How did you get started?
Back in 2007 a bunch of concerned horse riders were invited to a workshop with the (then) Auckland Regional Council to discuss the horse riding options in regional parks. We all thought that the 'bigwigs' of equestrian sport would turn up, and be there. That's when we realised there were no 'bigwigs'. There was no organisation for recreational riders, and organisations involved in equestrian sport were too stretched to do all that was needed for recreational riders.
It was during this workshop that we also realised that there wasn't even a good source of information for riders. So we started creating one. "Bridleways Auckland" was a small website with information on places to horse ride in Auckland.
The genie was out of the bottle. That first website grew and grew, as people around the country started to ask for information about their area. Bridleways NZ is now a large database of places to ride.
Eventually we formed an incorporated society to be able to pay for website costs, and apply for grants for tangible projects (trail building) - Woodhill Heritage Trails, Waitaki Haul Trail etc.
Who is NZ Horse NetworkOver the years the following have been on the committee or helped set up the organisation ...
Vivien DostineAlison FellmanMichelle ReddyKaren LeggHilary BladenKate WinchesterBrenda ReadingRob BurgessLynn CopplestoneAshley Jevon-DelgaardEdwina Francis
and we've had many more supporters - thank you.
Is NZ Horse Network an official body?
As of 2020 we're back to being a group of connected groups and individuals; the incorporated society has now been dissolved.
We created an incorporated society in order to fundraise and run projects. NZ Horse Network became recognised by most local, regional, and national bodies as a representative body for recreational horse riding, because of the years of work we put in to raise issues, provide information, and work with local groups.
But it was very hard to get volunteers who were willing to work on such a hard concept as national advocacy, so we have dissolved the society. During those years we have seen many local groups spring up, and we're pleased to have seen many positive changes.
Now it's up to all of us to continue the fight for better horse riding trails, and better road safety. We'll still be making submissions, working together and encouraging all riders to be more aware of their role in preserving and growing horse riding (and carriage driving) as recreation in New Zealand.