California Riding Magazine • December, 2012

Escondido Equestrian Center for Natural Horsemanship
New stable owner foresees evolving community for like-minded horse owners.

Natural horsemanship training has made a big, positive difference in Joan Layte's relationship with her horses and she hopes it will do the same for many others as the owner of the Escondido Equestrian Center for Natural Horsemanship. Joan is a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship and in buying her San Diego County stable, she's carrying on the good natural horsemanship work begun by the property's previous owner Cindy Giannini, who ran the facility as Savvy Stables.

Several current boarders are already Parelli students. Joan welcomes more of that program's devotees but emphasizes that following a certain instructor or training method is not required to board there. She does predict that those who are open minded to training methods that fall under the natural horsemanship umbrella will be a good fit at the stable. She plans to bring in various clinicians to help the Center broaden its role as a hub for ongoing learning and improved relationships between horses and their humans.

In Joan's view, it's rarely the horses that have anything to learn. Natural horsemanship methods appeal to her because they embrace the fact that the horse "already knows how to do everything," she notes. "It's the people who need to know how to get it out of the horse. I've seen it work like that and that's what I want to help promote."

Joan has her own experience to draw on. She grew up with training for the Western Equitation division and worked as a trail ride guide in San Marcos. Like many, her notion of horsemanship consisted of " brushing him off and heading out on trail bareback." As an adult later, however, a challenging horse and the fears that usually come with years brought her to a new threshold. "I got a difficult horse that made me realize how lucky I had been with horses before, and at a time when I am older and no longer heal as quickly as I once did. I was more cautious."

The more she learned through natural horsemanship training, the more confident she became about working on her own with her horse and the more they both seemed to enjoy their time together. Her horse went from rarely coming to her when she called him in the pasture, to coming happily when summoned. And that just scratches the surface. "I find it amazing. He's really like a different horse."

Room to Roam

The Escondido Equestrian Center For Natural Horsemanship is an 18-acre property with room to roam. Equine living accommodations include a 10-stall barn, partial and fully covered 24' by 24' pipe corrals, and 50' by 100' pens with shade covers. A five-acre "playland" features natural obstacles and a manmade pond. A 120' by 270 arena and a 60' by 90' arena, plus a round pen, offer conventional schooling spaces and there's plenty of trails both on the property and just a short distance away. The 1,900-acre Hellhole Canyon preserve in Valley Center and Daley Ranch trails are both within a few miles.

Joan lives on the property and supervises a staff that provides thrice daily feedings and visual inspections, plus grooming, blanketing, turn-outs and other services by arrangement.

For more information on Escondido Equestrian Center for Natural Horsemanship, call Joan Layte at 760-751-2073 or visit