Hugh Miles is well known for his success both competing in the campdrafting arena, and as a professional trainer outside.
Hugh spends his days riding, on his property just outside of Tamworth. Running the property and training horses for both cutting and campdrafting is no easy feat, having both clients and his own horses to ready for competition.
“Training starts at about 6:30am, daylight to dark riding horses, training 5 to 6 days a week.”
Most of the horses Hugh trains stay for long term periods, where he works with them before competing with them himself, readying them for sale in the future or otherwise for breeding.
Hugh started campdrafting when he was 12 years old. Having horses growing up but no family involved in campdrafting, Hugh learned from anyone willing to share their insight into the sport. He listened closely to his mentors to find out what worked best for him.
“I learned from listening and observing and from my own experience. Some advice you would take on and other parts wouldn’t work from me. I knew how to ride and had some handy horses I started on, and they taught me more than anyone. I hadn’t done any campdrafting, but they were well trained, so I used them, and they taught me. I used those horses for a long time.”
Some memorable competition moments for Hugh include being awarded the NSW Open Rider Title in 2017/2018 before the drought and covid cause a brief hiatus for the sport.
The Campdrafting community is bouncing back at full force and Hugh is continuously competing. Recently Hugh placed second by .33 of a point at ‘Wilinga Park’ in the middle of May, one of the most prestigious events in the Campdraft calendar, and a favourite event of the Tamworth local.
“It’s a good community with a lot of great people involved. With all very like-minded people and good community feel. There are a lot of people who come from different walks of life, not just off the land and a lot of people from different parts of the world. I feel lucky to be brought up in that sort of environment. You all become friends and it is like a big family.”
Hugh will compete in about 10 more competitions in 2022, with the next being Cloncurry in a few weeks’ time. A three-day trip with 16 horses, proves the love involved to compete at such a distance.
“Campdrafting is heading in a positive direction, with the likes of Terry Snow involved and big players such as Ringers Western coming onboard to support the sport. We have seen growth in bigger events and more prize money and it’s a great step for the sport, making it profitable for athletes, as well the increased value in horses. It’s a great time to be in the horse game and is a fun way to make money!”