2020 may well have been a challenging year for most, but it was also one in which Charles Darwin University Rural Operations student Kristy Gamble developed a set of skills that will underpin her ambitions to work in the horse industry.
Based at the Katherine Rural campus, Kristy learnt about fences, stock water supply maintenance and how to prepare horses for competitions as part of her VET in Senior Schools study for a Certificate III in Rural Operations, which she’s on course to complete this year.
Under normal circumstances, she would also have been part of a team that exhibited campus horses and Brahman Stud cattle at the Katherine and Darwin Shows – generally regarded as annual highlights – although these were cancelled last year on account of the threat posed by Covid-19.
Nonetheless, Kristy did get to put theory into practice in 2020, showing horses at a gymkhana in Katherine as well as taking part in an internal competition run by course organisers.
“I have shown cattle before but this was my first time with horses so it was great to understand what show day will be like and hopefully we can compete more in 2021,” she said.
“I’ve had some great teachers like (program organiser) Russell Young, who is an absolute magician.
“Any problem I had, I went to him. He is a great teacher and easy to understand.”
As for this year, Kristy said: “There’s more to do. I think I’ll do the welding and automotive courses, continue to work with the horses and do the shows.”
Rural campus Team Leader Alison Haines has a similar mindset for 2021.
“We’re planning for a renewed Katherine and Royal Darwin Show this year. We’re also planning to take our best students and cattle to Beef 2021 in Rockhampton in May,” she said.
“We also hope to have students compete in the Australia National Beef Paraders Championship and the National Rural Ambassador Awards in conjunction with the Katherine Show.”
Ms Haines said last year’s group had been outstanding despite the obvious challenges presented by COVID-19.
“They’ve made the most of a difficult year and we have greatly enjoyed having them on campus,” she said.
“Congratulations to those who have graduated and all the best for your futures. We look forward to working with some of you as apprentices and industry trainees in the future.
“We also look forward to seeing our continuers this year and to welcome the new VET in Senior Schools groups.”