Thursday, May 8, 2014

Redwood Ranch Stables

Over Spring Break, while my Dad was visiting, we were able to get out to Redwood Regional Park to visit Redwood Ranch Stables.
I've mentioned growing up with horses before, and one of the things my dad had really wanted to do was to go horse riding on the trails with all of us. While we were unable to find a company that does rides on Mt. Diablo, he was directed to Redwood Ranch Stables
The ranch's trail site says they started offering trail rides as of  May 1, 2014....they were more than accommodating to taking 6 of us out on the trails in April.
The ranch is literally up against the park boundary, so the trail access is pretty amazing.
By "pretty amazing"....I mean beautiful!

Even though I did grow up with horses, it had been somewhere around 20 years since I had rode, Brian...well he's never done any "real" riding, neither had the kids.  So we all started off a little wobbly. I was expecting maybe a little bonding time/instructional time pre-ride, but we just mounted up and took off pretty much.  Their horses are plow reined, rather than neck reined, which is how we reined growing up.  What does that mean, you ask? Well, it' sort of like the difference between power brakes/steering, and manual brakes/steering....plow reining is a lot more work, you really have to tug/pull to get the horse to do what you that took some getting used to.  I.E.- to turn left with neck reining, you just barely move your hand to the left so that the right rein lays on the right side of the horses neck and it turns away from it.  Plow reining, you pull pretty hard on the left rein and bend the horses neck to the left. Not my style of handling a horse, but I still really, really enjoyed my time out on the trail.
There were a lot of dogs out there, and we did have a few scares. Myle's horse tried to kick a pit bull, another dog got dad and Sophie's horses pretty jumpy.  Emma's horse decided to take a right instead of a left at one point and then made a move like it was about to go off trail and run down a steep hill to get to where we were...but the wrangler with us talked her through getting him to back up and get headed back down to us.  Everyone handled their scares without freaking out, and stayed firmly in their saddles!  We had both a guide/wrangler gal, and one of the owners of the ranch riding with us.
Everyone was very helpful and friendly. We weren't rushed out after the ride, but invited to stick around as along as we wanted and were free to roam around and look at the ranch, horses, stables...whatever we wanted.
It really was a great time!
The kids loved it, and I think it brought back memories, as well as made new ones!




  1. Plough-reined vs. neck-reined? Are you sure you weren't raised by John Wayne? (Actually, I would be surprised if he knew about that sort of thing.) This is really awesome and I like that there was a tiny bit of adventure in the day, even if some of it likely was stressful at the time. There are a LOT of people with dogs in that park, so I'm not too surprised that added challenges. And thanks for contributing to the obstacles we had to deal with the next day at our trail race there. (OK, technically you didn't contribute; your horses did. In either case, dodging fresh horse poop added a bit of adventure to our race.)

    1. I thought he was John Wayne...or Hoss maybe : )
      And how do you know I didn't contribute??

  2. My brain cells still flood with endorphines just looking at these pics. Thank you for this post. I was proud of all you so much. 'But I will have to say that what Myles had to overcome was amazing for a 7 year old. Anyone I have shared the story with that know about horses always say "Oh no" when I get to the part when Myles swung his leg into the rib of the horse instead of up and over the saddle. The horse jumped and Myles was hanging onto the saddle horn and every time the horse jumped sideways Myles would slam into the side of the horse causing it to panic even more. Not a whimper from him. And without hesitation he got right back on it. My favorite pic though, is the close up of Brian and that smile on his face. It says it all. My next fav moment was when the wrangler was assessing and us adults you and I soft sold the fact that Brian had limited experience with horses and Myles speaks up and tells the wrangler his dad is a "city slicker". It was such fun times, it was the best of times. Emma did so well when her horse took off on a different trail. And Sophie was stellar when her horse jumped from the pit bull. However, the best smile of all was on the proud mother of her awesome family. Beth, it was easy to tell you were the most happiest mother, wife, and daughter on the earth. Love you all.