RDA back in the saddle

Brendon McMahon

The theft of three saddles from the West Coast Riding for the Disabled (RDA) school in Hokitika last week has had a happy ending.
Police recovered the saddles on Friday after a tip-off, and arrested a man in his late teens and another in his early 20s after executing search warrants in Greymouth and Hokitika.
Constable Nerida Manson, of Hokitika police, said the alleged offenders were in custody to appear in the Greymouth District Court this week on charges of burglary and receiving.
Police moved quickly after a tip-off from the public.
“As a result of the search warrants we recovered the stolen saddles. It was a pretty thoughtless act to steal from people less fortunate than themselves,” Ms Manson said.
Police were thrilled to recover the saddles, complete with stirrups, and it was a good outcome for the RDA given the distress of the theft, she said.
“It’s a good news story and it’s really nice for them that we’ve relocated (the saddles) and can hand them back.”
The three Wintec saddles, valued at more than $3000, were being dusted for fingerprints before their return to the RDA.
RDA secretary Fiona Anderson said that after the disappointment of the burglary, news the saddles had been recovered was fantastic.
“It’s just a real bummer. Why would they do that to the RDA? It’s pretty low, really,” Mrs Anderson said.
A volunteer noticed a broken lock on the group’s tack room at the Hokitika Racecourse after a stormy night last Tuesday.
They did not connect that with the theft until Wednesday.
It left some clients riding bareback, during an after-school riding session for able bodied children, on Thursday.
The group, which has over 40 disabled clients, was heartened by widespread support as news of the theft spread through the RDA and horse riding fraternity, Mrs Anderson said.
“It’s amazing. We’ve had offers of saddles from all around the place, so it’s really neat.”