Riders saddle up

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 10:37 23/11/2012

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Riders in a town where horses outnumber people are saddling up for one of the biggest equine events Glenorchy has hosted in three decades this morning, organisers say.

The three-day series of treks through some of the most stunning scenery in the Wakatipu, started off as a fundraiser for the 126-year-old Birchwood Hunt Club in Otautau - an event that pulled in about 60 participants last year - but swelled to 140 this year after Glenorchy horse trekking stables owner Deana Irvine offered to host it on her home turf this weekend.

She had gone out on a ride with the Otautau Hunt Club earlier in the year, wanted to help out with fund raising, and this gave people a chance to ride through private land that wouldn't usually be accessible, she said.

The head of the lake was also well known as being a horsey area, as the location of the annual Glenorchy Horse Races.

Hunt club secretary Suzie Elmes said Glenorchy was definitely the big pull this year.

''Numbers had dwindled and dwindled in the last few years ... Deana very very kindly offered to host (the fundraiser) this year and I told the committee 'right, this is Glenorchy, this is big'."

Once the setting was established, an email was sent out - entries quickly came in from around the South Island.

Five or six people had even come down from Auckland to take part, she said.

The day treks - which will begin and end from the same location - will take riders through the Rees Valley, Mt Juda, Paradise Valley, up to Lovers Leap, and swimming in Diamond Lake with the horses before returning.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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