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Follow our Back Country riders as they trek from Norco to Bishop

After months of planning—and training—Mike Williams and Rebekah Wan are on a 300-mile trek from Norco to Bishop. A foursome of Mike, Rebekah, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left SoCal Equine Hospital on Sixth Street at 8:02 a.m., Friday, May 3.


Day 14: Day of rest

Thursday, May 16

Last night was a cold windy night. Rain in the forecast and 50 mph gusts. Mike and Rebekah have decided not to trail blaze today and use the DWP access road to take them into Lone Pine.    


Day 13: Steak & Eggs

Wednesday, May 15
21.4 miles / 6 hours, 22 minutes / 801 ft. / 3.4 mph

Riding to Olancha tonight. Breakfast this morning consisted of steak and eggs. Only the best for our loved ones. Mike, Rebekah and the horses had to go through a boulder field and had to rock hop for several miles. Horses were quite tired after their day. They rode a little over 21 miles.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190515-Day13


Day 12: Sharing the trail with sheep

Tuesday, May 14
17.4 miles / 5 hours, 13 minutes / 1762 ft. / 3.3 mph

Riding toward Lonepine today. Staying in Coso Junction tonight. Shorter day than normal—only 17 miles. Mike, Rebekah and their horses Cowboy, Razor, Jack and Fancy had to ride among the sheep that were on the DWP trail.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day12


Day 11: Today was a HOT one!

Monday, May 13
16.8 miles / 4 hours, 52 minutes / 384 ft. / 3.5 mph

Extremely hot day riding through the desert. Over 90°. Had to stop several times to allow the horses to rest. Water was limited. Staged at 9-mile. Heavy wind. Dale Crawford joined the team today to provide ground support for the next several days.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day11


Day 10: Time to rest… and add horses

Sunday, May 12

Day off for the horses in Inyokern, to re-up on supplies and do laundry. Sigrid arrived with a second horse for Mike. Both Mike and Rebekah are ponying a second horse so they can switch off every few days. All four horses are now on the journey.


Day 9: Happy Birthday, Mike!

Saturday, May 11
24.7 miles / 6 hours, 55 minutes / 922 ft. / 3.6 mph

Long day in the saddle but it was beautiful. That evening Misha surprised Mike with a homemade birthday cake. 58 candles, no fire permit needed. Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190511-Day9


Day 8: Rest day following a night of heavy rain

Friday, May 10

Rained like crazy last night. Everything got wet. The group decided to take today off and ride tomorrow instead. Misha, Rebekah’s daughter came out to help this morning with the trailer and moved horses to Ridgecrest for the day and overnight so they would be under cover instead of in the open desert. Today was the last day that Carol and Linda are riding with Mike and Rebekah. Tomorrow it becomes a two-person ride unless others decide to join. Pete also leaves as ground crew support and Misha and Nolan begin the chore of keeping everything in order.

Just 158 miles to Bishop!

Day 7: Halfway to Bishop! Trek continues…

Thursday, May 9
25.3 miles / 6 hours, 37 minutes / 1,270 ft. / 3.8 mph

After a week’s worth of riding, the halfway point has been reached! Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190509-Day7


Day 6: Making progress along Highway 395

Wednesday, May 8
23.8 miles / 6 hours, 20 minutes / 692 ft. / 3.8 mph

Today, the group traveled about 300 yards off of west side of Highway 395, finishing two miles north of Kramer Junction. According to Mike, the day was uneventful. The day got warm, but they had two water stops. They crossed the 58 behind the truck stop which turned out to be pretty easy. Everything worked in their favor! Relive their day with this link: http://bit.ly/190508-Day6


Day 5: After a windy, damp start…sunshine

Tuesday, May 7
24.8 miles / 6 hours, 31 minutes / 220 ft. / 3.8 mph

Horses and riders took a one-day break on a Day 4 layover in Phelan, and it also marked the first day of cold wind and rain. Day 5 started with Mike and the group in thick fog—everything was damp. They rode through heavy wind which made for a long ride, but eventually it warmed up. They stayed on trail until they got north of Adelanto and then cut across the desert to their overnight destination. Relive their day on the link!: http://bit.ly/190507-Day5


Sunday, May 5

Day 3: Through the Cajon Pass

Sunday, May 5
21.8 miles / 6 hrs, 11 mins / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph

The group traveled along Highway 66 through Cajon Pass to Phelan. Water stop for the horses and lunch stop for the riders along the PCT at the 138. 21.8 miles / 6 hours, 11 minutes / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph. Follow their Day 3 route with this link!: http://bit.ly/190506-TrailRide


Saturday, May 4

Day 2: Along the Santa Ana River basin

Saturday, May 4
18.8 miles / 5 hrs, 25 mins / 1,325 ft. / 3.5 mph

An uneventful day… after leaving Grand Terrace, they traveled through the Santa Ana River Basin and the city of Colton to reach Saturday’s final destination, Devore. Ride along with the day’s link: http://bit.ly/190504-TrailRide


Friday, May 3

Day 1: Journey begins!

Friday, May 3
19.6 miles / 5 hrs, 18 mins / 909 ft. / 3.7 mph

Mike Williams, Rebecca Wan, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left Socal Equine Hospital at 8:02 a.m. on the 320-plus mile ride from Norco to Bishop. First night’s camp: Grand Terrace. Relive the first day: http://bit.ly/190503-TrailRide


Get the story! Here’s background on the riders and the ride…

If you missed the California Horsetrader’s Feb. 1 cover article on the ride, get the story by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1902-TrailRide

Mike Williams, Rebekah Wan and “Cowboy” on Feb. 1 Horsetrader cover

Buck Martin, City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Director, at TOVEA meeting

SAN MARCOS—Horses are an asset to the community, say San Marcos city staff, and future improvements to equestrian facilities are on the way.

That was the message from Buck Martin, City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Director, and Art Sotelo, Public Works Manager for Parks and Landscape, at the Feb. 25 community forum held by the Twin Oaks Valley Equestrian Association.

Hoof Haven Farms after the Feb. 14 flood

FALLBROOK—With nearly six inches of rain over two days, the Fallbrook area had more precipitation than it could handle— and Hoof Haven Farms is still recovering.

More than a third of the farm’s 40 horses had to be evacuated Feb. 14 when a small creek swelled to a raging current that overtook a crossing to several pens on the property, then changed course and wiped out all the pens that boarded senior horses.

SAN MARCOS—The City of San Marcos has a new mounted ranger, Cortney Pache, patrolling its extensive trails system, and she is looking for volunteers.

Cortney Pache

Cortney Pache

Mounted patrol volunteers are sought in order to assist the City by providing safe and enjoyable trail use for park visitors and the community. Applicants must be an experienced rider aged 18 or higher, have their own or have reasonable access to an equine in good condition and sound health, and be able to get to Walnut Grove Equestrian Park or Double Peak Park and its surrounding trails.

Horses have some guidelines to meet, too, and they are available online at: san-marcos.net/outdooradventures.

An affair in Horsetown USA

From Horsetrader staff reports - November 2nd, 2018

Andrea Kaus photo

Andrea Kaus photo

NORCO—From the mounted shooting to carriage driving—and everything in-between, it seemed—the Second Annual Norco Horse Affair brought Ingalls Park Equestrian Center to life Oct. 5-7. Presented by The Thrifty Horse Consignment Shoppe, the event drew attendees from throughout Southern California to enjoy three days of seminars, entertainment and shopping the wares of more than 35 vendors.

More online: http://bit.ly/811_Norco

Horsey Heritage

San Marcos equestrians engage with non-horse folks

- November 2nd, 2018

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Horsetrader photo / Carolyn Read

SAN MARCOS—For a dozen years now, the Twin Oaks Valley Equestrian Association has thrown a party—for themselves and the community’s non-horsey neighbors. The 12th Annual Ride & Stride Horse Heritage Festival was another hit this year Oct. 21 at Walnut Grove Equestrian Park, one of the county’s last-standing municipal arena facilities. Part fund-raiser, part-outreach and all-fun, the event is designed to give a boost to existing facilities and programs as well as to engage with potential new equestrians who just need an opportunity to know more. From vaulters to horse rescue to well-supervised rides and grooming sessions, the TOVEA event is a good model to enhance equestrians’ foothold in communities.
More online: http://bit.ly/811_heritage

The Norco Experience

Take a ride with a hometown author through Horsetown USA

By Audrey Pavia | for the Horsetrader - October 4th, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: Longtime Norco resident Audrey Pavia, an award-winning author and avid horsewoman, shares a slice of life in her beloved community by taking us on one of her favorite routes.

Norco residents pose for a 2013 community photo by photographer Brigitte Jouxtel at Pike’s Peak Park to commemorate an iconic Pedley Field Photo taken 15 years earlier.

Norco residents pose for a 2013 community photo by photographer Brigitte Jouxtel at Pike’s Peak Park to commemorate an iconic Pedley Field Photo taken 15 years earlier.

Brigitte Jouxtel photo

The sun is hanging low in the sky, and the gentle afternoon breeze has arrived. It’s time to saddle up my Spanish Mustang, Milagro, and go for a ride through Norco.

I step outside my back door and Milagro whinnies to me. He knows the drill. I saddle him up and lead him to the front yard. We pick up the trail right across the street from my house. That’s how easy it is to go riding in Norco.

We head south on the Hillside Avenue trail, passing an assortment of paddocks and driveways. Milagro takes a good look at a peacock perched on a fence in a nearby yard. He’s familiar with the flock of feral peacocks that live on this part of Hillside. He then glances up at a yard across the street, where a few alpacas, a miniature horse and two Haflingers are sharing their dinner. There’s always something interesting to see in Norco.

The trail curves and we are on Third Street, headed toward Norco High School. We cross third and walk along the narrow dirt shoulder skirting the high school football field. The field is quiet today, and we pass without incident, turning right on Second Street. This is the way we need to go if we want to pass our first landmark for the ride: Disney’s Circle D Ranch.

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The sense of community and the freedom to ride my horse out my gate to miles of riding trails on all the different terrain, mountains, street or river—we have it all. I call it “Equine Therapy”!
–Michele Steeber

My favorite part of life in Horsetown USA is the designated horse trail on every street in the city. As a horselover from as far back as I can remember, I feel at home here in Norco, where everything is about the horse. We have horse shows, equestrians groups, learning opportunities, a river to ride through, lots of feed stores and horse supplies. Everyone seems to be like-minded. We moved to Norco in 1985 and had to leave in 2012 to take care of an ill relative who lived in the mountains of Colorado. Our aunt has passed away, and we were able to move back home to our beloved Norco. My horses love Norco, too—as shown by the big smile!
–Marsha Carey

The best part of living in Norco is that you can ride your horse anywhere, and there are so many beautiful trails at the Santa Ana Riverbed. Everything is so country in this little town!
–Gabriela T.

Norco is the last full service, semi-rural, equestrian community in Southern California: a patch of green surrounded by a sea of ever growing concrete – we must not take this for granted and fight to protect our large lots, to trails to open space!
–Kevin Bash

Norco IS Horsetown USA! It’s like no other place I know. This is where horsemen meet, work, shop and play, and that is why we moved our business here. It’s an eclectic tapestry of horse people and that enriches our lives.
–Fran Klovstad

10 tips to tame the Bureaucracy

Lessons learned in getting important issues achieved at agencies

By LYNN BROWN / for the Horsetrader - August 31st, 2018

1809a_coverEDITOR’S NOTE: Los Angeles horsewoman Lynn Brown has been a leading activist for equestrians for decades, helping horse groups navigate unfamiliar terrain of municipal government when important issues arise. Most recently, she worked with friends to successfully oppose a land use proposal in the Burbank-Glendale area that, if passed, would have replaced a legacy stable with condominiums.

The adage, “you can’t fight City Hall,” is not true—you can! Some may try and find that the cards seem stacked against them, or that the opposition was better organized. I’d like to provide some suggestions that have worked—and now is the time. These days, preserving equestrian life in many communities requires that its horsepeople to take up the fight.

The first challenge is to be positive, to know you can make a difference. It’s not always easy. In our recent battle to preserve the Silver Spur Stables from being demolished and rebuilt as small-lot housing, the task at first seemed impossible. We tackled it anyway, and to our surprise, we won—the individual who had applied to Glendale City Council for a zoning change, suddenly after months of relentless opposition, withdrew his request. If he had been successful in obtaining the zoning change, it would spell the end of all the historic boarding barns and feed stores along Riverside Drive.

CalFireSAN MARCOS — Horse owners are encouraged to attend a Feb. 26 community forum at Walnut Grove Heritage Park for a presentation of lessons learned, preparedness and effective reaction strategies in event of a fire emergency.
The Twin Oaks Valley Equestrian Association and Horse Heritage Conservancy will host the meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. in Mary Connors Hall, 1952 Sycamore Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069.
Positive dialogue is expected between the public and community leaders including Laura Ward, Deputy Director of the County of San Diego Animal Services; Tonia Haynes, Sergeant of Community Relations, Animal Rescue Services; Buck Martin, City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Director; as well as representatives of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Cal Fire.
For additional information, contact TOVEA at twinoaksvalleyequestrian@gmail.com.
If you have news or important community service items that you would like distributed by California Horsetrader magazine or horsetrader.com, send items to: news@horsetrader.com