed most was the comradeship that makes the sport such fun to participate in," Leigh said after being awarded the win and a well deserved Hawkesbury River saddle.

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