Friday, June 8, 2012

Are Horses Coming To Roosevelt Island? RIOC Real Estate Development Committee Agenda Item Includes Presentation On Proposed Equestrian Center

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.
1. Potential Uses of Sportspark Mezzanine;
2. Availability of Additional Community Spaces;
3. Retail Master Lease Performance;
4. Presentation Regarding a Proposed Equestrian Center; and
5. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee.
The Roosevelt Island Child School Director and RIOC Director Sal Ferrera has expressed interest in the past to develop an equestrian center on Roosevelt Island. According to this 2011 NY Daily News article:
... "We could create a miracle," said Sal Ferrera, the school's executive director. "All the research I've done tells me the equine therapy does wonders for kids that are facing learning challenges."

Ferrera said he'd like to see an indoor equestrian arena with a handful of horses and a circular 21/2-mile riding path built on the island
Here's a video showing the Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center from Ann Jessen on Vimeo.

No matter how beneficial therapeutic horse riding may be for special needs children, the question becomes if it is appropriate for a small residential community such as Roosevelt Island?


Ellen Kerrigan Dry said...

Watch the video. See what therapeutic horseback riding can do for children and adults. It would be wonderful to see therapeutic horseback riding on Roosevelt Island. (Note that I am the Volunteer Coordinator and certified instructor for GallopNYC, a therapeutic riding program that operates in Brooklyn and Queens, so I have seen first-hand what can be done with therapeutic riding in a small city space. I am also a Roosevelt Island resident.)

Westviewer said...

This would be appropriate in a large park, but not in an urban development like Roosevelt Island.  

Mark Lyon said...

Horses are great, but I am unclear on where they intend to keep these animals.  For a small number of horses, more than one per acre is pretty dense.  As the population grows, one horse actually needs around two acres of grass to limit the need for expensive supplemental feed (and to keep the amount of mud to a reasonable level).

Five horses would need around ten acres.  We've only got 147 acres on the island.  Rough map puts that space - if we used the full width of the island at its widest point (792 feet) - at 550 x 792 feet.  The best fit I could find for that kind of space would require eliminating the Octagon Soccer field, the Garden Club, the octagon tennis courts, and most of the water tunnel construction area.  We could get almost seven acres by doing away with South Point Park.  Maybe a bit more if they repurpose the smallpox hospital as a barn.

Westviewer said...

Thank you for crunching the numbers.  

CheshireKitty said...

Although I admire horses, I do so from a distance, because they are huge and powerful animals after all.  I also do not see the point of having horses stabled on Roosevelt Island, which is compact enough as it is.  I think it would be cruel to have these creatures, which should have space to safely roam and run, penned up on a small, densely-populated island.  It just isn't right.  

As far as the writer recommending the therapeutic effects of horseback riding, sometimes the opposite can occur:  I was taken horseback riding as a child and because the horse unexpectedly took off, even though I wasn't hurt or anything, since then I do not exactly feel that comfortable around horses.  Let's say I respect and admire them but give them a wide berth.  

For the record, I'm also opposed to the horse-drawn carriages that are still in the City and in Central Park; it is cruel to continue to operate these horse-drawn carriages within heavy traffic in Midtown.  This past week an SUV crashed into a horse in Midtown.  Other times, horses have collapsed and died on City streets from heat/probable mistreatment/poor working or stabling conditions/exhaustion.  I think the Mayor should take the humane step and discontinue horse-drawn carriages in NYC.  

JPH19 said...

Equestrian therapy is wonderful.  Having it on Roosevelt Island is absurd.

Mark Lyon said...

I wonder if a water park can provide a similar therapeutic benefit?  If so, I'd be 100% in support of the child school taking over some space to open a water park.  Perhaps they could run some sort of lazy river around the smallpox hospital.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Having an attractive waterpark here on RI would put the island onto the map of all NYC families with children. Have a couple of food trucks allowed in that area and we'd have a winner.

Marissa Leigh said...

I do agree with you on the fact that there is clearly not enough space on the Island to have an equestrian center that would create a nice environment for the horses. 
Having been an equestrian rider since I was seven I too had some tumbles and instances with horses but I do not let that affect my opinion on the purity and gentleness of their nature.
My brother is special needs and has been around animals all of his life because of my sister and I. His interaction with horses always made him feel amazing. Animals are so rewarding for those that have disabilities because they never give any judgement. I think maybe a small horse farm could be something to consider but not any horse over 10 hands(hands is a term used to describe the height from the ground to their withers). 
I think with the right people, animals, and space something similar to an animal therapeutic center would be nice.
Even adopting older horses that no longer have the desire to want to go out and run freely would work, especially because of the small car traffic on the island. 
However, being a dog owner I know the issues people have with any dog poop around I cant imagine the fit people would have with horse poop!

Marissa Leigh said...

Love what your program you work/volunteer for represents. I have ridden horses for over 5 years and have always loved being around all animals. My bother is also special needs and loved coming to watch me ride. I would love a place like this on Roosevelt Island. Id be there everyday! I just don't think there is enough space.

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