Rain builds behind Twin Peaks Station, south of Omarama, as
riders on the Lindis to Lowburn trail make progress during
last year's Cavalcade. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The four-legged beasts enjoy the Otago Goldfields
Cavalcade just as much as the two-legged ones. So says veteran
cavalcader Jeanette McKay (68), of Springvale, near Alexandra,
who has taken part in all 20 cavalcades. She will saddle up
quarter horse Josh today for her 21st.
''You can tell the horses love it - there's no trouble
catching them in the morning; they're waiting at the gate for
you. They'll go anywhere with you and, hell, we take them in
some pretty bloody hairy places. And, after a while, the
horse gets that way where they'll look after you while you're
Mrs McKay is one of six riders hitting the 21-year milestone
on this year's ''Panning the Pomahaka'' cavalcade. It
features eight trails - three riding, three walking and two
wagon trails - all converging on Tapanui on March 2.
She is on the Gambler's Last Hand trail, led by trail boss
Stu Moore, which begins at Rocklands Station in the Clarks
Junction area. She says camaraderie comes to the fore on the
cavalcade, but there is a fair bit of rivalry between the
Jeanette McKay, of Springvale (right), with Josh, is one of
six riders who will set off today for their 21st Otago
Goldfields Cavalcade, having taken part in all the previous
events. Among those joining her are Fred McElrea, of
Auckland, on his third cavalcade, and Susan St
Clair-Newman, of Omakau, with Wilson, on her second
cavalcade. Mr McElrea is borrowing a horse, Emma, from
Shirley Dignan, of Alexandra (left). Photo by Lynda van
''Most of the regulars stick with one trail boss - I like
Stu and the people who travel with him. There is a fair bit of
cheek thrown about, but you learn that early on.''
One of the attractions of the event is showing the
countryside to new cavalcaders, she says.
''Old hands like me like seeing the new people come along -
they help keep you young ... and sometimes they'll even open
the gates for you and catch your horse in the morning.''
One of the ''new'' people on the same trail as Mrs McKay this
time around is Susan St Clair-Newman, (38), of Omakau.
''I'd wanted to do the cavalcade for 20 years and then moved
up here from Dunedin two years ago, found out the cavalcade
destination [last year] was Cromwell, so thought: It's meant
The event more than lived up to her expectations, she said.
''It was the most exhilarating, awesome experience of my
life. I'm well and truly hooked now.''
Mrs McKay said: ''There's not many who do the cavalcade and
don't come back for the next one. You drive into camp at the
start ... the place is just buzzing; people want to give you
a hug or shake your hand, they're so pleased to see you