Michael Wilson of Willdraft Stud in Australia began breeding horses 30 years ago. He began by breeding a handful of mares which had proven themselves in the show pen. It didn’t take him long once he began his training operation to determine what mares produced offspring which were easy to train, willing to perform and of sound conformation. Once he figured that out he started breeding more mares and his breeding operation has continued to grow based on those criteria for his foals. He has won many major awards throughout the years but the ones he finds most rewarding are those he won on the horses he bred, raised and trained.
The Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge is regarded as one of the greatest horse events in Australia. Most Australian horseman dream of winning this event once in their lifetime but Michael has won it twice, once in 2007 with Willdraft Ignite and again in 2010 aboard Willdraft Reflection by Soda Justice. His other prestigious awards include six Australia Stock Horse State Supreme Working Championships, championships at the Royal Sydney and Royal Melbourne shows, a win at the National ASH Maturity, and many wins in the Campdraft arena.
Campdrafting is a truly unique equestrian sport in Australia. This event combines several American equestrian disciplines such as cutting, working cow horse, team penning and ranch sorting into one event. A single horse and rider team must select one cow from a herd (camp) of no less than six then they must turn the cow two or three times to prove to the judge that they have it under control. Once control is proven the horse and rider, along with their cow, are let into the yard to maneuver a course around pegs which involve right and left hand turns in the shape of a figure eight. Once the pattern is complete they must turn the cow through two pegs known as “the gate.” The team must complete the outside course in less than 40 seconds. The event is scored on how well each maneuver is executed. What kind of horse in Australia can do all of these tasks in a single event…only the Australian Stock Horse.
Willdraft Stud owns both an Australian Stock Horse stallion and a Quarter Horse stallion. Soda Justice by Warrenbri Romeo out of Nabinabah Twinkle, is a 2001 registered Heritage Stock Horse with the Australian Stock Horse Society. To be considered a Heritage Stock Horse it must be found that a registered Australian Stock Horse have an extensive pedigree back to Australian bred horses of the Waler era whose ancestors are predominately of the same breeds as horses ridden by the Australian Light Horse in WWI. Soda Justice has won 12 camp drafts, 16 cut outs, was the Q11 Super Cow Horse Champion, and is the full brother to multiple winning campdrafters. He will compete in this year’s Warwick Gold Cup, the Canning Downs and the Stallion Campdraft. Michael will also compete at the Warwick Gold Cup on Blue Jay Justine, an open campdraft mare by Soda Justice.
Reysn Hell (QH) is by the American Quarter Horse and #2 Leading Cutting Sire, Dual Rey. He is out of the leading money earning mare in Australia and NCHA Triple Crown winner One Hellofa Spin (Docs Spinifex x Rocs Stardust). This three year old stallion is in training with Aaron Wheatley in preparation for his show debut at the 2013 Australian NCHA Cutting Futurity. When asked about this young stallion Michael said, “Reysn Hell’s first foals have started to be born and look great. We believe he will make a great cutting horse sire and campdraft sire too.”
Michael chose Dr. Angus McKinnon of Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital, an SBS Affiliate Laboratory in Victoria, Australia, to freeze semen from both stallions owned by Willdraft Stud. The decision to freeze semen was made so Willdraft Stud could reach a lot more breeders through Australia. Soda Justices’s offspring are winning in every discipline all over Australia whether it be the show ring or cattle horse events. When asked why he chose an SBS affiliate laboratory Michael said: