Two wheels may be good, but four legs are better for rail trail riders

Kirsty Mann and Tosca (left) and Tsarina Dellow and Zulu navigate their way along the Otago...
Kirsty Mann and Tosca (left) and Tsarina Dellow and Zulu navigate their way along the Otago Central Rail Trail near Omakau yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Tosca and Zulu are not your typical rail trailers.

But the Arab cross and Friesian Clydesdale, are taking their riders Kirsty Mann and Tsarina Dellow on a tour of Central Otago.

While most people ride the Otago Central Rail Trail on bicycles, the pair, of Hanmer Springs, decided to take their horses instead.

After spending Wednesday night at the Dunstan Equestrian Centre, they left Clyde for Chatto Creek on Thursday.

They have been supported by Mrs Dellow’s in-laws, Warren Dellow and Leonie Cameron, of Nelson, who have been touring the district in their camper van.

Mr Dellow and Ms Cameron’s plans to tour the district meant they were able to transport the horse float as required.

Mrs Dellow and Ms Mann, who have done a lot of back-country treking together over the years, decided to tour the rail trail following a year of restricted travel.

Ms Mann is riding the entire length of the trail, while Mrs Dellow is going as far as Wedderburn.

Their previous excursions have included a pack horse to help carry their gear, but thanks to their support crew, they have been able to travel lighter and at a more leisurely pace this time.

They have also been able to enjoy luxuries that are not usually on their itinerary, including restaurants and spa pools.

"There’s no stopping for salmon bagels, normally," Mrs Dellow said.

As they set in for the night at the Chatto Creek Tavern on Thursday it was not just Ms Mann and Mrs Dellow enjoying their surrounds.

Tosca and Zulu were also treated to five-star service.

"They had a whole lovely grassy paddock and fresh water and a couple of cows for company," Mrs Dellow said.

Ms Mann said they get a lot of comments, including from cyclists asking if they would like to swap their mode of transport.

"Of course, the answer is always ‘no’."

The duo have enjoyed their journey and sharing the trail with cyclists.

One of the best ways to share a trail with a horse, particularly if cyclists are coming from behind was to give some warning, by calling out "hello" a distance back.

"We can sort the rest," Ms Mann said.


The nearest experience i'v had of four-legged walking is with my Nordic poles!




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