Racing into Horseland
THE new owners of Lismore Horseland, Dianne Hooper and her son Ryan are off and racing.
The Hoopers have taken over the iconic equestrian supply shop in Bridge St from Chris and Robin Allen who retired at the end of last month.
They have been in the equestrian business for 24 years and over the years have owned four other Horselands.
They currently own another Horseland in Shepparton, Victoria.
The family has been involved in the thoroughbred racing industry for the last two generations.
"You have to love horses to run a business like this," she said.
"We are dyed in the wool horse people.
"Ryan is a qualified horse trainer and used to train all our horses down in Victoria."
However Mr Hooper sold his farm in Victoria and moved his family to Ballina in March to enjoy the North Coast lifestyle.
He has also started a macadamia nut harvesting business and Mrs Ryan is commuting from Victoria to help her son get the new business up and running.
"The industry is going strong and Horseland is still growing each year," she said.
"No matter what happens with the economy people still buy for their horses because it is their passion."
Ms Hooper said Horseland was the largest equestrian retailer in the country with 54 stores across Australia.
"We are happy to work within the franchise system because of the support and the strength we get," she said.
"The franchise is still owned by the Bucknell family who originally started the business.
According to Mrs Hooper owning a horse is no more expensive than owning a motocross bike or a boat.
"The average pony clubber pays about $600 to set themselves up with gear," she said.
But Mrs Hooper's passion is for racing thoroughbreds.
"The thoroughbred itself is a magnificent animal that are bred to win," she said.