A gorgeous winter’s day heralded the beginning of the Southern Eyre Hunt Club’s 10th hunt of the season at The River, 30 kilometres north of Port Lincoln towards Louth Bay on Saturday.
Seeing some tentative green in the paddocks and playful cattle frolicking in the afternoon sun set a picture perfect start to the run.
A total of nine riders braved one of the most challenging courses procured by the club over the past years with lots of natural big logs, a number of capped fences and uphill jumps.
The field started out running down the raceway, with landowner’s son Tyson Mills leading the way for the numerous car followers on the day.
Riders jumped the traditional orange jump alongside a herd of curious cattle, some horses sending them a sideway glance as they cantered along.
Master Tarnya Branson on King Bob led the way, inviting landowner Andrew Mills on Knick Knack to ride alongside her so she did not lose her way through those White River hills.
Issy Blackshaw on Herbie rode alongside Lani Kemp on Murphy who was enjoying her first hunt at the property.
You could not wipe the smiles off of their faces all day, although their fellow Sheoak pals were missing with Issy’s twin Emma Doudle off on holidays and gun rider Rochelle Milnes escorted to Adelaide with mum Karen after breaking her leg the day before.
Deb Henderson on her superstar Air Stryker rode in perfect pairs with landowner and deputy Sheree Mills on Appy, who was constantly keeping an eye out for the pesky photographer in case she had camouflaged herself at every jump again this week.
Angie McGeever on Essence and Restraint flew along brilliantly, this hunt almost marking exact to the day her 10th year of hunting, an absolute astounding achievement, having started on pony Muffin out at the Limestone Lodge hunt when she was eight years old.
Along in the followers we had Joanne Heatlie on Stirling, recently gelded and having never seen log jumps before, she handled him well and he took to it like a puppy discovering the ocean for the first time.
She had him jumping pleasantly by the end of the day.
Alongside her rode Robbie Dunn on his annual visit with his great big steed Bandit.
The Clydesdale cross was impressive, taking on jumps with ease and power, he really was a site to behold as he gathered himself before soaring.
In the car followers we had many of the usual faces, although it was particularly nice to see two previous hunters Ebony Newman and Erin Keough bring young Zac Traegar for a look, although I think there was a secret agenda, Erin’s due date was the following day and they have been hoping the four-wheel-drive would encourage labour.
Alas, no babies were being born on the hunt field today, no, - Tally Ho! – to the nearest hospital, but we will be with you in spirit when it does happen Erin.
After a long and leisurely Stirrup Cup, the last leg of the run went very smoothly, this being the first hunt with no ungraceful dismounts or surprised bottoms on the ground.
Afternoon tea was enjoyed by all, including a delicious apple slice made by Kaylene Turnbull and a soup filled with smokey bacon goodness provided by The River Meats.
It was the perfect way to end the sunny winter’s day.
There is a bye next week due to the EPSJC Show Jumping School, the next hunt will be on Saturday, July 28 at Eastview, 12 kilometres south-west of Cleve at 2pm sharp.
For more information, please contact Stacey Leech on 0428656864 or check out the Southern Eyre Hunt Club Facebook page.