A new indoor arena for Rotorua's Riding for the Disabled means people can get the benefit of riding horses no matter what the weather.

The new arena at Ngongotaha was officially opened on Saturday followed by a barbecue for afternoon tea.

Riding for the Disabled was previously based in Lee Rd near the Rotorua airport but the airport's runway extension means the lower-flying planes make it dangerous for people to ride there.

It then took out a lease with Waikuta Number 2 Trust for its new arena and applied for funding, which was approved.

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Manager Linda Hunt said the building of the indoor arena finished at the end of last year.

"Then we moved in over the break and started riding in term one.

"We have a dozen horses and approximately 80 therapy rides each week for students from different schools and private sessions as well."

She said the benefits were both physical and emotional - "it's calming, builds self-esteem, provides balance, core strength and it's enjoyable".

She said the opening ceremony was a fantastic event and there was a really good turnout with all the trustees coming along, including Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and BayTrust.

"Having this facility means that the riding programme will continue uninterrupted and we never have to cancel, and it's a nice pleasant environment and calming for the horses."

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She said Olympic equestrian Heelan Tompkins was their special guest.

"She did the cutting of the ribbon. Her father is in a wheelchair so she is aware of how things work. It was fantastic having her there and really great of her to come."