Valley Team Penning came about after a group of riders found there was a need for a club closer to Newcastle and the Lower Hunter. Our first event was held at Gresford in Decemeber 2011 and was a massive success. This gave us a clear indication that we were on the right track. Since that time the club now has over 300 members aged from 5 all the way up to 75. We run over two days with team penning on Saturday and arena sorting on Sunday.
Our aim is to provide a safe family environment for all of our members and their family to enjoy their weekends away team penning and arena sorting. Throughtout the year we aim to hold events across the region including, Merriwa, Scone, Singleton, Gresford and Dungog.
What is Team Penning?
Team penning is a western equestrian sport that has evolved from farm and station work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, or transport.
Today it is a fast-paced event that gives a team of three riders on horseback from 60 to 90 seconds (depending on the class or the sanctioning of the event) to separate three specifically identified cattle from a mob and put them into a pen at the opposite end of the arena.
The sport features typically yearling beef cattle (mature cows or bulls are not allowed), with collars around their necks, three each wearing the same colour. Timing starts once the line judge has dropped his flag as the lead rider’s horse crosses the line. At that time, the announcer identifies the cattle to be separated by calling out a randomly drawn collar colour. The riders must cut out the three head that have been nominated, take them to the opposite end of the arena, pen them and call for time.
Teamwork is the key with all three riders working to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen while keeping the rest of the mob back.
What is Arena Sorting?
Like team penning arena sorting is also a western equestrian sport that also evolved from farm and station work.
Arena sorting is performed in two pens that have an opening between the pens. At the beginning, there are twelve head of cattle at the end of one of the pens with numbered collars for identification. The judge raises the flag and when the riders cross the gap between the two pens the clock starts and the competition begins. The team of three riders have to move the cattle one at a time from one pen to the other in numerical order, starting with a random number called by the judge.
The fastest time wins. If one of the cattle gets from one pen to the other out of order, then the team is disqualified.