Back-country paddock restoration to continue

Wairio Hack Club members ride horses to Beech and Cowshed huts to restore horse paddocks in the...
Wairio Hack Club members ride horses to Beech and Cowshed huts to restore horse paddocks in the Eyre Mountains. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Horse riders are vowing to continue to raise money to buy waratahs and wire to restore more horse paddocks at back-country huts in Southland.

Wairio Hack Club president George Broughton, a farmer at Scott’s Gap near Otautau, said more than 30 riders, including eight primary school pupils, attended a club fundraising event at Longridge Station in Balfour last month.

The fun day included a three-hour horse trek and games such as riders popping balloons with sticks covered in barbed wire, and a relay involving riders collecting cups of water to fill a bucket.

The money raised bought materials to restore horse paddocks at two back-country huts — Beech and Cowshed — in the Eyre Mountains last month.

On the horse paddock restoration mission were 17 people, 14 horses and a few four-wheel-drive vehicles.

An 8-year-old boy and his father were on the trip.

Involving children in the project was important, Mr Broughton said.

"If you have that age group involved then they’ll look after it in the future."

A cool moment on the final day was hearing the horn of the Kingston Flyer steam train.

Club members had now restored five horse paddocks at back-country huts and future club plans included holding more fun days to restore more horse paddocks.

A horse paddock at Cowshed Hut in the Eyre Mountains has been restored.
A horse paddock at Cowshed Hut in the Eyre Mountains has been restored.
Club member Jess Wallace, of Riverton, rode a pack horse on the latest trip.

"It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this — I was completely out of my comfort zone," she said.

On the first night at Cowshed Hut she was "roughing it in a tiny cocoon tent".

"It was hailing and everything was frozen in the morning — it was gnarly conditions."

A self-proclaimed "townie", she was proud to have survived the night.

The second day on the horses to Beech Hut included about 20 river crossings including through challenging deep water.

"The trail wasn’t marked, so it was quite a ramble," she said.

She was "stoked" to be part of the successful mission.

"It was good fun and I’m keen to go back in and do it all again."

shawn.mcavinue@alliedpress.co.nz

 

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