Adventurer Pete Langford, travelling the length of New Zealand by horse, is nearing the end of the South Island leg of his odyssey.
Langford, 43, set off early in November on his 3000-kilometre ride, having decided the time was right to live his dream and embark on the epic journey.
The trigger was misfortune over his struggling home-renovation business and the loss of his house in a mortgagee sale.
Langford has for the last week been resting his horses on a 100-acre farm at St Arnaud, about 90 kilometres southwest of Nelson.
He told Horsetalk that his two standardbreds, Two Shoes and Cloud, had been enjoying plenty of grass in a 20-acre paddock. The pair have been rebuilding their strength for the next leg of the journey, which will take them to Picton, where they will board an interisland ferry to take them to the North Island.
They were intending to set off this morning and expected to reach Picton in five or six days.
Langford, the first person from New Zealand or Australia to carry the Long Riders’ Guild flag on a journey, keeps fans updated on his Facebook page as time and internet access allows.
He says the ride has been everything he imagined.
“It’s been brilliant. Fantastic. People have been very welcoming.
“We have had a few adventures along the way. It been everything I thought it would be and a lot more.
Facebook has proved a useful tool, with Langford signalling his plans and able to elicit help from followers when required.
He began the ride with two off-the-track standardbreds, Ed, a seven-year-old gelding, and Maddie a mare who is a little younger.
Ed was retired from the ride at Lauder early in December after developing issues with a locking stifle, which required a lot of rest.
Cloud joined the ride and remains part of the trio.
Maddie quickly earned the nickname Maddie Two Shoes, and Langford has since dropped the “Maddie”, simply referring to her as Two Shoes.
For now, the North Island beckons. The terrain will be less challenging than the south, but his route will likely be busier, he says.
A friend who was instrumental in helping with the South Island route is not as well connected in the north, he said, which will result in some challenges.
He hopes his ride will raise some cash for emergency air service trusts. Followers can donate here.
Langford’s Facebook page can be accessed here http://www.facebook.com/FreeWithEveryHorse
An earlier story on Langford’s motivation for the ride can be read here.