Honouring ‘brave men, horses’
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.
Trusty steeds . . . New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust president Mark Appleton with Kruz and trust rider Anna Keehan with Ted.