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A mix of 20 horses, ranging from Clydesdales to Welsh mountain ponies, paraded from the School of Dentistry to the Octagon.
Also taking part was a pack of hare-hungry harrier hounds, enjoying the off-season before the first hunt in March.
Behind the horses and hounds, steadfast shovellers bucketed the manure from the closed streets.
Ride the Rhythm spokeswoman Gillian Thomas said she expected last-minute ticket sales - especially from people in Dunedin for the New Zealand Masters Games - would see a crowd of more than 3500 people at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
The crowd would also be bolstered by people in Dunedin for the Equestrian Sports New Zealand Otago jumping and hunters championships at the Taieri Agricultural Park near Mosgiel from tomorrow until Sunday.
The riders in the parade yesterday included former Olympians Sally Clark and Maurice Beatson. Mr Beatson would be one of the riders competing in the $50,000 Super Grand Prix event at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
Abba tribute band Bjorn Again will perform at the stadium on Saturday night after the equestrian events.