Sad­dled up, nowhere to go

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

There are a few long faces in the South Waikato eques­trian scene be­cause there is nowhere to go for a ca­sual ride.

Alice Hicks from Pu­taruru says the re­gion should cap­i­talise on the huge num­ber of rid­ers in the area and it was too good of an op­por­tu­nity to miss.

Hicks has been rid­ing all her life. She says that while the South Waikato of­fers an abun­dance of cy­cling and walk­ing trails there is lit­tle to cater for horse rid­ers.

‘‘On the Face­book pages I be­long to, just for trekking there are over 1000 horse rid­ers within an hour’s scoot of Pu­taruru,’’ she said.

‘‘That’s a huge num­ber and it would be nice in the huge area be­tween Toko­roa and Pu­taruru to have a trail to ride on.’’

‘‘Horse rid­ers put a lot of money into horse feed mer­chants, sad­dleries, diesel, ve­hi­cles, floats and other busi­nesses. It has got such a flow on ef­fect so from the dis­trict’s point of view I think it could be huge eco­nom­i­cally.’’

‘‘I love hear­ing about all the pos­i­tive stuff that the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil is go­ing to be do­ing in Pu­taruru and Toko­roa, it’s won­der­ful and I just see this as part of sell­ing the South Waikato pack­age.’’

‘‘There is a real need and in­ter­est here and the coun­cil needs to re­alise that and jump at the op­por­tu­nity,’’ she said.

Hicks, who moved to Pu­taruru in 2016, said she has to travel to Ro­torua or Raglan to ride.

‘‘I can go to Tar Hill be­cause I have a per­mit but apart from that there is nowhere else to ride here,’’ she said.

She en­cour­aged fel­low eques­tri­ans to get their voices heard as part of the coun­cil’s Long Term Plan process.

‘‘Horses rid­ers are like this se­cret so­ci­ety, we have a lan­guage of our own and talk about stuff that other peo­ple don’t un­der­stand but let’s sell it,’’ she said.

‘‘Mark Todd started off rid­ing around a farm and hav­ing ac­cess to places to ride so at the end of the day who knows, a kid be­ing led on a lead rein through a for­est could go onto win an Olympic medal one day.’’

South Waikato mayor Jenny Shat­tock said the coun­cil would con­sider how to cater for rid­ers.

‘‘We are do­ing long term plan­ning at the mo­ment and so we can cer­tainly take note of it and talk about it through there,’’ she said.

‘‘I can not guar­an­tee any­thing but we will look at it.’’

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