Where and when campdrafting started in Australia seems unclear. The more research I do the less clear it becomes. It appears that the time was between 1880 and 1890. One thing we know for sure is this great horse sport was made in Australia. Horses, drovers and stockmen played a huge part in the opening up of this young country and the inevitable competition over who had the best horse and who was the best rider would have been the reason for a more serious and formal contest to evolve.
The very basic idea of campdrafting is when one mounted rider moves into a small yard, called acamp, and selects one beast from a small mob of cattle. He or she then proceeds to move the beast towards the camp opening – which is blocked by either men on horses or two gates with men holding them shut. The mounted rider blocks and turns his beast several times across the face of the camp (the single beast tries his hardest to get past the rider and back into the mob). When the rider feels he has shown the Judge enough of his horse’s ability to hold the beast clear of the mob, he calls for the gates to be opened so he can take his beast out into a much larger area to complete a course. The course consists of two pegs (usually small trees) set apart, one on the left and one on the right, directly out from the front of the camp.