Sharing the Love of Horses at Covell’s California Clydesdales Ranch

Sharing the Love of Horses at Covell’s California Clydesdales Ranch | SLO Horse News

The Central Coast is truly one of the most magnificent places to call home.  With incredible landscapes, unbeatable weather and a vibrant horse community, our “home” is one that is very difficult to top.  When friends or family visit, it’s always fun to come up with new and exciting ways to show off our coastline, and if they happen to be “horse lovers” like we are, there are a few unique ways to provide the Central Coast experience with a “horsey twist”.  Covell’s California Clydesdales, located in Cambria, are the perfect way to bring horses and touring the Central Coast together in one amazing and unique package!

The Real Stars of the Show – The Clydesdales

Cambria Pines by the Sea Ranch, better known as Covell’s California Clydesdales, is a near 2000-acre Clydesdale ranch and nature conservatory nestled in the trees of one of the most beautiful areas on the Central Coast. The ranch is home to numerous cattle, horses, and mules, but the real stars of the show are the over 70 beautiful Clydesdale horses that romp freely in herds throughout the ranch. Wildlife abounds throughout the 2000 acres, including birds of prey, foxes, deer, bobcats, and more. From ranch tours, guided trail rides, and a future zip-line, Covell’s California Clydesdales has a unique and special way for everyone to share in the beauty of the ranch.

Sharing the Love of Horses at Covell’s California Clydesdales Ranch | SLO Horse News

A Tour of Covell’s California Clydesdales Ranch

Ralph Covell, owner of the ranch, took me on a driving tour of the property. As we meandered our way through the herds of Clydesdales, he could look at any of the horses and tell me its name, the sire/dam, offspring, and if the horse had any previous show experience.

Most of the Clydesdales come from excellent pedigrees and have had success in breed association shows within the United States and abroad. Mr. Covell has had the winningest driving mares in 2007, world champion studs, and claims numerous other championships.

Life has now slowed down for the 70+ gentle giants who call the ranch home. The majority of the horses are not broke to ride, and simply live life as if they were wild. Those that are broke to ride are used on the guided trail rides that guests can schedule in advance with the ranch.

The People Mover

The Covell’s have invested in a 50 person “people mover” as Mr. Covell calls it. The “people mover” is an open air wagon that is hitched behind a team of Clydesdales. As it can accommodate up to 50 people, the “people mover” has been a big success. Tour groups from across the U.S., and even abroad, have utilized this means of transportation for the tour. The ranch has even been featured in Sunset Magazine for its special tours.

If you were to embark on a “people mover” tour, you can expect to witness the breathtaking scenery while seated comfortably in the open-air wagon. The tour will take you through the herds of Clydesdales, who may come to investigate. After the tour, you can schedule a ‘Picnic in the Pines’, where you can learn more about the history of the ranch and its environmental significance.

Private, Personal Trail Rides

A more personal tour can be found aboard your very own Clydesdale. Tara Covell, one of Mr. Covell’s daughters, leads 2-hour trail rides through the ranch. Rides can be scheduled by phone or email, both found on their website home page. The trail rides have a maximum of six people, giving them a personal touch.

Sharing the Love of Horses at Covell’s California Clydesdales Ranch | SLO Horse News

Riding one of the ranch’s Clydesdales is a unique experience – where else can you ride a Clydesdale on a guided trail ride, let alone with such beautiful scenery? The actual course of the rides can vary depending on where the majority of the horses are (they try to avoid taking groups out into places where the horses are pastured for safety reasons), but typically, the trail takes you through the hills of the ranch, up to the high points where the Pacific Ocean is visible on 3 sides. The ranch was blanketed in a thick layer of fog on the day I visited, so Mr. Covell made sure to emphasize how magnificent the view really is.

On the ride, you will be able to see the largest strand of Monterey pine trees, a unique feature of the ranch that makes it extremely important from an environmental standpoint. You may even see some cattle, as the Covell’s are letting cattle graze throughout the forest as a sort of symbiotic relationship. The cows get plenty of forage from the forest, and the trees are able to grow unhindered from less competition by invasive species.

Ranch SUV Rides

Individual and private tours can also be scheduled, where you will ride along with Mr. Covell in the ranch SUV. An individual tour is the perfect opportunity to have a more one-on-one discussion with Mr. Covell himself. I was able to stop at any point to get out and interact with the horses. Many of the “gentle giants” are very eager to investigate and are very approachable.


With so many ways to see and experience the ranch, you are sure to show your guests (or yourself) the beauty of the Central Coast in a way that you have surely never experienced before, and all with a very “horsey twist”.  So, don’t wait any longer, contact Covell’s California Clydesdales today to book your very own personalized and unique experience!

Photo Credit: Chanel Jensen

Currently an agricultural communications student at Cal Poly SLO. Chanel grew up in Colorado with her two horses, Thunder and Buddy. She is currently horseless in California, so she takes advantage of Cal Poly's various horse programs. "I am so excited to be riding with SLO Horse News!"

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