Blayney Shire Hosesports to run Ranch Sorting event

WHOA THERE: Blayney's Gordon Garlick introducing Billy to the Ranch Sorting ring set up at the equestrian centre. Photo: Mark Logan.
WHOA THERE: Blayney's Gordon Garlick introducing Billy to the Ranch Sorting ring set up at the equestrian centre. Photo: Mark Logan.

It's a relatively new event for Australia's horse sports followers and this weekend the Central West Equestrian and Livestock Centre will be the home to the first ranch sorting event held by Blayney Shire Horsesports.

Ranch sorting involves two riders sorting 10 cattle numbered 0-9 and one unnumbered cow for a total of 11 head.

As the riders enter the ring a number is called out and they have to sort that one first before sorting the rest in sequence. The unnumbered cow must stay in the ring.

After every 10 runs, new cattle are introduced.

Being a timed event rather than a judged one, the popularity of the event is on the increase, and the president of Blayney Shire Horsesports Noel Cheney has been flooded with entries.

"We've had twice the number of people enter than we expected," he said.

"There's been so many we've had to bring the starting time forward to 5pm on Friday and then start at 6am on both Saturday and Sunday."

Veteran Blayney horseman Gordon Garlick is a big fan of ranch sorting and believes that the main attraction is the level playing field that it brings.

"Everyone stuffs up," he laughs, "Cattle have a mind of their own and they'll get you every time."

"That's why it's so good. It's open to all ages and although you need a bit of cattle sense and have a responsive horse, you also need a bit of luck.

"You'll get angry at yourself for stuffing up at times, but everyone has done it and it's really supportive because of it. Even the best can have a bad run."

The rings are figure 8 shaped and there are two of them set up undercover. In between them the judge is perfectly situated to slip from one run to the next.

"That's why it's also a great spectator sport," Mr Garlick said, "As soon as one run is over the judge turns around and starts the next one."

The best ranch sorting riders in the central west are based in Dubbo Mr Cheney said, but the numbers at the Blayney event have eclipsed those at the recent Dubbo event.

"This is going to be huge," he said.

The event will be commencing at 5pm this Friday evening. On both Saturday and Sunday the runs will commence at 6am and will run into the late afternoon.

Entry for spectators is free.

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