It happened. My seven year old daughter fell in love with horses.
I knew it would. The sweetie saved for a year to go to horseback riding camp, and when the time came, she was over the moon.
I had her take a few advance lessons at the stables to get the hang of it, so that when the time came she’d be confident and know what to do. She’s short, and scrappy, and determined — properly armed with handfuls of carrots and apples, we set off to meet the horses of Green Acres ranch and get the hang of being “horse people.”
The ranch itself, owned by Miss Margaret Rich, is off De Portola road and Anza–a quick jaunt from our neck of the woods in Temecula. It is a hilltop estate,overlooking the broad swath of Mount Palomar. The owner lives in a beautiful white and terra cotta roofed adobe on the property, surrounded by a patch of bright green grass, and with a courtyard, rectangular sparkling blue pool. There, the campers spend their afternoons splashing with the dogs before afternoon craft session. The dogs? That’s right. Green Acres ranch has no less than 4 hounds, probably many more than that! varying breeds from Cazzy the black lab, to Mathew the Italian Greyhound. All friendly to a fault, lovable, and doting on the many young visitors to this sprawling estate.
Are there horses at this horseback riding camp? Of course. Several barns are scattered over the property, as well as an array of riding corrals, and turn outs.
The horses for campers are friendly, well cared for, and known by all in attendance. It seemed every horse my daughter met was well vetted by the junior helpers–riders who train with Margaret several times a week, and assist at lessons, one per couple of campers. The kids learn the parts of the tack: saddle, girth, martingale, bridle, halter, etc. They learn how to groom the horse, using proper curry combs, hard brush, soft brush, and brushes for mane and tail.
Older kids braid their steeds forelocks, and mane, and–should nature call during grooming, the little campers are sent for the rake to deal with the manure. I even watched them happily scamper off to do the task! (If only they felt the same way about the dogs at home!)
As a mother, I felt completely safe leaving my daughter in these people’s watchful care. Each day, she returned with stories of chasing chickens, roping goats, leading sheep around, and playing with the dogs. Um. Horses? Are you riding horses? I’d ask. She would smile that gap toothed grin and tell me all about her ride of the day, touring the property, getting off the lead line on Mr. Fipps, or Shaq. And, best of all? Fall into sleep with a grin on her face, dreaming little girl dreams of owning a ranch of her own someday.
Miss Margaret has afforded us more than just a camp to send our children to, more than a place to learn about horses, farm animals, or how to ride. She has given my daughter a place to daydream–to be away from computer and video games and movies. She’s able to be out in the great wide open, enjoying the sunshine, vistas, and fresh air that she probably doesn’t even realize she’s breathing. And for that, this mama is incredibly grateful.
I’ve learned more about Green Acres Ranch since that week at camp. It was established in 1957, by Miss Margaret’s family, as a private family ranch, for breeding and showing Arabians. They have over 50 acres of land, can board up to 200 horses, and boarding facilities include Show Barns, Covered Stalls, Mare Motels, Shared Paddocks and more. Other amenities include: riding arenas, a lighted arena, dressage court, working cow arena, slide track, round pens and turnouts.
Costs are not cheap, at upwards of $290 for a week of camp. but well worth scraping by in other areas to afford this little luxury for her. And, no, I didn’t make her spend a dime of her savings! (It’s all deposited in her account).
Lessons, however, are quite reasonable, at $40 per hour — on horse time, we’re reminded. Some lessons are longer, some are shorter, but all engender that love of horses, and of this little spot of heaven in Temecula.
Green Acres Ranch also hosts”
- Birthday Parties
- Girl Scout education/with patch included
- Therapy riding
- and guided trail rides through wine country.
For more information, visit: www.greenacresranchinc.com
And tell Miss Margaret, The Ludwig Family sent you!