Horses and riders asked to step out for Anzac Day

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A horse and soldier at Anzac Day commemorations in North Canterbury, New Zealand in 2018.
A horse and soldier at Anzac Day commemorations in North Canterbury, New Zealand in 2018.

Horses and riders in South Australia are being invited to stand at the end of their driveway this Anzac Day, to commemorate the sacrifices of humans and animals in war.

With parades unable to go ahead on April 25 this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of standing at the end of driveways has been shared widely in the media as one way to recognise Anzac Day, along with watching services online and lighting candles.

Covid-19 has resulted in the cancellation of Anzac commemoration events around New Zealand Australia, including the memorial service for horses traditionally held in Adelaide. The ceremony, at the horse trough memorial, on the corner of North and East Terraces, is believed to be the only one of its type in the world.

This year’s plan to involve horse owners and their steeds is an initiative of advocacy group Horse SA. As well as horses, equids including donkeys and mules also are recognised for their services in war, none more famous than ‘Simpson’s Donkey’ portrayed in a statue located in the Adelaide Parklands, opposite the entrance to the Adelaide Oval.

Anzac Day commemorations in North Canterbury, New Zealand in 2018.

The service, traditionally attended by The Barossa Light Horse Historical Association, is followed by the horses attending the traditional Anzac Day parade.

Martin Hilton, Barossa Light Horse Secretary, said: “While this year we will not be able to ride together as a troop, individually we will be on parade at our driveways to keep the memory of the Light Horse alive through this difficult time”.

Horse SA chair Dr Lisa McDonald asked those taking part to take a picture as a tribute to the Anzacs, and share it on social media, with the tag @HorsesSA.

“It’s one way we can all recognise the services that animals, including horses, gave to our nation, and will provide horse owners and riders with an opportunity to pay their respects and feel connected to one another during this time of social restriction.”

Anzac Day parade in Canberra, 2015.
Anzac Day parade in Canberra, 2015. © Annie Lindsay

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