Opening Kangaroo Island Hunt Club ride the end of an era at Ti-Tree

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It was the end of an era as David and Nell Hall hosted their last Kangaroo Island Hunt Club ride at their Ti-Tree property last month.

They've hosted hunt club rides at the property since they first purchased it 40 years ago.

The first ride of the 2021 season also happened to be the last time the Halls will host a ride, as they have sold the property and are moving to Brownlow.

HUNT CLUB: The members of the Kangaroo Island Hunt Club gather for a group photo after the mid-ride break. Photo Stan Gorton

HUNT CLUB: The members of the Kangaroo Island Hunt Club gather for a group photo after the mid-ride break. Photo Stan Gorton

It might not be the last ride at Ti-Tree though as the farm manager leasing the property from the new owners is himself a fan of the hunt, having ridden in a traditional hunt in Ireland, Mr Hall said.

The new manager attended the first hunt of the season and is open to hosting rides into the future, while Mr Hall will also to continue to work at the farm.

The Kangaroo Island Hunt Club follows the ancient traditions such as speeches, drinking Stirrup Cup port and appointing a hunt master.

But there is no hunting of foxes or dogs involved on Kangaroo Island, it's simply a riding club that gets together to jump and enjoy each others' company.

The KI Hunt Club is in good hands with the next generation of riders coming along, including this year's hunt master, 19-year-old Taj Rongo.

"For me, hunt club is a great outing for the horses and riders," she said.

"Nothing better than enjoying a glass of port among great company.

Our club is a very inviting and encouraging group of people. And it's an honour to be master this year taking the reins from some of the most know horseman and women on the Island! Thank you."

Rider David Huxtable said he had enjoyed every ride at Tri-Tree in his 25 years of riding, except that one ride where he broke his leg.

David Hall said the Kangaroo Island Hunt Club started in the mid 1970s when local riders including Bill Roper started setting up courses, including what was then his property Ti-Tree at Haines.

Other pioneers were John and Jill Lovering on the neighbouring property.

Mr Hall's great grandfather Edward purchased from the government a number of blocks at Haines in the early 1900s, including Ti-Tree.

So when he bought the farm in 1980 from Mr Roper it returned to the Hall family.

David and Nell moved to the property in 1981 and immediately started hosting hunt rides on the course.

There has been at least one ride at Ti-Tree every year, except in about 2013 when flooding blocked access.

Each year, the club has 10 or 12 rides on different properties around Kangaroo Island and new courses are being built including on Taj's mum's property.

A number of the hunt club riders also plan on attending this year's state hunt club ride on the mainland.

The opening ride had 145 jumps in place and some of these natural logs dated back decades.

They have made the jumps safer and there is no jumping over fences any more, just the logs, with riders having the option to go around each jump.

David and Nell have purchased a block at Brownlow on the outskirts of Kingscote, where he plans to keep his race horses.

"I love my horse riding," he said. "I love competing in showjumping at the shows and the hunt club obviously."

This story Opening KI Hunt Club ride the end of an era at Ti-Tree first appeared on The Islander.

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