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Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park includes picturesque views of rolling hills.

Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park includes picturesque views of rolling hills.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — The future of Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park had been up in the air for the past few years until the San Juan Capistrano City Council voted unanimously Aug. 19 that $27.5 million from an open-space bond approved by voters in November 2008 will be used to buy 132 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo property at La Pata and Antonio Parkway. The land will continue to be used for equestrian events, sports fields and an annual rodeo. The property will be called the “Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano.”

Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park is widely known for its year-round equestrian events, especially hunter/jumper shows managed by Blenheim EquiSports. The grounds have hosted several national championships, along with Olympic and FEI World Cup qualifiers.

The property was appraised at $31 million and Rancho Mission Viejo has agreed to sell the property to the City for $27.5 million.

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Mark Nielsen said the property would be forever restricted for equestrian uses, sports fields, habitat and agricultural uses that are in use today, including the continuation of the Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo. The agreement also provides for the potential for a permanent equestrian facility. There would be no residential, commercial or industrial uses allowed on the property, except for the potential equestrian facility.

“The preservation of these 132 acres as open space and the agreement to annex this property into the City of San Juan Capistrano is a huge win for our citizens and future generations, Nielsen said. “I applaud the leadership of Rancho Mission Viejo in working with the City to change their plans and leave a lasting legacy that cements the special relationship between the Ranch and the City of San Juan Capistrano. Not only is this a great asset for the City, but we are preserving a internationally recognized equestrian facility that will benefit all of Orange County.”

The property is a well-known premier venue for open space events in Southern California such as English horse shows, Western horse shows, rodeo, soccer tournaments, antique car shows, dog shows, and various other youth athletic events. The majority of the net proceeds from the Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo will be dedicated for local charities, including the San Juan Capistrano Open Space Foundation, Camino Health Center and Shea Therapeutic Riding Center.

The property also includes the original ranch headquarters location along Ortega Highway including structures such as the Joe Tow residence, old shop, and pole barn. This area also includes a 3.7 Acre Lemon grove, consisting of 700 trees. All facilities and structures on the property owned by Rancho Mission Viejo will become the property of the City.

With this acquisition, the City will provide additional control of the San Juan Creek Road extension as well as the potential to access 100 acres of City-owned open space just west of La Pata Road, behind the homes along the south side of San Juan Creek, which will provide another connection the current City-owned trails.

One comment has been made on “City of San Juan Capistrano to buy Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park”

  1. Colleen Walker Says:

    This is awesome news for the equestrian community!

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