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It’s the View and much more

'A' circuit to trails to polo to charros, equestrians appreciate Lake View Terrace

By AUDREY PAVIA for the Horsetrader - September 18th, 2014 - Communities, Feature Article

LAKE VIEW TERRACE — If you love California, you will appreciate Lake View Terrace. In the wintertime, the snow covered ridges of the San Gabriel Mountains stand as a backdrop. In the spring, wildflowers color the foothill slopes. On summer evenings, the smell of sage rises up from the creek beds. And in the fall, a crisp wind blows down from the hills.

If you love horses, you can also appreciate Lake View Terrace. One of the last bastions of affordable horse property in Los Angeles, Lake View Terrace is home to international level equestrian facilities and backyard horsemen alike, community arenas, and forested trails.

Mission Lands
Long before Lake View Terrace was a community within the city of L.A., it was part of the land holdings of the San Fernando Mission, less than eight miles away. The mission was founded in 1797 by the Spanish padres, who wanted to close the gap between missions located in San Gabriel and Ventura. Mission San Fernando Rey de España, as it was called, was the fourth mission established by Father Ferm’n Lasuén in four months.

The mission lands spread for hundreds and acres, and by the early 1800s, were being used to graze thousands of cattle. The Chumash Indians, who had lived on this land for generations, were put to work at the mission producing cloth, hides, tallow and soap. The mission lands also sustained 30,000 grape vines, from which wine was made at the mission.

When the mission became secularized in 1834, Governor Pio Pico leased the land to his brother, Andres. In time, Andres Pico came to own half the land that was once the holdings of Mission San Fernando. In 1847, the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War in California was signed in nearby Cahuenga. With that signing, California officially became an American territory.

In 1913, the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed, and the land that now makes up the San Fernando Valley was annexed by the city of L.A. two years later. As the towns of Sunland, Tujunga and other communities slowly turned from rural to suburban over the following decades, Lake View Terrace retained more of its equestrian trappings. Today, it is known as a haven for horse owners.

Stuff for Riders
Lake View Terrace can best be described as a semi-rural community, where suburban and rural gracefully come together. The community is mostly residential, and a good number of those residences include horses.

Horse owners who live in Lake View Terrace have access to community trails, as well as trails in the nearby Angeles National Forest. The forest’s Ranger District borders Lake View Terrace, and includes rides such as the strenuous seven-mile loop from Chilao to Devil’s Canyon in the high country, which provides riders with amazing views after a 1,500 foot climb. Less grueling but still a good ride for conditioning is the Buckhorn to Cooper Canyon and Littlerock Creek trail, which leads to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Big Tujunga Canyon, Hansen Dam Park, Kagel Canyon, and a portion of the Verdugo Mountains are also close to Lake View Terrace, offering miles of picturesque trail riding to residents.

For those who prefer to stay closer to home, Lake View Terrace provides several community arenas. Horse shows of different disciplines take place all over the area at local stables, and events sponsored by local ETI Corral 10 are held in town. These include group trail rides, poker rides, playdays and horse camping trips, as well as trail cleanup days in the surrounding areas. ETI Corral 10 also has activities for driving enthusiasts.

Horse clubs abound in Lake View Terrace and the immediate area, and the selection is remarkable. Interested in vaulting? The Valley View Vaulters call Lake View Terrace their home and compete in vaulting competitions throughout the U.S. The group is one of the largest vaulting clubs in the U.S., and is made up of members from all over the Southern California area. Polo? The polo club at MonteVerde Trails Ranch hosts the California Polo Club, as well as a host of other activities ranging from a livery stable for trail riders to youth riding groups like the Blue Shadows and California Rangers, an equestrian-oriented service organization that was founded in 1940. Initially started to supplement the City of San Fernando’s police department, the Rangers developed into a service organization that provides support to a variety of programs and also participates in ceremonial and memorial color and honor guard activities, as well as parades and organized trail rides.

“Come out for a trail ride and you will see quite a variety,” says Lyles Perkins, owner of Courtship Ranch. “The charros, the mules, the minis, the driving horses, the gaited horses, the Aztecas, the Warmbloods … all enjoying different rides in Hansen Dam or the Angeles.”

As if all this wasn’t enough, Lake View Terrace is also the location for a premiere equestrian facility called Middle Ranch, which consists of three ranches within its 100-plus acre parameters: First Ranch, Main Ranch, and North Ranch. The different ranches cater to show horse owners as well as trail riders and others, and feature boarding and training.

Dressage trainers Lars Holmberg and Ulf Wadeborn have been at Middle Ranch since 1990.

“Lake View Terrace is a great horse community because of its diversity in equestrian activities and its many different trail options,” says Wadeborn. “It is also easily accessible from Los Angeles and really feels like one is out of the city without a long commute.”

Fellow Middle Ranch dressage trainer Susan Regalmuto agrees.

“We really have it all,” she says. “From dressage to hunter jumper, Western, vaulting or polo and endless miles of trail riding in the foothills and along Hansen Dam.”

Performance horse trainer Cindy Camarillo and eventer Susan Friend-LeTourneur are based in Lake View Terrace, too, as well as 11 hunter-jumper and dressage trainers at the 35-acre Hansen Dam Equestrian Center.

A unique non-prpofit organization in Lake View Terrace is the New Heaven on Earth Ranch, provider of handicapped riding programs to physically and mentally challenged children and adults in L.A. Heaven on Earth was originally created by Hollywood stuntman Johnny Carpenter.

When it comes to California horsetowns, Lake View Terrace is high up on the must-see list. Though the community only sports a population of 12,000, it is a huge in the world of horses.

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