Allens to ride off to new life

FEW people in the Northern Rivers have had more to do with horses than former owners of Lismore Horseland, Chris and Robin Allen, who retired on Monday.

In the 1980s, Mr Allen started making horse rugs in Lismore and his business quickly expanded.

He and his wife worked independently in several South Lismore premises and overcame challenges that would have ended many other businesses.

"We've been through the three big ones; we've been burnt down, we got blown down in the big storm of '79 and, of course, we were flooded out in the '74 flood," Mr Allen said.

The pair eventually started Horseland in South Lismore with three loyal employees who have remained there until the present day.

"The girls who work here have often said coming to work here has been like going out to play for the day," Mr Allen said.

"Our success has been about having good product and excellent staff who have specialist knowledge."

However, after 40 years selling horse accessories to the region, Chris and Robin Allen retired and will pursue new ventures.

"We've had a gas well going across the creek from us which just turned up and no-one was notified," Mr Allen said.

"Since that's happened we've become involved in the anti-gas movement and we'll probably put a bit more effort into that to stop other wells coming into the Keerrong Valley."

With more free time, Ms Allen hoped to head south to visit her daughter in Nowra.

Horseland is the largest equestrian retailer in Australia, with 54 stores nationwide, and the Allens said their proudest achievement will remain winning a Horseland of the Year award in 2000.

"You're pretty lucky to win one Horse of the Year," Mr Allen said.

Their store has been bought by owners of another Horseland store in Shepparton, Victoria.

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