The Elgee Park hills were alive with the sounds of Yulgilbar Ranch Cutting this April. After drought, fire and floods at Yulgilbar Station for the past three years, the Yulgilbar Ranch Cutting experienced a hiatus.  The idea was put forth to celebrate the Yulgilbar Quarter Horses 60th Anniversary and reinstate the Yulgilbar Ranch Cutting at the home of the Yulgilbar Quarter Horses, Elgee Park.

Elgee Park, is a diverse property that fattens around 300 head of cattle, runs 30 or so horses and manages the Mornington Peninsula’s oldest vineyard. The park like setting of the property provided the perfect platform for the 2022 Yulgilbar 60th Celebration Ranch Cutting. To ensure every detail was perfected for such a celebration, the Yulgilbar QH and Elgee Park teams worked together to bring some cowboy to the Peninsula.

Yulgilbar Ranch Cutting brings together Yulgilbar friends, family, clients, and trainers for a holiday and fun on horseback. Ranch Cutting is not a school, although if you ask for help or coaching there are some of the best professional cutting horse trainers in Australia more than happy to help. It’s not a competition, although the most outstanding run this year was awarded to Victor Vickers.


At Ranch Cutting, all riders join in the morning muster and gather the cattle from the hilly paddocks that overlook Port Phillip Bay.  The cattle are then driven to a paddock where the ground has been prepared for the day’s cutting. The day ends where everyone ends up in the Stables for a cold one where everyone brags about how good their horse worked with no fences and super fresh, almost perfect cattle.

The cutters started arriving on Friday April 8 where cattle were in the arena waiting to be worked by those seeking some last minute tuning. After all guests arrived and set up their goosenecks or took up residence in glamping tents then all horses were put to bed.

A ranch style dinner of slow cooked smoked brisket was provided in the Elgee Park Art Gallery. Art plays a large part of the uniqueness of Elgee Park where sculptures are also strategically placed throughout the gardens and paddocks.

Early on Saturday, the Elgee Park crew provided a hearty breakfast in the Gallery then after filling their bellies, everyone mounted up to go MUSTERING. This is always a highlight of a Ranch Cutting as some 30 horses and riders assemble to ride across the paddocks to muster the cattle for the days cutting. Mustering at Elgee Park is not only reasonably easy but it is also a wonderful experience as the view on a sunny still morning overlooking Port Phillip Bay to Melbourne is truly breathtaking.

We often forget that the sport we all enjoy started on ranches with ranch hands cutting cattle as part of their day job. Ranch Cutting is all about cutting as it originated, in the wide-open spaces, no fences, often working around the mob.  So, the riders held a herd of about 200 head of cattle on the prepared ground beside a largest dam on the property which is shaded by trees. All riders encircle the herd to hold it in position for the settling.

This is where the action begins. Settling the cattle usually ends up in a few breakaways, and the chase is on. Some young horses who have not been exposed to all the action become a bit excited, and some riders who also have not had the opportunity to ride at speed after an escaping beast can get a little loose in the saddle. It’s all part of the fun and it’s all part of Ranch Cutting. In time the herd is settled and the first cutter enters the herd.

Many family friends who have not been introduced to Ranch Cutting were invited to spectate. It was never expected that so many would take up the invitation, but they did. Every space provided for spectators was taken up and they all enjoyed watching the action. As it often happens, some of the spectators wanted to “have a go”. A few who were very competent riders were given the opportunity to cut a few cows out of the herd and had the ride of their life.  Others who were not confident to work a cow, were able to ride a horse working the mechanical cow or given a riding lesson in a western saddle.

At the end of the day the cattle were driven back to their paddock. Of course, there were cold ones at the Stables and then…all assembled for the night’s festivities. The Elgee Park team really turned on a night of all nights. A huge teepee was erected in the Hill Top paddock. The view is just spectacular from this paddock especially at night where the lights of Melbourne and extending towns and cities along the Bay can be seen. The teepee was surrounded by string lighting that enclosed the PARTY. As guests arrived for the Party, tables were laden with charcuterie boards as margaritas, beer and Elgee Park wine was passed around to arrivals. Then an Argentine barbeque was served, followed by an assortment of delicious sliders to ensure every single person was filled to the brim.

A Ranch Cutting regular, Golden Guitar and multi award winning country music celebrity, Amber Lawrence along with her band understands exactly how to warm up any party. Being one of the Ranch Cutting family she knows how to get the party really rockin! Amber loves to invite budding singers and entertainers up on stage to sing along with her. Both family and friends got up on the stage and belted out songs much to the delight of the crowd. What a night it was!


Sunday morning started with a big breakfast, a few sore heads from the night before and another muster. Again, the day was full of laughter, good cutting and so much fun. After lunch cutters started to pack up and drive home having experienced cutting in its purest form as well as the hospitality of the Yulgilbar and Elgee Park family and staff.

It’s no secret that everyone who is involved in Ranch Cutting enjoys it due to the enormous planning and effort that goes into the production of the event. It’s a thumbs up to all at Elgee Park for another successful Ranch Cutting and the opportunity to celebrate 60 years of Yulgilbar Quarter Horses.