with Horse and Hound

Phantasmagorial New Zealand (Part 2)

hunt sat0011Central Otago Hunt, South Island, New Zealand

Second and final installment by national award-winning journalist and author Karin Winegar

At midweek Glynne Smith, MFH of the Central Otago Hounds (COH) and I drove up to a meet above the Ida Valley. Mountains stretched away below us in silver, slate, lichen and plum. Glynne greeted farmers driving a pickup truck carrying a wrinkle-nosed ram uphill in spatters of cold rain, shepherds crooks rising from their truck bed.

Chill wind buffeted the phantasmagorical rocks at the top of the ridge where we unloaded the horses. Lord of the Rings Riders of Rohan scenes were filmed in this forlorn country. And Ted Ottry, a COH whipper-in who had been an extra in the film, rides a white Thoroughbred he purchased from the Lord of the Rings herd.

A few minutes after moving off, we faced an uphill six-strand bare wire fence. Etta easily sailed it, and Glynne zoomed past me grinning under his white mustache: “Ha! Now you are one of us.”

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