If you think Cavalcade is all about sleeping under the stars with your saddle as a pillow, the dogs at ya feet and a cold tin of baked beans for brekkie…then think again! Once again Jane Whitmore is leading the (comparatively) luxurious Boundary Wanderers Cloverleaf Trail.
The trail starts at Lawrence on 25 February, 2018 on 6-day adventure ending in the Grand Parade at Owaka on Saturday, 3rd March. We asked Jane Whitmore a few questions to help you get to know the Clover Leaf trail.
Why is it called a ‘Cloverleaf’ trail?
As the name suggests, you ride out each day and return to camp each evening, only shifting camp twice in the week. It’s perfect for first-time Cavalcaders, those who want to take it a bit easier, or those who prefer to set up camp with a few of their own mod-cons – a chilled wine at the end of the day, a hot solar shower, and a day’s lie-in if the forecast is thunderstorms and rain (always a possibility in the deep South!)
Why is it good for First Time Cavalcaders?
When you first start doing cavalcades you are taking a lot in, figuring out how your horse will go, what gear works, the pace, the people etc. Staying in the same location means you don’t have to set up camp each night and deal with all that side of things so it’s less stressful.
It’s also a slightly easier ride, Jane explains. “Some trekkers think there should be tricky bits in a ride to challenge riders, whereas I don’t think there should be. I feel like you can still have a great day’s riding across amazing country without going off fairly formed trails. We do at times but keep it to a minimum. I don’t like bogs – horses can throw shoes and that’s just a pain.”
It’s also good if you have a gammy knee or had a hard night as you can take a day off, rest at camp and join us the next day.
Where is it going this year?
We meet on Sunday 25 February at the Lawrence Rodeo and Gymkhana Grounds in Lawrence.
Monday 26th. Loop ride including Wetherston’s hut and Hart’s homestead and old brewery building. We will be riding through forestry and native bush, and have views of the Blue Mountains and to the south.
Tuesday 27th Round trip towards Waitahuna Heights. We will great views of the Old Man Range and cover some forestry, farm tracks and a couple of river crossings.
Wednesday 28th In the morning we ride out to Gabriel’s Gully. We’ll have morning tea at the local hotel and end back at the rodeo grounds. After lunch we pack up and float to the Owaka Yacht Club at the end of HinaHina Road, Owaka. The evening entertainment is a band.
Thursday 1st A later start after a later night than usual. Ride around the Owaka Heads, Jacks Bay and back.
Friday 2nd. Head out to Jacks Bay, to the blow hole (inspect on foot if you wish). Into forestry to Hina Cove for lunch. Back out to coastal Views along Purakaunui Bay, along the tallest cliffs on the east coast of the South Island (600ft), over Hina Hill and home.
Saturday 3rd. Ride in to Owaka via Pounawea. High noon the Grand Parade and the festivities Owaka have planned for us. Don’t forget to buy your Dinner and Hoedown tickets with this registration.
What type of people do this trek?
People come from all walks of life. (remove second sentence). For some people it’s on their bucket list, for others it’s to come year after year to catch up with friends they never see except on this trail. Most of our group are typically mid 40s up.
What sort of setup is there at the base camp?
Because camp is a bit more established, you will often see people bringing their caravan or campervan or larger tent. A lot of riders also have trucks or have fit-out their floats with showers etc. And quite often some of the riders will bring along partners or friends who are called ‘back-up’ (they help out with setting up camp or saddling up). The ‘back-up’s’ get to know each other and often go out together during the day sightseeing, cycling, trekking, shopping – or even golf. And sometimes they meet the riders for lunch. Both bases have access to cold water and toilet facilities.
What is pretty special this year is that one base is in Lawrence – the start of the Clutha Gold Trail – and the other is at Owaka Yacht Club near the beaches. Back-ups will be able have a beach experience too. And midweek we have a band which will play at the Owaka Yacht Club.
Can you tell me more about the ‘Trail Boss’ and crew?
The term “Trail Boss’ is commonly used to refer to the person responsible for herding cattle. “Together with the wranglers and cooks we spend a lot of time prior to the event going on pre-rides to suss out the trail, organize who’s going to cook the food, and health and safety.
The wranglers this year are Mac Wright and Rex Robson. They basically support me – moving up and down the trail looking out for people. If anyone has issues – some broken gear, help getting on the horse in a moving trail or a horse playing up – they’re the go-to guys.
At the back is Bob Holmes our gofer who has been doing the Cavalcade for years. And he’s awesome following us. He has a purpose built 4×4 and seems to be able to go everywhere – up steep slopes, through rivers. He carries our lunch most days which is a real treat.
Then we have our first aid person – my husband Richard, who should really be named co-trail boss leader!
It’s a lot of organisation by volunteers. What makes you do it?
This is my fourth time coming up. I really enjoy taking it on…the organisation – getting something together that people can come away and enjoy – I get a buzz out of seeing people have a good time. Basically all the Trail Bosses have a genuine commitment to giving people a good experience for the week. It also helps that Terry and the Goldfields crew are really good to work with.
Cavalcade is absolutely unique. Other trails may go for a day or long weekend. But this is the only ride with 9 trails all converging at the end. There’s something about it that draws the same people back every year, it’s really special.
Finally you got time for some quickfire Trail Boss questions?
If I could bring one luxury item on this trip it would be…
I do bring it. The campervan. It’s my luxury item. We tow the float behind.
My day job is…
Police Officer at Balclutha
My favourite cavalcade horse is called…
The one I’m on. Kahlua. He’s brown and white like Kahlua and Milk.
My favourite food on trek
To be honest, I just like the plain homestyle cooking like your mother used to make. I don’t make big meals like lamb roast and spuds so it’s a real treat and I eat pudding every night!
The most indulgent camping set-up I ever saw was..
There was one a big horse truck. As his people rode in he handed them cold beers from an ice bucket.
My preferred saddle
Stock saddles my preference for working young horses. It takes a bit for them to get you out of it
Your cheat trick for getting the horses fit?
I don’t think you can cheat good hard work. The more you ride, the fitter the horses become. It’s important to arrive at the trek with gear that fits. Any breakages or girth rash should have been sorted.
But if I come home at night, real tired then there’s a Plan B. We’ve rigged our quad bike up with d-rings on the rear bar. We loop the lead ropes through the D-rings and sit on the lead ropes. Then the horses trot around after the bike for an allotted period of time or km’s. They love it!
If I was to write a book on my adventures it would be called….Trying not to make the same mistake twice.