Lyn Chittock did not get time to take photographs during the first day of her first Otago Goldfields Cavalcade - nor did she have the chance to enjoy a beer.

She was too busy behind the reins of Buster, the Clydesdale horse she was driving on the heavy wagon trail.

He was used to being driven in a team of four or six. Being a one-man-band on that first day on Sunday was a new experience for him.

"He pulled like a train all day, really ... he jumped a creek, it was very exciting - not. My shoulders and neck were that sore when I got back [on Sunday night],'' she rued.


But Buster was in a much calmer state yesterday as the cavalcade made its way from a camp on the Lindis Pass, stopping near Tarras.

Chittock, from Waikoikoi, was enjoying the experience, saying it had been a big learning curve. She had been driving Buster for about three weeks.

She was with her husband Clayton - who was back-up for her and, while not particularly enamoured of horses, he was "getting there'' - and the Lennon family from Gore.

Making the big trip down from Erewhon Station in Canterbury were husband and wife Colin Drummond and Erin Cassie.

The pair, passionate about heavy horses and tremendous ambassadors for the Clydesdale breed, brought 16 horses south; two six-horse teams, another for a friend to borrow, and three spares which could also be used as riding horses.

It was a big logistical exercise, which included a human crew of 11, but it was their holiday and it was also great experience for young horses in the teams.

"We just love it,'' Cassie said.

It was Cassie's first cavalcade and her husband had two of her favourite mares in the lead of his team which she quipped was a "pretty big gesture''.


About 620 people were taking part in this year's event, across 11 riding, wagon, walking, cycling and running trails.

Cavalcade co-ordinator Terry Davis said it was a "brutal'' day weather-wise on Sunday, but a "beautiful'' day yesterday after a near-frost for some trails in the morning.

Trail boss Bill Butler and his crew rode through fresh snow, under "glorious blue skies'' on the Whitecoomb Range, between Roxburgh and Waikaia.

The cavalcade will converge on Lake Hawea on Saturday.