Equestrian culture fading?

Is equestrian life fading into the sunset? Well, that’s what an LA Times article concludes. Among the equestrian centers referenced is one out of the city of Industry.

In December, a collection of ramshackle stalls near the city of Industry abruptly shut down, forcing out a small group of Mexican immigrants who had boarded their horses there at low cost.

The stables had been a gathering place for vaqueros from Zacatecas and Guerrero, and the closure prompted some of the families to give up their horses altogether. The loss follows the disappearance of many other stables along the San Gabriel River watershed.

For the horse lovers out there, where do you ride?

  • Saddle Up

    Where did I ride? I learned to ride at the Via Verde Equestrian Center in Covina. It was at the deadend of Old Badillo and Reeder. The VVEC was sold and now sitting on that property are about twenty mini-mansions. I also rode all over the Covina Hills. Now to ride anywhere, I pretty much have to trailer my horses.

  • Robz9

    I have been riding in the west covina, covina and san dimas areas for the past 10 years. Our trails are mostly next to streets which can be quite crazy, over the years we have had people honk, yell, and drive on the dirt behind us. Most of the trails in the San Dimas area have fences which makes it much safer. Just last week a car zipped down a driveway scaring a horse into the middle of the street, luckily no cars were around. Needless to say horses are not something people seem to think are in their neighborhoods. One of the more frequent occurences has been running across homeless people who have made shacks on trails in the west covina area. However, once we are able to get into the hills and parks life is much safer and more fun just getting there is the problem. Therefore most of the time we try to trailer out, but then only two of us can go together. Finding economical facilities to board horses is also a challenge, with minimum prices around $250 per month for a small stall isnt great for the horses themselves. Also owners of small stables are splitting property and therefore boarding facilities are becoming fewer and fewer and too crowded.

    Good Riding.

  • Robz9

    I have been riding in the west covina, covina and san dimas areas for the past 10 years. Our trails are mostly next to streets which can be quite crazy, over the years we have had people honk, yell, and drive on the dirt behind us. Most of the trails in the San Dimas area have fences which makes it much safer. Just last week a car zipped down a driveway scaring a horse into the middle of the street, luckily no cars were around. Needless to say horses are not something people seem to think are in their neighborhoods. One of the more frequent occurences has been running across homeless people who have made shacks on trails in the west covina area. However, once we are able to get into the hills and parks life is much safer and more fun just getting there is the problem. Therefore most of the time we try to trailer out, but then only two of us can go together. Finding economical facilities to board horses is also a challenge, with minimum prices around $250 per month for a small stall isnt great for the horses themselves. Also owners of small stables are splitting property and therefore boarding facilities are becoming fewer and fewer and too crowded.

  • Halt-At-X

    I used to ride/board at the Pico Rivera Equestrian Center off of the 605 frwy in Whittier. It no longer exits. It was a nice facility with access to the river bed trails. Several of the barns/stables I have ridden/boarded at in the past no longer exist. It is difficult to find riding/boarding stables now a days. I currently ride/board at a barn in Ontario….but its existence is on borrowed time. The property has been bought by a private school and as soon as they have enough money to developed it, the horses are out. I have no idea where I will go from there.

  • Horse lover

    When I was 10 years old I finally got what I always dreamed of. A horse. Soon after getting my horse my mom and dad got divorced. My mom knew how much I loved my horse so she took what little child support money she got to pay the board for my horse. It was a tough time for my mom. My dad left and she was sad. I spent a lot of time with my horse crying in his mane because my family was broken up. I did some shows in West Covina and San Dimas but I couldn’t do too many because my mom couldn’t afford it. I cleaned stalls, groomed lesson horses and exercised them so I could take lessons and help pay for my horses board. A few years have passed and my mom is doing better, but I know she is happy that I had my horse to keep me out of trouble and teach me responsibility. I had to do good in school to get to see my horse.

    I saw this article today and wanted to write my story. I have a horse and I want everyone to know how much he means to me. I want everyone to know my mom cannot move away so I can have a horse because she has a job here and says she’s lucky to have one. I also don’t understand why because my neighbor plays baseball that his ball field is more important than my sport? I someday would like to be a professional rider in the Olympics, train horses or maybe a vet. But if the horse places keep going away I won’t be able to do this anymore. Thank you.

  • Dressage Cat

    Most of the places I rode as a child are gone. I grew up in Monterey Park, which did not allow horses, but was fortunate that there were places in Montebello, along the river trails and in San Gabriel that took you into the Whittier Narrows areas. Every time a stable was closed, mainly for housing construction, it was a challenge to find another place to rent horses. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I actually owned my own horses. It started with one pony kept on a dairy in Huntington Beach (yes, they still had one in the late 70′s) and has now grown to owning a facility in N. OC that houses 40 horses. My favorite places to ride now are in the Walnut Creek area and Marshall Canyon. They take me back to the areas I rode as a child, in the beautiful open spaces of the San Gabriel Valley.

  • San Dimas resident

    We have lived in San Dimas for 23 years. We ride in the hills above San Dimas, trailer to Walnut Creek, Marshall Canyon, Norco riverbeds and Glendora Mountain Road. Because our horses are kept at home, we have not had to face the problems of the loss of equestrian facilities. Our elderly horses are at home and can spend their last years comfortably. The loss of the stables has caused a lot of emotional hardship for people who can no longer keep their horses.

  • Ron

    I have lived or worked in West Covina for over 40 years. As a young adult I rode at the Ridge Riders Equestrian Center in West Covina and at Industry Hills. As it would happen West Covina is one of the last places in the area that you can still ride.
    This area is valuable for the riders in our community as well as the non-riders that simply enjoy the great open space. The center and surrounding areas attract many of the families in our city who enjoy seeing a more rural side of West Covina.
    The young people that train and board their horses at Ridge Riders are being taught lessons in responsibility that will serve them well for many years to come.
    The center is also where the West Covina Police Mounted Enforcement Team trains. Being able to train there is an valuable asset to the team and the police department. Ridge Riders is a very special part of the City of West Covina.

  • Saddle Up

    Horses are one of the few things youth can do without being on a team sport. Not every girl or boy is cut out for soccer, base/softball, etc, etc. The horse I rode as a child saved me from smoking dope and getting in trouble. That horse taught me to have a healthy work ethic. Getting your horse ready for a show, showing off your horsemanship skills and winning a ribbon was the payoff for your hardwork! It didn’t depend on one of your teammates scoring a point in the last minutes of a game. Everything I did as a teen and young adult centered on the responsibility of taking care of and loving my horse. I kept my grades up in school and did my home chores so I wouldn’t have him taken away as a punishment for not following through with my home and school responsibilites. Horses also teach you patience, how to communicate and what you are communicating..if you do a horse right or wrong, that animal will swiftly tell you about it! They are honest and they don’t lie!

    Yes horses are expensive…but like I tell folks, horses are my hobby and my therapy. People have boats, race cars, vacation homes, they go on cruises. My thing to do is to ride horses – I could pay for the shrink and the Prozac…or I can have a horse…I rather have the horse!

    I wonder what all the golfers would do if they started closing down golf courses for parking lots and condos….but I guess closing down golf courses would be highly unlikely since many of these developers do their schmoozing on the links.

  • SSanderson

    I have owned horses in the West Covina area for over thirty years. Back in 1998, Ridge Riders (a 50 + year old equestrian park) was up for sale. There was talk of selling this land to develop homes. I knew this would affect many who enjoy the facility; I got involved in the preservation of the land.

    Today I serve the City of West Covina as a City Council member and ride my horses at Ridge Riders. I have trailered out on occasion over the years to Walnut, Azusa and Covina to take lessons. I also ride with the West Covina Mounted Enforcement Team at Ridge Riders.

    It is a great joy and with much appreciation that Ridge Riders, with it’s beautiful aged trees is still around for future generations to enjoy. I see the kids taking riding lessons with such joy and people walking their dogs or riding their bikes through the peaceful area. In the afternoons I see hawks flying, squirrels climbing trees, and rabbits scampering around. I thank the City, the Council and the residents that worked to keep such a wonderful park in the community.

    I agree with the others about what they have written here. What a wonderful peace these animals bring to your life. I will continue to be involved in preserving this part of our American culture.

  • Horses in El Monte

    We are one of the last few families with horses in El Monte. We are trying to hold on but developers, neighbors and City officials are not making it easy.

    People that do not know the beauty of a horses do not understand that you expose kids to a horse and they learn disciple, respect, responsibility and love. My grandson told me this weekend that when he is in the backyard with the horses he forgets about the pressures of living in todays world.

  • Anonymous

    “city officials are not making it easy”?!?!?!?!

    Didn’t “city officials” pass a moratorium on development in the horse property area which remains in effect?????

    Didn’t “city officials” help form a community committee to not only get public input but to have the public (i.e. residents) make recommendations on new development standards for the area?????

  • jingo-ace

    I grew up in Covina & West Covina area. Always rode at Ridge Riders Equestrain Center on Citrus ave. Every Saturday they had lesson for kids, with or without horses. It kept me out of trouble as a youth! Today, I haul my horses to locations like Ridge Riders, San Dimas, Walnut, Glendora C-35, in order to have someplace to ride them. These arenas are important facilitys to keep and maintain! The youth of today’s generation and tomorrow’s horsemen are learning how to ride there!

  • S. Sanderson

    To Anonymous;

    It would depend on what city your are refering to in reference to moratoriums. In our City – West Covina, there is no moratorium to protect horse property areas. Some cities, I believe Orange and San Dimas have equestrian committees. Again, our city does not.

    City officials differ in each area. All we can hope for is that the people speak up and say what they would like to see happen. This is how the city’s know what the residents want. I also hope city government responds.

  • Anonymous

    The El Monte moratorium came a day late and dollar short my friend. We are now surrounded by mini-mansions and overpopulation of residents that are not acustomed to country living. Residents who want us out because they cannot relate to the equestrian world.

  • SSanderson

    Yes Anonymous, it is so frustrating. I don’t understand why people want to overpopulate an area, expecailly where horses already are? Growing up in this area with horses I have seen the open fields filled with strawberries, corn, and orange trees dissapear to be replaced with concrete and traffic.

    That’s why I believe it’s important to work together as a horse community. How it may be we are getting squeezed out of the Valley we can still be a vocal group that will be heard.

    I am sorry for what is going on in El Monte. If I could ever be of help I would be glad to get involved!

    Once the horse space is gone, it cannot be replaced….

  • One from West Covina

    The West Covina Police Mounted Team has been organized since 1987. We have had the unit grown over the years to where now we have regular Police Officers and a rather large volunteer group of dedicated Citizens that love to ride their horses with us and folks that don’t ride that give us a hand. We have used Ridge Rider’s facilities for more than 20 years. You can see our horses at different events throughout the year.

    I have lived in West Covina over 35 years. My wife and I have raised our two children here. What I find interesting in the Equestrian world are the people. Young and old alike are genuine folks. In order to be connected to horses, you need to posses the great qualities of responsibility and commitment. These traits carry on in life as well.

    The problem we find ourselves in today is we have disinterested people that don’t have anyone’s interest at heart except their own. They have no concept of what it takes to be a horse owner and they have no care of what would happen to facilities like Ridge Rider’s and places we have already been pushed out of. The fear is when people like that move into positions of authority they make uninformed decisions without regard to others.

    Thanks to our current and past City Councilmembers, they made it clear they wanted to keep Ridge Rider’s open for all to use. Their commitment was shown when they voted to purchase the property.

    It seems like easy words to say that “we need to keep our horse areas open”. But really there is a deeper meaning. West Covina has a great history. Over the years we have squeezed our horse community into smaller areas. Ridge Rider’s is one of our last hopes. In reality, it’s not a hugh area considering years gone by. The area does not affect the community-at- large and is still used daily by dedicated “horse people”.

    If it were not for the parents keeping our children involved in sports of all kinds, we would have a larger group of kids in our society filling their time with idle things. We need to keep our parks and equestrian centers open for our children’s sake. They are our future!

  • Stop Sykes

    I love horses too. I know the Fred Sykes candidacy for City Council is out to get rid of Ridgeriders. Please help, tell friends not to sign the petitions for Districts. He is out to destroy Ridgeriders.

  • anonymous

    “He is out to destroy Ridgeriders” – c’mon, why don’t you just run out into the street yelling the sky is falling, the sky is falling!

    Signing the districting petition has NOTHING to do with ridgeriders…but of course you already know that.

  • SSanderson

    I believe what the writer that used “stop Sykes” is refering to; if you have attended council meetings, Mr. Sykes has been very public about stating that Ridge Riders should be closed.

    There are others that are circulating these petitions that have said the same about the horse facility. Stating no one has horses but me. There are many that enjoy the park space and this facility holds horse events and lessons for the public that help subsidize the cost. As well as it is the training facility for the West Covina Mounted Police team.

  • The Sky is Falling

    Believe you me, Sykes and Hernandez only interests are to destroy Ridgeriders and the surrounding area. Sykes can’t get elected without districting and Hernandez needs Sykes to help gain control of the council. WATCH OUT! If they get their way, each district rep. will have to make cut-throat deals to get anything done. Save Ridgeriders, Say NO WAY to Districting.