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War horses . . . The New Zealand Mounted Rifles will be setting up camp during the Northern A & P Show's 150th anniversary celebration day on Sunday, October 23. Photo: Robyn Bristow

By David Hill
The Northern (Rangiora) Agricultural and Pastoral Association’s 150th anniversary show will be a celebration of the district’s past.

While the day’s programme is still being finalised, the association is planning a celebration of the last 150 years on Sunday, October 23, the day following the annual show, with the help of various local groups and organisations which have contributed to the district’s history.

Features of the day will include a blade shearing demonstration, a farrier shoeing horses, chainsaw carving and the popular Clydesdale horses and harness horses “doing their thing”, show president Jeffrey Miles said.

Other attractions include a vintage machinery display, including traction engines and chaff-cutting, along with various organisations including the Canterbury Vintage Car Club putting on displays. The Rangiora Museum will also have a display of photos from past A&P shows

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter will make an appearance, along with the Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade and Rangiora St John. Scenic helicopter flights will also be available for purchase. Sunday’s festivities will also include the usual sideshows and food.

The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Community Trust will be riding in the arena and will set up camp with army tents, a mini museum and a shop to raise money for the causes it supports.

Mounted Rifles president Mark Appleton says the trust recently donated $3000 to the Jacinta Baker Wing at the Rannerdale Veterans’ Hospital and Home in Christchurch, named after fallen Rangiora soldier Corporal Jacinta Baker. It also supports the Fallen Heroes Trust.

“The Fallen Heroes Trust is an army run charity which supports soldiers and their families and particularly those returning from Afghanistan who are suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

“Because society is so removed from what goes in Afghanistan, these soldiers come back here, where everyone just gets on with their Sunday shopping and nobody’s aware of the horrors these soldiers have seen.”

Mr Appleton says the trust is looking to set up an equine programme to support the soldiers .

“Horses are good for that sort of thing. They are good to be around, because they don’t talk back and they don’t judge you, except for how you treat them.”

He says there are about 30 troopers and they are always looking for more riders. Anyone with a horse can join up and the trust can help supply uniform, saddlery and other gear.

Mr Appleton says the troopers are still available for Anzac Day next year, but they are already booked for Anzac Day 2018, when more than 100 troopers will attend a dawn service at Burnham Military Camp, before riding on to Rolleston and Templeton.

The New Zealand Mounted Rifles is based in Canterbury with branches in the North Island and Kaikoura. It has a Facebook page called NZ Mounted Rifles Public and a website www.nzmrct.com.