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The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust chief executive Samantha Lee said the trust was “over the moon” at its new Maratoto Valley property. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Supporting trust rides into Maratoto

The horse has bolted for The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust at the formerly named Chester Farm and will soon mount up for its rehabilitation programmes using horses.
Chief executive Samantha Lee told The Profile the trust took over the reins of the 30 acre Maratoto Valley property in March after Greg Jamieson rode off into the sunset after 31 years as its owner to focus on his ConTact C.A.R.E recovery business.

Samantha said the new property, which has five or six full time staff, would allow its EquiLibrium rehabilitation programmes to expand.
“It’s a programme we really believe in for supporting people with disabilities or recovering from brain injuries or [who have] mental wellbeing challenges to come and spend time with the horses,” she said.
“[Greg] said that that was something he had always thought was worthwhile and he had done some ConTact C.A.R.E work on our horses so we had that relationship that way.
“Greg texted me to let me know the farm was on the market…and I thought it would definitely suit our needs, so we did some investigation and I spoke to the board who were supportive of it.”
Samantha said the trust previously held ownership of an eight acre Kerepēhi property for around 25 years where people could spend time with horses and ponies and grow vegetables and flowers. It also owned a six acre Puriri property for around three years, which was where its EquiLibrium programmes began.
“We had always hoped to provide lessons outside the organisation so that’s something we did start in Puriri, but the place was just too small and we didn’t have any facilities,” she said.
“We also had a number of our other people from our residential locations who would like to spend more time in the country and our farm at Kerepēhi was just too small.
“[The new property] is an opportunity to bring all of that together in one place and grow it a little bit more and see how far it can go.”
Samantha said the trust had an “overwhelming response” to the new property, which has eight horses including one pony.
The whole purpose of the equilibrium programme was to get people to encourage them to reflect and the environment encourages that relaxation,” she said.
“It’s that serenity, tranquillity, that calm, you can hear the river, you can hear the trees and it’s a really good place to be.”
Samantha said the trust would work on a new name for the property and planned to begin its full EquiLibrium sessions once it roped in suitable mounting blocks for people with mobility challenges.
“We first need to speak with an engineer to help us develop one properly to make sure it’s got all the stability and that it’s safe and functional and get a quote,” she said.
“We also hope to speak to the community and go through our current fundraising channels… anybody who wants to come on board and help us, that would be great.”