You would be forgiven for thinking that this past weekend was indeed, the beginning of September.
The sun was shining in a clear blue sky and 12 riders prepared their horses for a long and very warm ride through the surrounds of Arno Bay.
The lack of rain on the Eyre Peninsula made this an extremely different hunt to most years.
Usually, the grounds and properties of the Pankala run are lush and wet, but on this Sunday, the ground was dry as bone and left those standing in the wake of cantering horses awash with dust.
The afternoon started with the decision junior master Rochelle Milnes on her beautiful chestnut mare Connie, would lead the field, along with deputy master Grace Kemp on her new horse Lamu Lad and Sheree Mills as field master on Appy.
President Tarnya Branson on Trixie, had been brimming with excitement all weekend knowing that someone special would be riding beside her all day.
Her husband, Troy Branson, had decided to join the field on Shan for their first full hunt together.
Tarnya was obviously thrilled and even more so because she had not had to bribe him and you could not wipe the smile from her face all day.
Troy rode like he had never left the saddle and garnered many enthralled comments on his riding abilities throughout the afternoon, especially as there were people amongst the car followers who remembered him from his more serious riding days some 20 years ago. And while Tarnya is probably tempted to drop things on the floor for him to pick up over the next few days and watch him cringe as the muscles he used on Sunday remind him they have been in hibernation for a few years, I think it’s safe to say she will be nice as pie in hope of seeing him out in the field again a few more times this hunting season.
Amongst all the excitement of the ‘token male’ joining the field it was fantastic having Deb Henderson join us again on her mount Midge.
Young Alison Turnbull looked a pretty picture and a perfect riding match for borrowed mount Jerry and jumped well alongside the junior master.
Issy Blackshaw has been a joy to watch grow in confidence as she soared over jumps on Herbie, while Lani Kemp on Zack and Emma Doudle on Murphy rode with giant smiles on their faces all day.
Karen Milnes on Mojo rocked the field in her usual style, taking everything on with enthusiasm, except maybe the offering of a port shandy at Stirrup Cup.
Danielle Humphries rode Clover at a constant speed in the followers, taking on jumps here and there as her confidence increased.
Seeing as it was such a beautiful warm day, the ride along the coast was especially welcomed.
Riders flew down the squeaky white sand and through the shallows, spraying onlookers with vigour. It was clear, they got a little too much enjoyment out of this but car followers soon returned the favour along the plains on the ride back where they generated enough dust to warrant a vacuum cleaner be in demand at the end of the day.
A delicious afternoon tea was laid out upon their return to the property of Jon and Leonie Mills, where Kaylene Turnbull’s pumpkin soup was labelled ‘the nectar of the Gods’ by Doug Doudle, who needed some restorative potion after being the only car follower to incur a fine for leaving his camera case (lens included!) on the front of a vehicle for the last third of the run.
I am pretty sure his heart was beating faster than the hooves of a thousand horses once he realised it was missing but luckily for him I’m an excellent driver and don’t need a new lens for my camera just yet!
Overall, it was a lovely day; great weather, great company and a fantastic day for everyone involved.
We would like to express a special thanks to landowners Jon and Leonie Mills, Peter and Kaylene Turnbull and Greg Baker for the use of their properties for this beautiful northern run.
Next week’s hunt will be held on Saturday, June 24 at 2pm at The River, 2699 Lincoln Highway.
Please see the club’s Facebook page for more information:
www.facebook.com/SouthernEyreHuntClubInc/ or contact Stacey on 0428 656 864. Tally Ho!