If you took a drive down West Foothill Blvd in San Luis Obispo lately, you might find yourself wondering what all the activity is going on at the iconic Madonna Ranch these days. With hundreds of portable stalls constructed in the sprawling pastures, heads are turning in the passing cars. For the first time in the ten years since John and Suzy Madonna took the reins, a National Cutting Horse Association event was held at the ranch.
Beginning August 1st, Ranch Manager Dave Costello and his wife Vicki produced a 3-Day, age limited and weekend approved cutting horse show at the ranch. Dave is a Hall of Fame cutting horse champion, trainer and judge, and owner of the Outback Training Stables.
Dave moved his training facility from Paso Robles to Madonna Ranch in 2013. Dave and his wife also produce shows called Wine Country Cutting at the Paso Robles Event Center.
In the 10 years since the passing of John’s father, Alex Madonna, John and Suzy have worked hard to upgrade the facilities, including construction of a 45,000 SF arena, and bring back the excitement and competitive spirit of cutting horses and the people who love them to this amazing ranch. Alex would be very proud.
Nestled in the valley between Cerro San Luis and Bishops Peak, the views of the peaks and sunsets from the ranch are spectacular. Hundreds of riders, horses, campers and trucks as well as NCHA judges, announcers, and cow wranglers enjoyed the beautiful SLO weather. All 160 portable stalls and every new RV hook-up space was reserved for the event, and over 200 fresh cows were delivered each day.
Spectators are welcome at these shows free of charge. For more information on this NCHA Show, Outback Training Stables, or Madonna Ranch, please follow these links:
MadonnaRanch.com, NCHAcutting.com, Outbacktrainingstables.com.
Story and photos by Margo A. Anderson | Additional photos by Erin O’Donnell.