Mounted rifles trust debut in Wairarapa

By Andrew Bonallackeditor@age.co.nz -
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Mike Donaldson, left, and Terry King, from the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust, march their horses on to Fitzherbert St in Featherston. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
Mike Donaldson, left, and Terry King, from the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust, march their horses on to Fitzherbert St in Featherston. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

If you're looking for the mounted rifles to march down your street, it's all about making a booking -- or starting a North Island chapter.

Four members of The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust were in Masterton and Featherston over the weekend for scheduled appearances to support wartime events. The riders, dressed in World War I uniform and equipment, brought their horses up on the Bluebridge ferry from Christchurch.

Rider Mark Appleton said the trust's members and horses can be booked for appearances, with money earned going towards the Fallen Heroes Trust.

Speaking to the Times-Age on Sunday at a charity fundraising luncheon in Featherston, Mr Appleton said it was great to be in Wairarapa, a locality they had never travelled to before.

He, Fletcher Earl, Mike Donaldson and Terry King made up a guard of honour at Featherston's Anzac Hall as part of a fundraiser for the Featherston Camp memorial sculpture.

He said the trust is based in Christchurch and has chapters in Otago and Southland.

With the centenary commemorations of World War I happening over four years, they are "reasonably busy", he said. They have about 20 members in Christchurch.

"Trevor and Mike are both ex-services, but we have civilians," adding that they are all "horse people". "Fletcher has just turned 16 -- a similar age to some of the soldiers."

Mr Appleton is a polo player, while Mr King has worked with horses in movies. The trust would like to expand to the North Island, and can help if someone would like to start a chapter.

"We're also looking for anybody who wants to sponsor us and see their name on our horse floats."

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