Golden hunt book comes together
By VIVIENNE HALDANE
The book on the history of the Dannevirke Hunt was one that Helen Ormsby was determined would be written. In fact, the keen horsewoman and photographer had been planning it for 20 years.
Eventually, she persuaded writer Hilary Pedersen to take on the project. Later, co-author Susan Berry joined her.
The Golden Thread, the History of the Dannevirke Hunt is a handsome book with a rich red cover, showing the master’s coat, hunting horn and a delicate spray of violets pinned to his lapel.
Well illustrated, with a wide range of Mrs Ormsby’s photographs taken over many years, plus historical images, The Golden Thread will particularly interest those with a yen for horses and history.
Hunting began in the southern Hawke’s Bay district in 1889 when huntsman Dick Roake, from Wellington, hunted by invitation through Wairarapa, Woodville and Dannevirke Districts.
“Golden thread” refers to the perfect and sacred relationship between a huntsman and his hounds.
“When a huntsman has a true rapport, the whole pack will move after him as one, no matter how often he changes direction.”
Patron Pat Lowry of New Zealand Hunt’s Association said: “There’s no finer way to see the land than between a horse’s ears; a dedicated huntsman and a fit pack of hounds, a master who relates to the landowner and his field and other officials who maintain the full working of the hunt”.
Mrs Ormsby, Waipukurau, rode with the hunt for 34 years, only retiring in 1995.
She refers to the “golden years of hunting when the country was open and you could run for miles, especially over the hunt country west of Highway 50”.
She is currently vice-president of The Dannevirke Hunt.
Co-author Mrs Pedersen said she was happy with the book – “and slightly relieved too, having said yes then no, then yes again”
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Tradition of the hunt
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“After a few gins and a bit of arm twisting I gave in,” Mrs Pedersen said.
“I was hunted like the hare.
“I used to hunt, but I confess I didn’t like it. I wasn’t a very courageous rider. I had a very showy pony who wasn’t really a jumper and she used to baulk at spars. She was very strong so I lived in two lots of fears; either I was going to over-run the master or she was going to baulk at the jump and I was going to be left behind.”
With some of the finest hunting territory in New Zealand, from south of Dannevirke to Waipukurau, the tradition continues strongly.
“We have one of the biggest memberships for juniors in the country,” Mrs Ormsby said.
“That’s great, because the future of any organisation is in its young people.”
Books are available from Lois Ferrick, 06 374 7558 or Helen Ormsby 06 858 9470.
Photo captions –
The Dannevirke Hunt: Andrew Beatson and Barry Beatson in front of the field, at Sherwood, 2010.
Hunting form: The master’s coat is a fine sight.
Family tradition: Four generations of Beatsons have been hunt masters. Tom, George, George and Barry, the current master.
Canine control: Hounds ready for action
Photos courtesy of Helen Ormsby