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RDA plans indoor arena

Bad weather may soon be no barrier for riders at Dunedin’s Riding for the Disabled Association, with plans for a new $150,000 indoor arena.
Dunedin RDA operations manager Katy Ferguson said the organisation’s 57 disabled riders would benefit from the all-weather arena, as they had had to cancel about a third of lessons in term four last year due to bad weather.
This meant the regular therapeutic nature of riding was often interrupted and tutors were unable to schedule sessions that built on the previous lesson, due to the gaps in riding days, she said.
The current schedule of running lessons only in terms one and four every year meant riders often developed close bonds with their horses then did not see them for about 20 weeks, Ms Ferguson said.
The three properties surrounding the organisation’s Fairfield grounds were higher up, meaning in rainy weather all the water ran towards the current riding areas, she said.
The indoor arena would allow them to run all year round and potentially offer lessons to 10-15 more riders on their long waiting list, she said.
It would be built on land that would be levelled and drain towards the nearby creek.
The project, which the association hoped to complete this year, was expected to cost $150,000, Ms Ferguson said.
The RDA’s fundraising projects last year had included the construction of new yards to accommodate double the number of horses, now up to 10, and a four-stall stable block.
Now those two projects were complete, the volunteer organisation would be able to work towards the arena project, she said.
While there was no definite end date on the project, Ms Ferguson hoped the organisation could get it complete this year.
Dunedin RDA has been running since 1973 and supports riders with learning difficulties, “disability or spectrum disorders”, she said.
To donate to Dunedin Riding for the Disabled Association’s indoor arena project visit www.rdadunedin.org or search “Dunedin RDA” on Givealittle.