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Horse trek raises funds for rural support

A posse of horses and their riders headed up Mt Thomas during Kings Birthday weekend to raise funds for North Canterbury Rural Support Trust (NCRST), a charitable organisation which supports farmers and their families through tough times.

Organised by local dairy farm manager, Tessa Hazley, the group of over 30 riders raised $2000 and Rayonier Matariki Forests, who owns the 1400 hectare Mt Thomas forest, added another $1000 to the donation. 

Mt Thomas Horse Trek 1920 X 690

Tessa is passionate about supporting NCRST following their assistance with a family tragedy, and has raised $16,800 for the trust over the past two years.

“Myself and others in the rural community have been in need of support dealing with mental health issues and I’m very grateful to NCRST for what they do.  I’m delighted to be able to give back but I couldn’t have done it without the many local riders who are also committed to the cause and have signed up to the treks,” says Tessa.

Arni Smit, Regional Coordinator of NCRST says the funds raised from the trek will go towards helping to fund the many services and events provided to the North Canterbury rural community.

“We cover a big area – from Rakaia to Kaikoura – and while we get some government assistance we still rely heavily on donations to cover all our costs,” says Arni.  “The money raised from the trek is hugely welcomed and will contribute towards everything from professional counselling, farm advisory services and an 0800 helpline, as well as running wellness events to connect the rural community.”

The three and a half hour trek was an eventful one with a flat tyre, a flat battery, a lost radio and with wind, rain and hail added into the mix.  “Despite a few challenges along the way, it was a great day out and we all enjoyed some awesome scenery,” says Tessa.  The day wrapped up with a BBQ and some prizes provided by Rayonier Matariki Forests’ log cartage contractor, Steve Murphy.

Hamish McConnon, Canterbury Regional Manager for Rayonier Matariki Forests says it was great to see the community come together to support such a worthy cause.  “We were really pleased to be able to open up the forest for this charity event and contribute to the pot,” says Hamish.  “While the weather could have been kinder there were some great views to be had and it was an opportunity for local equestrians to ride the roads before the forest is closed to the public for harvesting later this year.”