Hon­our­ing ‘brave men, horses’

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - PAM JONES pam.jones@odt.co.nz

MORE than 100 years ago, they were es­sen­tial sol­diers on horse­back, rid­ing into ac­tion then dis­mount­ing to fight as in­fantry­men.

Now the con­tri­bu­tion of the Mounted Ri­fles to New Zealand’s World War 1 his­tory is re­mem­bered through a char­i­ta­ble trust that helps present day sol­diers, too.

The New Zealand Mounted Ri­fles Char­i­ta­ble Trust was formed in 2015 fol­low­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of rid­ers on their horses in World War 1 com­mem­o­ra­tions in North Can­ter­bury in that year.

The trust hon­oured those ‘‘brave men and horses’’ of 100 years ago, and raised aware­ness and money for cur­rent sol­diers with post­trau­matic stress dis­ or­der, trust pres­i­dent Mark Ap­ple­ton said.

About a dozen mem­bers of the Mounted Ri­fles from North Can­ter­bury are in Cen­tral Otago for the district’s Ar­mistice Day cel­e­bra­tions, which have been or­gan­ised by the Alexan­draC­lyde, Cromwell and Roxburgh RSAs and cen­tre on Alexandra.

Mem­bers of the trust vis­ited Alexandra and Clyde school pupils yesterday and are sched­uled to visit Roxburgh res­i­dents and Alexandra rest­homes today.

The rid­ers and their horses will also take cen­tre stage in mounted games in Pioneer Park today and to­mor­row, and fea­ture in the Ar­mistice Day pa­rade in Alexandra to­mor­row.

Many other adults and Cen­tral Otago pony club rid­ers will join the Mounted Ri­fles, both in the games and the ‘‘100 horse’’ pa­rade.

PHOTO: PAM JONES

Trusty steeds . . . New Zealand Mounted Ri­fles Char­i­ta­ble Trust pres­i­dent Mark Ap­ple­ton with Kruz and trust rider Anna Kee­han with Ted.

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