Hunt holds final event of the season

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Horses and hounds have pounded Central Otago’s countryside for the district’s final hunt of the season.

Central Otago Hunt members marked the end of the season with an event across parts of Oturehua and Poolburn on June 16-17, attracting riders from around the district and further afield.

On some occasions, participants have travelled from as far away as Northland and Te Anau to take part in the hunts, which occur regularly from March to June.

Secretary Jane Rimmer said an estimated 60 people took part in the final hunt of the season, including one boy aged about 5.

Participants – both members and visitors – hunted across the wide open spaces on their horses, jumping fences while following about 24 hounds.

Miss Rimmer said the landscape was among the main drawcards.

“The big open country is what makes it exciting for us and, of course, the camaraderie.

“It’s a non-competitive sport [and] it’s attractive to a variety of people.”

Participants spend the night in either their horse trucks or shearers quarters, unless they are provided with billeted accommodation.

Central Otago Hunt has experienced “huge” growth this year, welcoming 21 new members who will next year help celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Miss Rimmer said the hunt was considerably younger than many other hunts around the country.

However, it was an anniversary still worth celebrating.

“We’re the youngest hunt in New Zealand,” she said.

“Some are up to 135 years in the North Island.”