Levin Riding for the Disabled finds a temporary home

Levin Riding for the Disabled has found a new temporary home.  President Stephen Oatley, with volunteer Linda Thomas at their former location in Speldhurst Country Estate.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff

Levin Riding for the Disabled has found a new temporary home. President Stephen Oatley, with volunteer Linda Thomas at their former location in Speldhurst Country Estate.

After months of searching, a volunteer organization Horowhenua that offers therapeutic riding programs has found pastures where it can, at least temporarily, restart its operations.

Levin Riding for the Disabled (Levin RDA) has been homeless since late last year.

A new temporary location has been found at Mako Mako Rd, Levin, and preparations are underway to have it ready for use by the end of May.

He had to leave Speldhurst Country Estate, his home for 35 years, as the estate grew and the land available for grazing horses and ponies would be reduced.

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Levin RDA chairman Stephen Oatley said it gave him “a great sense of joy” to know he would soon be able to resume his riding programs.

The relocation to Mako Mako Rd was made possible by farmers Levin Geoff and Cynthia Kane, who offered the use of their land for horse therapy sessions and horse grazing.

“By allowing us to use the land they currently lease at Mako Mako Rd, Levin RDA will be back in the game very soon,” Oatley said.

They allowed Levin RDA to use the land at no cost and allowed it to establish temporary facilities for cyclists and volunteers in an existing building on the site.

Volunteers Kaye Emeny, riding Munch, and Linda Thomas, riding Ollie, a Kaimanawa horse.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff

Volunteers Kaye Emeny, riding Munch, and Linda Thomas, riding Ollie, a Kaimanawa horse.

Levin RDA volunteers and Rotary Levin members were undertaking a series of worker bees to develop the site.

Based on the progress made, Oatley predicted that riding sessions could resume by the end of May.

Volunteers will be required to attend training sessions to familiarize themselves with the new site and meet security requirements.

Oatley said he didn’t know how long they would stay at that site because it was on leasehold land.

Therefore, while the new location allowed Levin RDA to operate for the immediate future, he would continue to search for a long-term location.

Oatley said Levin RDA also received support from the Horowhenua District Council and the Horizons Regional Council to find a temporary location.

Levin RDA had seven horses, approximately 38 active volunteers and 50 clients, with a number of people on a waiting list to access his services.

Clyde P. Johnson