California Riding Magazine • November, 2012

Equinox Equestrian Center
Hideaway location and excellent amenities are hallmarks of Los Angeles-area facility.

The Equinox Equestrian Center is right where its owner, Karen Bristing, wants it to be: not far from downtown Los Angeles, but plenty far away to offer a quiet, peaceful and relaxed riding and training environment.

An eventing competitor and longtime horse owner, Karen was thrilled to find the property in 2000. It had been part of actor David Carradine's family ranch and the location, in the San Fernando Valley's Sun Valley, met her requirement for a secluded private property that was still a convenient commute for working horse owners.

Overview of Equinox taken from the ridge above the property.
Photo by Karen Bristing

After years of boarding her horses at other facilities, she had a long and specific list of what she wanted when she got the chance to start from scratch. The top items on that list related to the horse's safety and comfort and the 16-stall Equinox Equestrian Center reflects that priority. It took a while to pull it off, six years, in fact, but it was worth the wait.

The private facility features a state-of-the-art barn, a galloping track and trails. The covered arena assures no rain-out days and keeps horses and riders cool during hot summer days. The footing here is freshly installed from Footings Unlimited West, using Apex sand mixed with Lightfoot, a rubber product made of shredded
Nike shoes. The large outdoor arena has cross-country obstacles, including a bank complex and a ditch that are frequently filled with water for schooling purposes.

A caretaker and a few grooms live on site and the horse care provided by the latter, several of whom are active riders themselves, is top notch.

As the stable's owner and manager, Karen's job description is the equestrian equivalent of a concierge at a high-end hotel. It includes arranging for a wide range of horse care and training services: full grooming, daily turn-outs and/or hand-walking, vet and farrier care arrangements and records, injury and illness rehab, arranging for horse transportation and a lot more.

Gina Economou schooling Phargo over the narrow. Photo by Karen Bristing

Eventing trainer Gina Economou and dressage trainer Nina Winternheimer work with clients at Equinox. Gina is a Two and Three-Star veteran and a participant in the USEA Developing Rider program. Nina came to Los Angeles with impressive credentials from her native Sweden, where she graduated in the top of her class from two top national schools: Flyinge and Stromsholm. Gina and Nina have their main businesses at nearby stables and visit Equinox regularly to work with their clients who board there.

"Every place that we were, we'd think, 'This would be great, if only we had control over this, or if they did that differently," Karen recalls of the perspective she brought from boarding at other stables. "It's great to be the one making the rules and able to put the safety of our horses above
all else.

"We pride ourselves on good horse care and attention to detail," Karen continues. "We were very thoughtful about all the little amenities for horses." Comfort Stall's Equine Flooring System® and stall walls lined with rubber mats are two such examples. "We wanted to do everything possible to prevent horses from being able to get hurt in their stalls."

Equinox's small size allows for highly personalized horse care. "Because we are small, we can adjust to whatever various owners want to do with their horses," Karen explains. There are ample amenities for people, too, like a tack room that has "huge tack closets" for each boarder. "We're eventers: we have a lot of stuff," Karen notes. Even though Equinox rarely has a ton of people there at any given time, the property has three restrooms to ensure boarder's convenience.

All of the above are just a few examples of the details the Equinox team prides itself in tending to for their clients, horse and human. The end result is an appealing horsekeeping situation. "Not a lot of people know that we are here," Karen observes. "We are kind of a little hideaway in a quiet neighborhood. But the fact is you can come out here and do your thing, then get to downtown Los Angeles very easily."

Equinox may be a well-kept secret in some circles, but it's on the radar screen of those in the know. Canadian dressage Olympian Leslie Reid and several of her upper level horses will be based there through the winter. "She liked our small size, the covered arena and our proximity to the winter dressage show circuit in Southern California," Karen notes.

For more information, visit www.equinoxeventers.com or call 818-767-3200.