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Alone, the landscape of Otago inspires.
Sally Rae and Stephen Jaquiery
Add to its unforgiving charm a lineage of hardy characters, their steeds and the memory of pioneering gold-diggers, and the result is a recipe for enduring success.
Such is the Cavalcade.
Sally Rae and Stephen Jaquiery live in, and love, the Otago landscape.
Their collaboration Gold Dust and Saddle Bags: Tales from the Cavalcade (The Halcyon Press 2012) explains why.
But the book itself is not an exercise in self-promotion.
Rae allows the men and women of the Cavalcade to speak for themselves.
It is their stories and their spirit in the text - adventures on the Cavalcade through their eyes.
The language of the book is simple, honest and funny - staying true to those to whom it is attributed.
Likewise, Jaquiery's photographs need no explanation.
Without reading a single word the reader can grasp the Cavalcade's history, location, purpose and above all - emotion.
The many portraits of key characters bring to life their efforts to explain the passion they share for the annual event.
What becomes apparent throughout the book is that despite the varied backgrounds of Cavalcaders, their shared addiction to the ride forms a common thread.
Some love horses, others the landscape. A few enjoy the break from civilisation and most savour the friendships forged.
For the majority, it is a combination of all of the above which draws them year after year.
Gold Dust and Saddle Bags pays homage to the Cavalcade's founding members and, in turn, all those who have made it the unique experience and successful enterprise that it continues to be.
The book offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Cavalcade, and is also in part a historic account.
Overall, it aims to capture what the lucky few can claim to have experienced.
For Otago's rural residents, the book is an important and much-loved part of life documented.
For city slickers, it is an inspiration, an escape and a reminder that no matter how old or inexperienced, anyone can be a part of the journey.
All anyone needs is backbone and a sense of humour.