“We ask our riders to bring two things: A picnic lunch and a disposable camera,” explained Victoria as she began to tell me about her horses and the rides she takes.
A plethora of California wildlife abounds with bald eagles swooping above, the occasional bear foraging in bushes, hard-to-see mountain lions keeping their distance, deer scampering alongside, a variety of terrain and scenery to enjoy with beautiful ancient rock formations, mint-colored moss-draped forests, Santa Margarita Lake views, forest shade to provide coolness, hills to climb, wildflower flanked single track trails, oak-studded vistas to marvel at and many trails to blaze . . . this is what a ride on location with Victoria and her horses of Shangri-La Ranch of Santa Margarita could give you.
Victoria has been taking riders out on location around Santa Margarita Lake County Park as well as providing horses for people who want to go on the many trail rides held in SLO county for over 30 years.
“This county is so horse friendly with so many places to ride and groups that plan trail rides,” exclaimed Victoria. “I can provide the horses for riders who don’t want to miss out on a ride but may not have a suitable horse.”
Riding out from Shangri-La Ranch
Victoria’s main concern is for the safety and welfare of her horses and her guests. So to start riders out right, while on location at Shangri-La Ranch, the first part of the three hour ride time actually is a riding lesson. Her riders start with the “dry” lesson where Victoria helps riders understand how the horse thinks. “Riders can easily confuse a horse when they don’t know what they are doing through using rough and unnecessary commands. This can be torture for the horse, making the horse’s only safe place to be back at the corral with out a rider. That’s why many abused trail horses just want to buck off riders and run back to the corral,” explains Victoria.
The second part of the lesson involves grooming and tacking up the horse which allows the rider to become familiar with the personality of the horse before getting on. The third phase is the trail ride part which lasts 1.5 hrs minimum. Each time a rider comes out the riding phase increases as his or her experience increases. That way the horses stay sane and the riders experience the whole aspect of horse back riding and stay safe. “My horses have no bad habits,” she proudly expressed, “we are very careful and we don’t let people abuse the animals.” She went on to explain, “My horses are my family.”
What makes a ride extra-special with Victoria is her attention to proper riding and position and her desire to see riders connect with their mounts. She loves to play games out on the trails with the riders to get them relaxed and comfortable with riding to increase their enjoyment level and experience the most that trail riding has to offer.
When planning a ride with your friends Victoria will first evaluate how well you handle a horse and then tailor the ride accordingly. If you are capable she will allow you to ride out in front and do more with the horse while she manages the rest of the party that may need more focus. You can also bring your own horse but will need to ride out in front or behind in order not to alter the pecking order of her horses. Victoria takes out a minimum of 2 riders and a maximum of 6 riders. She is available year-round, 7 days a week. She plans one outing a day and does not go out every day to keep the horses fresh. There is even a KOA campground across the street from the ranch where you can stay and have the opportunity to ride.
You Bring: A Picnic Lunch and Disposable Camera
You probably have a good idea now about the picnic lunch and the disposable camera, but just so you aren’t left wondering . . . The disposable camera is for you to take pictures while on the ground and for Victoria to take pictures while you are mounted. The lunch is to enjoy while out on the ride as you stop to enjoy it at the lunch break.
So whether you plan a picnic ride, or choose a combo ride that includes kayaking and riding, or spend half a day with Victoria and her horses, you will be sure to come home satisfied with your day and with memories to treasure. And please don’t forget the disposable camera so you can relive your experience and share it with others.
Find out more at http://shangrilaranch.net.