Cowboy challenge course to be built in Lawrence


Cowboy culture is “exploding” in the Clutha district, and a new “cowboy challenge” obstacle course could help enable that.

Lawrence Cowboy Challenge committee chairwoman Natassja Tairua said the committee was “just waiting for the diggers” to begin construction on the course on public land at the Lawrence Gymkhana Club grounds.

“It will probably only take a couple of good working bees to get it up and running . . .there are a lot of people who are good at building things in the club,” Mrs Tairua said.

An open day for the public was projected to be held in December, with club members testing out the course before that.

There was an estimated build cost of $20,000 already acquired through fundraising by the committee and community grants.

The cowboy challenge involves the rider taking their mount through “basically everything that would be a bit scary for a horse”.

“There are log jumps, and terraces built into the hills to utilise the height. Walking over bridges, through tunnels.

“The point of it is to train the horse to be brave.”

Attempts at the course were timed, but the focus was not speed.

“Points are awarded based on how strong the connection is between the rider and the horse.”

The sport originated in the United States, but is creeping into other countries, and is rapidly increasing in popularity in New Zealand. However, course availability was not keeping up with demand, Mrs Tairua said.

“The nearest course is in Pukerau, near Gore. Then after that the closest is Waimate.

“We want people here to be able to take part without having to travel halfway across the country.”