After a week or so in Christchurch (and several loads of washing done at Alison’s – thank you!) we were off again.
Since I first saw scurry racing at the Hororata Games two years ago I’ve been keen to see more, and finally we found ourselves in the right place (Canterbury) at the right time. As the racing was over a whole weekend we took T5 with us, and after much trial and error and a surprise trip through the yard of a riding school as it was impossible to turn round at the end of the wrong narrow road, we found the View Hill Domain near Oxford and such a lovely sight – seeming hundreds of ponies (actually about 25) of all shapes and sizes. Horse boxes, carts and light carriages and electric-fenced-off small yards dotted the perimeter on two sides. As it was a public Domain (park) we were free to take T5 right in and park under the trees on one side, but when racing finished for the day at 3 pm and we realised we couldn’t get a signal on the TV, decided to go on to Sheffield for the night and return next day in the ute.
The first day was a fun day, most ponies and carts sported christmassy decorations, and the obstacle courses had christmas themes. We did not arrive till lunch time so missed most of the early races. No matter, what we saw whetted our photographic appetites for more – much more!
Back next morning, the serious stuff had begun. This was to select representatives for the national racing at the Oxford A&P Show on 2nd April next year.
Many people had more than one pony and/or more than one cart/carriage. Two competitors had come down from the north island, one of them with a matching pair of greys pulling an elegant carriage. There were fat little ponies pulling people almost as large as them, sleek Welsh cobs, gorgeous piebalds, and one showy black which seemed to have high-stepped straight out of Rotten Row in Victorian England. Some of the ‘carts ‘ were truly elegant, made in NZ or Australia or even imported from the UK.
Only one accident could have marred the day when an ultra-light carriage tipped out both occupants on a turn and the horse bolted, but there was no damage to anything or anyone apart from pride. Dave snapped them just before the tipping-out point.
We stayed at the back of the Sheffield Hotel for two nights, a surprisingly OK campground with a shower and toilet and power which didn’t always work. We had dinner at he Hotel one night, there were two huge party groups but they managed to squeeze us in and the food was delightful. I was impressed by the table decorations and the atmosphere in general and would recommend the restaurant for a meal on the way back from Arthurs Pass although Sheffield being off the main route back to town probably misses out on much of the through traffic.
So back to an increasingly green chestnut orchard for a few days. A Facebook entry from an Irish friend showed some of the trauma teddies I knitted recently (the ones with tasselled scarves) plus some knitted by other people. Good to know they made the trip to Ireland safely and are now hopefully with refugee children.
Scurry racing NZ has a Facebook page with lots more action photos.
Here’s a video I found on Youtube from 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwTu3nJqAW0