Girls just wanna have fun . . . right? What two elements make for a great equestrian girls’ getaway time? You know it, horses and wine. Where can those two elements be blended together? Of course, right here in wine country on the Central Coast.
Let’s follow along with a group of ladies, all experienced equestrians, who got away to Paso Robles from Orange County for a weekend of horseback riding, wine tasting, making memories and connecting friendships.
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Visionary Behind the Weekend Activities
The “head wrangler”, Debbie Loucks, was the visionary behind the weekend and pulled these eight ladies together for one great equestrian girls’ getaway. “Debbie was the ‘handler’ and we did what we were told,” remarked Adrienne Brandes with a laugh.
Paso Robles was the chosen destination not only because of the blend of horses and wine, but also because of the easy driving distance from Orange County, located south of Los Angeles. The driving distance between Paso Robles and Orange County is about 250 miles. “Paso is an easy drive from Orange County and it feels like a quick escape to Tuscany,” commented Karen Schwabe.
Since all the ladies are experienced horseback riders, Debbie looked for an outfit which could give them an experience matching their combined riding experience. Debbie reached out to Brian of Central Coast Trail Rides. The final plans were put into place through Debbie after getting input from all the participants planning to enjoy the weekend getaway.
Central Coast Trail Rides was the Perfect Solution for the Horseback Riding
Brian listened to what the group wished for regarding their desired horseback riding experience and began to tick off the criteria boxes of a new ride on the back side of Halter Ranch Vineyard that he and his wife, Crystal, had been working on. This ride is only accessible through Central Coast Trail Rides. Brian commented on the ride, “We knew they could handle the new advanced ride on the back side of Halter Ranch Vineyards. It’s an all-day ride with some steep hills. Riders need to be experienced and in shape.” Brian ended the description with a little laugh in his voice, “. . . and the group likes wine!”
Halter Ranch Vineyard Ride with Catered Lunch on the Trail
“This ladies’ group was our first group ride on the back side of Halter Ranch Vineyards,” explained Brian. “We had been working on this trail which traverses land protected by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo. We work at providing customized horseback riding packages and this one includes a catered lunch, with wine, out on the trail.” Brian noted that the riders found the ride challenging and all enjoyed the experience. To top off the day the ladies enjoyed a Halter Ranch wine caves tour and a wine tasting flight in the tasting room.
Riders’ Thoughts and Photos on the Halter Ranch Vineyard Ride
“Very hilly up and down ride. Was not a nose to tail ride by any means. I loved just being on my horse and enjoying the scenery. The terrain was challenging and I enjoyed that also. This ride was not for a beginner,” says Beth Hebner.
“I loved the challenge, yet felt perfectly comfortable on my horse. My favorite part was staying on his back – ha ha. Seriously, it was exhilarating but safe at the same time,” Adrienne Brandes relayed.
“My favorite part was the scenery, varied terrain and seeing cows along the trail out in pasture,” expressed Karen Schwabe.
“Franky didn’t trip. In fact, he was my personal mountain goat. When we reached our lunch destination he was breathing hard and his coat wet. All the horses were. The horses got to take a break in the shade as we drank in the beauty and some of us the wine. Our fancy sandwiches, accouterments and the bottles of wine had been in our guides’ saddlebags,” recalls Susan Friedland through her story of the ride on her blog SaddleSeeksHorse.
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Tips for enjoying an all-day ride on the Central Coast
- Cell service was spotty in such a hilly area. So you can’t count on using your cell phone at times. – Beth Hebner
- I would highly recommend Central Coast Trails. Bring Tick spray, sunscreen and a gel pad for your saddle if you ride 5 ½ hours like we did. I loved getting out early and having the remainder of the day to go wine tasting. – Adrienne Brandes
- Make food and wine tasting reservations in advance if you can. Under sell your riding ability when they assign horses (always ask for the older slower horse). – Karen Schwabe
Accommodations Made Them Feel Like They Were in Tuscany
The Tuscan-style Allegretto Vineyard Resort was the perfect compliment to the blend of horses and wine for the great equestrian girls’ getaway. Debbie gave the property a nod of approval and shared it with her friends. Beth Hebner describes their stay at the Allegretto as, “Comfortable, clean, beautiful, spacious and good food.”
Every lady gave the option a thumb-up and came home a raving fan. The resort was not just a place to stay, it was a place for the group to connect. Here they enjoyed at least one dinner which meant they didn’t have to clean-up and head back out to the town after a full day of activity.
Adrienne Brandes provides a glimpse into their stay and the connection the resort provided, “The accommodations were lovely and the food was fabulous (and I’m a picky foodie) but the best part was the camaraderie with the ladies – wonderful, kind, interesting and beautiful women – some old friends and some new; truly a blessing to have them in my life.”
Other Activities Enjoyed on this Equestrian Girls’ Getaway
Several ladies experienced Sensorio – a field of lights experience – on Friday night, after arriving and settling into the Allegretto Vineyard Resort. Karen Schwabe describes her reaction to the field of lights, “Sensorio was a must see and easy in/easy out without a lot of fuss.”
Besides the wine flight at Halter Ranch, and wine tasting options at the Allegretto the ladies also enjoyed discovering Daou winery in Paso Robles. Daou was beautiful at sunset with terrific wine flights.
The ladies also noted a few things that could make your trip to Paso Robles wine country easier:
- Get to dinner early or make a reservation. The town was packed and dinner wait times reflected it.
- The town was a typical resort / walk about town with loads of people. Reservations recommended for sure but loads to do while waiting, if needed.
Plan Your Own Equestrian Girls’ Getaway
Getting away with just the gals is a fun way to bring connection and create memories into your life. If your gal pals are also equestrians a visit to the Central Coast for an epic horseback ride blended with terrific wine, food and accommodation options needs to get in the books. Be like these ladies and get out and explore, connect and enjoy. Plan your own great equestrian girls’ getaway and come enjoy the blend of horses and wine the Central Coast offers. Paso Robles is part of San Luis Obispo County where there is a regional airport and transportation can be arranged to get up to Paso Robles.
Plan your own epic horseback riding adventure with your gal pals, friends or family with the SLO County Guided Trail Ride Guide.
Cover Photo Credit: Adrienne Brandes
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Come horse around with us! There are so many ways to horse around in stunning SLO County. Trail ride, stay and play, horse show and wine taste. Keep this info at your fingertips with a FREE Hot Sheet that will direct you to stories which tell you where you can trail ride, stay with your horse, show and taste. We’ll continue to add horsing around stories to our website. You can stay up-to-date by becoming a SLO Horse News herd member. Get your Horsing Around in SLO County Hot Sheet here >.