New adult horse riding group for Wānaka

by Lauren Pattemore - Jan 08, 2024

Wānaka's horse community is about to gain a new adult riding club.

Laurette Goode is behind the initiative. She moved to the Upper Clutha two years ago from Waiheke Island where there was quite a strong adult club, and was surprised there wasn't one here already.

Attending pony club as a kid, Ms Goode says it is an easy and social addition to Wānaka's calendar; all the activities are organised and members ride with people of their own age.

But as an adult, the activity can get more "isolating", she says, which is why she and horse-riding friend Judy Grieve decided to take the initiative and start the Wānaka club themselves.

The plan is to meet every second Wednesday at the Hāwea Domain, and Ms Goode says they're open to what people want out of the group.

The group's co-instigator, Judy Grieve on her horse

There's the idea to have a "Have a Go" day, a chance to try showjumping in a relaxed environment.

"There's a real gap for amateur riders, who just want to do low heights without the pressure of a formal competition. So (we) take the pressure off and have it more as like a fun day but still run it like a competition."

Ms Goode, and Ms Grieve have both moved from areas that have strong local clubs for adult horse riding.

The pair also recently took part in a 'Cowboy Challenge' held by the Lawrence Adult Riding Club, and are keen to host one with the new group.

The Cowboy Challenge is becoming quite popular in New Zealand and involves undertaking an obstacle course with your horse, Ms Goode says.

Judging by the amount of interest, so far over 80 people have expressed an interest via the club's new facebook page, Ms Goode reckons there's a real desire from the local horse-riding community to have an official group.

"Obviously there will be all different abilities, lots of adults like myself and my friend (Ms Grieve), we've got back into riding after big gaps of 20 to 30 years."

The first event is pencilled in for January 31 at the Hāwea Domain from 6pm.

Ms Goode says the first get-together will be quite casual.

"There's a lovely big racecourse track at the Hāwea Domain, so we can just go for a nice quiet walk and chat, and get to meet people... and just get a sense of what people are after."

"We just want to cater to what interest people have horse-wise, whether that's working equestrian, dressage, or jumping or the cowboy challenge, [or a place] where you can ride with other people, or accessing other properties... just being that network."

Main image: Lauretta Goode riding her horse Leroy.

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