Riders Lodge celebrates!

Sennet Tzinberg [Centre] with Agnes [Right]
and daughter, Ellesse [Left]
WHEN Sennet Tzinberg and his wife Agnes arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Australia in the early 1990s to start a new life, they planned to stay for only two years. When they discovered that Malaysia was a multicultural country whose people lived in peace and mutual respect, they decided to make it their home.
Ellesse, their 18-year-old daughter who was born in Kuala Lumpur, developed a passion for horses and a talent for riding. Over the years, she represented Kuala Lumpur in many equestrian competitions.
Facade of the Riders Lodge manor
With a shared passion for horses, the family looked for a suitable place to enjoy the sport. They found it in Sedenak, Johor. The Tzinbergs moved to the southern state and designed and built a country manor complete with stables. They called it Riders Lodge. That was 10 years ago.

Since then, this comfortable 27-room lodge has been a leisure getaway for horse-riding enthusiasts. The resort’s personalised service and the popular food at Agnes Café have kept regulars returning, not just for riding through oil palm plantations and on jungle trails but as a retreat from the city. Beginning with only three horses, the stable now has 36 horses and qualified instructors for guests to pick up or improve their skills.

In the past decade, more than 500 have enrolled in the popular two-day Learn-to-Ride day course.“We want to bring horse-riding to all levels of society,” said Agnes, adding that riding was not an elitist sport and Riders Lodge gave everyone who loved horse the opportunity to learn to ride. “The children of our staff get free lessons.” she said.
A note of appreciation from a young rider
In the last two years, Riders Lodge have held five-day holiday residential camps during which participants adopt a horse for five days.  Besides horse-related activities like feeding, cleaning and keeping the animal happy, participants take part in agro-tourism activities in the neighbouring areas as well as fun stuff like learning to cook with a chef.  At the end of their adopt-a-horse experience, participants will decide if owning a horse is really too much work or get a horse of their own!

The three-day-two-night Riding Camp is another popular package. Students learn horse management, go for nature walks, learn to make local crafts and play local games.  Agnes sometimes leads such groups on nature walks through the oil palm plantation, telling them about the many uses of oil palm and how palm oil has made the plantation owners rich.

Once, after a nature walk, she saw a boy participant fill his pockets full of oil palm fruits.  Curious, she asked him why and he replied, “You said I will be rich!“
Ten cakes were served on October 10
to celebrate 10th anniversary
Riders Lodge recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the Tzinbergs hosted Malaysia’s Biggest Breakfast — Start Something Good in partnership with National Stroke Association of Malaysia (Nasam). A 24-hour food and beverage sale was held with the proceeds going to the non-governmental organisation.

A box was set up in the lobby for guests to drop their donations. Stalks of roses donated by a well-wisher were also sold. Ten cakes were served — one for every hour starting at 10am — on Oct 10.

The festive mood continued with the presentation of certificates of appreciation to staff who had worked at the lodge for 10 years. Among them was Uncle Sammy, who at age 70 is the oldest employee. He started as a gardener and still keeps his routine of looking in on the horses before going to bed.  Food and beverage supervisor Arnelson Umel and front desk executives Siti Mardziah Abd Samad and Modesto Gacad Jr also received their certificates from Sennet.
Janet Yeo, NASAM founder at
Riders Lodge 10th year celebration
Nasam founder and chairman Janet Yeo, joined the Tzinbergs for the Sunday lunch of rainbow rice with chicken rendang, vegetarian penne, honey-glazed turkey ham in toasted sandwiches, brown and white wagon wheels (ice-cream sandwiched in between slices of white chocolate fudge cake).
Stroke is the third largest killer disease in Malaysia after cancer and heart disease and is the main cause of severe physical disability. Yeo, who made a remarkable recovery from a stroke in 1995, is an inspirational story of how there is life after a stroke through proper rehabilitation. She started a small support group for stroke survivors and their families and registered Nasam as a non-profit organisation in 1996.

Nasam has eight centres in Petaling Jaya, Ampang, Penang, Perak, Malacca, Sabah and Johor. Its long term mission is to make stroke rehabilitation accessible to as many as possible, especially to the poor and those living in rural areas.  Agnes, who met Yeo 18 years ago, is a Nasam volunteer. She uses occupational therapy to help stroke survivors retrain their motor skills.

For information on Nasam’s activities, visit www.nasam.org. For the latest events at Riders Lodge visit http://www.riderslodge.com.my/.
A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 27 October 2010

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