WATCH: Horseback tradition on home turf
AS DAWN broke on Anzac Day, residents on Lower Kangaroo Creek Rd witnessed something special.
Every Anzac Day for the last 22 years, Alan Rogers has led the Coffs Harbour march on horseback as a member of the NSW Northern Rivers Lancers 15th Division.
But this year, after dressing in full regalia and hopping on his son's horse, Striker, he rode solo along his own street after being approached by neighbour Charmaine Irwin.
"I was only too pleased to join in," he said.
"After all of these years participating it looked like we weren't able to ride and it turned out I was able to ride.
"It was fantastic actually, I was quite proud to assist them."
It was a special moment for the families on Lower Kangaroo Creek Rd participating in the impromptu service, with resident Amy Brett explaining it was a surprise when they got out onto the street.
"We just got out onto the driveway and he came down the street," she said.
"It was a beautiful way to play tribute."
The Lancers - or the 15th Light Horse Regiment - is the original mounted infantry regiment of the Australian Army during World War I and has a long history with the Northern Rivers.
Mr Rogers has always been interested in military history and horses and he said he was now the elder statesman of the Lancers, which counted his son and grandson as members.
There was a slight air of sadness this year as Mr Rogers' stallion Jack, who he had ridden the last five years, passed away a month before Anzac Day.
"He was over 30-years-old, he was a beautiful horse," he said.
"He is gone, but I rode my son's mare."
While the Lancers may have a rich history, the service on Lower Kangaroo Creek Rd was anything but conventional and Ms Irwin said they had to use modern technology to ensure it was a success.
"We wanted to keep it (tradition) going, seeing as though we can't do a proper Dawn Service at least we could still be involved," she said.
"We have a good little community here - we could all still be separate but together.
"And at a minute to six the app didn't actually work so we used a backup to play the ode - we used Spotify."