I started Ranch Sorting in 2016 after attending a clinic with Dave Schaffner at Ranch Sorting Dubbo. From the start, I was so impressed with how inclusive the sport is as well as the producers. I had been and tried most other penning and cow sports in the region, but didn't find a place where I didn't feel like I was just making up the numbers. The encouragement from the more experienced riders is something that will also stay with me, and even today I will park myself up near riders like Dawn Barwick, one of our best in the country, and listen to what she has to say. They are only too happy to help out any rider wanting to know more.
To anyone thinking about giving a go, you won't be disappointed. The producers are more than happy to step you through the process from the start, filling out the forms might seem daunting but once you have done it once it all makes sense.
The handicap class system is the fairest in any equestrian sport. It enables even new riders the chance to do well against the more experienced and having mandatory autopicks also means every rider who competes comes knowing they will walk away knowing one more person than they did before. It also makes it a fantastic sport to run, the support from the other clubs is amazing and they really want each other to succeed. I personally have been on the committee of running quite a few sporting clubs, and the support provided with Ranch Sorting has been the best by far.
Ranch Sorting is safe and family friendly, providing opportunities for the beginner rider right up to those wanting to compete at a national level. We are very passionate about it here at our club in Forbes, central west NSW and have seen firsthand the social and emotional benefits for our community, providing an outlet and place of enjoyment during times of drought and hardship.
Give it a go, you've got nothing to lose and just a whole lot of friends to gain.
Melissa West, Secretary Forbes Sorting & Penning