A Whanganui home to 60 riders, 20 volunteers and 14 horses could be on its last legs.

Whanganui's Riding for Disabled (RDA) needs to raise $750,000 to buy the nearly two hectares of land it leases from New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Whanganui District Council.

RDA manager Wendy Sellars said if they couldn't get the money, they would be homeless.
"We have looked at other options, but relocating would mean starting from scratch and that's just not financially viable," she told the Chronicle.

"Plus this location is ideal for us because it's close to Whanganui High School and has easy access for many of our riders."

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RDA has its home on land on the corner of London and Purnell Sts, most of which has been owned by NZTA since the 1970s. The transport agency planned to build a highway to carry on through Springvale Park but that idea has since been abandoned and now it has decided to sell the land.

Chris McLeod, of RDA sponsor Ray White, said NZTA had given them exclusive rights until June to buy the land, and the council has agreed to sell their section, too.

"We need $750,000 to buy the two sections of land," he said.

"But, long term, we plan to develop a facility that could host national events and accumulate some income ... so really we need $1.5 million to do it."

Overview of the land Riding for Disabled hope to buy highlighted. Photo/ supplied
Overview of the land Riding for Disabled hope to buy highlighted. Photo/ supplied

Ms Sellars said RDA relied solely on volunteer funding and that getting enough money was always a constant battle.

"We have 60 rides a week. Each ride costs us $55 and we charge our riders $10 — the rest of the money we literally beg for."

She said the parents of the riders say the benefits of riding have a ripple effect because riding makes their children more functional out in the community.

"If they can't ride in Whanganui, they will have to go to Hawera or Feilding and there's a long waiting list."

Horses at Riding for Disabled have been given joy to riders for more than four decades. Photo/ supplied
Horses at Riding for Disabled have been given joy to riders for more than four decades. Photo/ supplied

The organisation has many fundraising events coming up, including a gold coin breakfast, a mother's day high tea and a gala polo match.

"Every bit counts and we will be doing all we can to raise this money," Mr McLeod said.

"Everyone has told us it's not a huge amount and it is doable."

Ms Sellars said NZTA had been good to deal with and it was great they had given RDA exclusive rights to buy the land.

The gold coin breakfast is on Wednesday, February 21, at the Ray White carpark in Victoria Ave from 7am.