A lifetime of passion, commitment and determination has enabled Pete Comiskey to become one of the most accomplished competitors in the uniquely Australian Sport of Campdrafting. There is hardly a title that he has not won in the past twenty years. Pete has achieved a level of Success that sets him apart fro his peers and attests to his eye for detail and knowing what it takes to keep his horses in peak condition. Preparation and timing are key factors in the sport and Pete's story is the stuff of legends.
Queensland Cattleman, Pete Comiskey has earned a reputation as one of Australia's finest stockmen and in 2009 he was named Australian Champion Rider by The Australian Campdraft Association - for the 15th time.
Pete has travelled great distances to match skills against the best in the country and his long standing prominence on the Australian Campdrafting Association Honour Board is legendary and it will be a long time before his talent can be matched.
The now 39 year old Pete, first won the title in 1991 and again in 1995 and has only missed the award once (in 2001), since. Stockmen rely on a special relationship with their horse and this starts with instinctive horsemanship and the individual's skill as a trainer. Pete told me that the whole family take an interest and success starts at home with a breeding program based around the strengths of his best performing mares.
Pete grew up on the 42,000 acre cattle property Lyra Park, in Capella, Queensland and working stock has always been part of his life. Peter Comisky senior is a keen and successful Campdrafter, so it was a natural step that the family would follow in his footsteps.
Peter Jnr (Pete) his wife Lexi and their two sons Clayton 13 and Justin 8 now live on Westpoint, a 16,600 acre property which is situated via Nebo, west of Mackay. The Comisky's run 2500 head of Brahmans and Santa Gertrudas. Lexi rides very well and Clayton and Justin are taking on board the lessons handed down through the generations. "Campdrafting seems to run in the family, my cousin Leeanne also enjoys success in her classes on the Campdrafting circuit.
I asked Pete how he came by his good horses and he said, "We have around about 30 horses on our property and this makes us a significant sized stud for purpose bred cattle horses. There is quite a lot of planning that goes into a successful mating and the early development 'makes or breaks' future potential. Good nutrition from the moment of conception is vital if my horses are going to stand up to the extraordinary demands that will be necessary if they are to be my stars of the future" Pete said.
"I am really pleased with the results that I have achieved since I switched the mares and youngstock onto BioMare Cubes. For the older horses we feed EasiPrep Concentrate, EasiResponse, EasiResult and EasiOil - depending on the requirements of the individual horse ... and the stage in their training.
Prydes feeds are the best I have ever used and the good health and fitness of my team is a huge factor in my success - I only wish I had Prydes feeds behind me in the early days, it has helped me to get the best out of horses with different temperaments and differing natural ability!"
Pete is also a judge and I asked him what he would look for when assessing a winning performance, he said, "What I would like to see is a horse that can remain focused on a beast, I guess this will be a horse that has had a lot of training and can cut a beast out of a mob, holding him out and show his ability to manoeuvre the beast.
Then I would like to see flowing circles - an athletic horse that can really run and then block a cow, the horse must be easy to manage and make the job look easy. The rider needs to be lucky enough to select a beast that will allow him to show his skill. You need everything to go well - it is not enough just to be a good horseman or ride a good horse. Campdraft competitors must also be good cattleman too, the beast has got to be there to pick ... and instinctive feeling for the right choice only comes from years of experience. Success is a combination of getting everything right along with a measure of good luck on top."
Pictured below is Pete with his favourite horse - a 14 year old mare called Roanys Chex. He commented, "I have no preference for mares or geldings, I just like good horses. I would love to have a few more like Roanys Chex, she is a star!"
Pete is enjoying the increasing popularity of Campdrafting and says that good competition makes everyone improve. Better horses along with better and more thorough training, is seeing more money in the sport ... so the future is rosy and I hope to be on top for a long while yet.