Competitors enjoyed near perfect weather and ground conditions for the first round of the 2019 Stock Horse Challenge held at Gloucester Showground.
Light rain fell the night before to settle the dust and with mild temperatures under clear sunny skies the competition was "hot".
A record number of entries were received this year with 20 in the Futurity section which is restricted to horses under five years of age, 24 in the Rookies and nine in the Juniors.
Contestants were required to undertake snaffle bit cutting and a utility working horse pattern in the first round.
In the Futurity section the early leader is Andrew Caddis with Peelvale Teles Again (173.5 points), just one half point ahead of Vicki Evans and Talawahl Classic Impression (173). A further two points back is Matt Broome with Talawahl Seattle (171).
The Rookie section leader board is also tightly contested with Tanya Duncan on Fairway Banjo (179) ahead by one half point from Jordyn Snapes Taravale Playdough (178.5). Wauchope competitor Lisa Hawkins sits in third place with Destinys Choice (173.5).
The Junior and Juvenile entrants in the challenge were given informative instruction from the judges, Bruce Withers (Singleton) and Phil Gray (Tamworth) on riding both working horse and snaffle bit cutting events.
Cattle used in the cutting were generously loaned by Wallanbah Cattle Co (Nick and Kylie Johnston) and Ed and Tina Robinson.
They were a fairly even line of black cattle which gave the competitors a good opportunity to show off their abilities.
The second round of the challenge is scheduled for Sunday, June 30 at Gloucester Showground commencing at 9.30am.
This round will comprise snaffle bit cutting and a working horse pattern.
The third and fourth rounds of the challenge, which include campdrafting, are being combined and will be held on one day on Sunday, August 4.
Did you know?
The Australian Stock Horse has been especially bred for Australian conditions.
It is a hardy breed of horse noted for endurance, agility and good temperament.