Horse trek follows business failure

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012
peter langford
FREE RANGE: Northland horseman Pete Langford will set off from Bluff tomorrow, with his spell in the saddle ending in six months at Cape Reinga.

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It has taken the loss of everything for Northland man Pete Langford to live his dreams.

He plans to ride 2500 kilometres from Bluff to Cape Reinga on horseback, a trip he said would probably never have happened if not for "unfortunate circumstances".

He lost everything when his business went under last year and he was forced to sell his home in August, he said.

"I suppose you could call it being one of the casualties of the recession," he said.

However, a friend had helped put him into a different head space, he said.

"She told me ‘You're quite fortunate'."

"She told me without a job and without a mortgage, I had a great deal of freedom and could do anything I wanted."

After a few months of planning, Mr Langford and a pair of donated former race horses, Ed and Maddie, will leave Bluff tomorrow.

Mr Langford said he was forced to sell his own horse but the generosity of Christchurch horse trainers Michelle Morrison and Trudi Fleck meant he wouldn't be using "Shanks's pony" for his six-month trek.

Final preparations for the trip have been made in Outram, Otago, with Springle and Shanla Bell.

"The Bells have hosted me on their farm for the last three weeks refusing any kind of financial contribution," Mr Langford said.

There would be challenges on the way but they were what made the experience even more special, he said.

"The terrain will obviously be tough especially in the southern high country, river crossings will also be interesting and the isolation at times will be hard," he said.

Despite riding a horse named Ed, Mr Langford said he would question his sanity if there were too many conversations.

"If I start talking to the horses too much, I know it will be time for some human company."

Mr Langford said he would miss his partner, Karla, but she had given her blessing.

The journey will also raise money for emergency air services.

"I suppose if you are going to have a mid-life crisis you may as well make it for a worthy cause," Mr Langford said.

"The real world will be waiting for me at the other end but for now, I am looking forward to a bloody awesome experience."

Follow Mr Langford's journey at freewitheveryhorse.com

neil.ratley@stl.co.nz

AT A GLANCE 

Route from Bluff to Cape Reinga is 2500 to 3000km. The entire route will be ridden, walked and led (except Cook Strait). The welfare of the horses comes first and isnon-negotiable. He expects to cover about 175km a week, resting for two days after five travelling. He aims to cover 35km a day.

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