Formed in 2009 when threatened with the loss of long held pony club grounds at New Plymouth Racecourse, a group of us rapidly familiarised ourselves with local body politics and democracy and saved a place for the club in the community where it belonged. That started a deep commitment to saving and enhancing places for us to ride in the region as it became very obvious our riding spaces were being substantially reduced through urbanisation. Our key focus is on riding in public spaces-reserves and parks and beaches. So we set about explaining our sport and our needs to our local and regional councils to ensure that horse riding is included in plans, policies and bylaws for the area. The Taranaki Equestrian Network (TEN) consists mostly of representatives from the committees of all the major horse-sport groups in Taranaki. In that way, we keep abreast of the problems being experienced across the district and ensures we have contacts everywhere to draw on when necessary.
Our first major project was to continue to develop the council-owned forest at Lake Mangamahoe called the ‘Bridle Zone’. Our fundraising efforts have enabled us to grade the trails, install a water tank and build a covered yard at this fabulous facility. The Bridle Zone is truly a magnificent place to ride and we are proud of the part we have been able to play in encouraging its increasing popularity.
Launching a facebook page helped us to keep people up to date with horse events and equestrian related issues. TEN is now seen as a strong and credible voice for the equestrian community- we just have to keep on keeping on and having fun together as a group on our horses in the spaces we have won with all our hard work.