Sixteen-year-old Lucy Oldfield has taken her love for cattle station life and used it to spur her on while competing in barrel races on her beloved Quarter Horse Peptos Royale Comanchee ‘Roy’.
Before returning home to the family farm at Allendale North, Lucy lived on the family cattle station, Wandsworth, Longreach, Qld.
Home to 4000 head of Santa Gertrudis cattle, Lucy said her love for horses began while living on the station and learning the craft of horsemanship from her father, Richard.
“Dad always broke in horses and I have been riding horses since I was a toddler – Dad taught me what I know,” she said.
“I started gymkhana, speed pattern racing, just for fun in Qld when I was eight and when we returned to SA, we bought some competitive horses and began racing about six years ago.
“Barrel racing is basically just a clover leaf pattern with drums and you have to cross the track in a certain way in the fastest time.”
After competing in events on the SA Barrel Racing Association and Australian Barrel Horse Association's calendar, Lucy won her way to a spot on state team to attend the ABHA’s national finals at Tamworth in September.
“In SA we have about one barrel racing event each month and about five rodeos across the state each year too,” she said.
“I enjoy meeting the people involved and the connection that grows with your horse.
“Every time you compete you improve.”
More than 700 eager barrel racers from across the country competed at the national event, including seven SA representatives.
Lucy raced twice in the five-day event, to be eventually placed second for the SA division after placing sixth in her national division.
In just her first national competition, Lucy recorded a time of 19.8 seconds in the full course race.
The key is not to just ride really fast, it is about timing and learning to guide your horse into the barrel turns.
“It really was amazing – being able to see the incredible facilities was fantastic,” she said.
“I learnt a lot about teamwork with my horse too, because you have to build a trustworthy relationship with them.”
For her success at the national event, Lucy won a bag of horse feed, a saddlery voucher and a cheque for $150.
“The key is not to just ride really fast, it is about timing and learning to guide your horse into the barrel turns,” Lucy said.
“I like to reach the first barrel really fast but at the right time you need to pull the horse back or else they will not make the turn,” she said.
Lucy has continued her success since she arrived home and came second in the open class at the Marrabel rodeo last weekend.
If Lucy continues to perform well at events she could qualify for the world barrel racing competition, which will be held in the United States next year.
“Hopefully I will work on station one day and l can utilise the foundations of horse work I have learnt,” Lucy said.