Caballos Del Mar. Photo by Andrea Lynch
There are many ways to describe the 11-acre Caballos Del Mar equestrian facility in San Diego County's Encinitas. "A special haven," is how trainer Alysia Lynch-Sherard puts it.
The gated property features 14 grass paddocks, a sand turn-out, a six-horse Eurocisor with rubber pavers and an excellent 230' x 130' all-weather footing arena. There are derby obstacles, including a grob, multiple banks and in-ground ditches. The property also has trail access, providing added opportunities to keep equine minds fresh and engaged with varied schooling routines. Expansive lawns and abundant shade create a gracious vibe, and the coastal location means sunny skies and cool ocean breezes year round.
Caballos Del Mar was already beautiful when the Burtechs bought the property in January of this year. They have ensured that the quality of care is on par with the beautiful setting. Alysia and her husband Colby live on-site, ready to respond to any after-hour needs. Night watch, laundry service, Eurocisor, sand turnout, bedding and
three daily hay feedings are all part of the board package, along with the services of friendly, knowledgeable and professional grooms who veteran hunter/jumper trainer Penny Wahler and Alysia simply describe as "wonderful."
Caballos Del Mar's physical amenities are many, but its aura may be its most important trait. "It's the lack of tension," says Penny of what sets the facility apart. The quiet, peaceful atmosphere produces a remarkably happy state of mind in the horses who live there. Both Alysia and Penny believe that's attributable to an open design in which horses can see most of the activity going on around the farm.
The property has a similar effect on people, Penny asserts. And that makes it a perfect base for the Burtech family. "This is fun," says Julie Burtech, a former hunter/jumper rider who migrated to dressage a few years back. That is the family's motto for Caballos Del Mar and one that's been happily embraced by Julie, her husband Dominic and their daughter, 16-year-old Maile.
Along with several similar-age friends, Maile competes on the hunter/jumper circuit under Penny and Alysia's guidance. Julie's husband and their son, Dominic III, are active supporters of the Caballos Del Mar endeavor. A rescued Quarter Horse named Cowboy is a special father/son project and the now-healthy equine senior citizen has a place of honor and comfort at the stable. Goats, chickens and canine companions complete the appealing family farm feel.
In addition to maintaining the beautiful property they purchased, the Burtechs look forward to their future plans for the farm. Long-term plans include re-building the existing 22-stall barn and adding an additional 10-stall barn with a large dressage court.
Progressing With Pros
Penny and Alysia love working with riders who are motivated to achieve goals. "Whether that's learning to post the trot or qualify for a medal final, we welcome riders who are driven to accomplish something, while also having fun. Our atmosphere is designed to help riders achieve goals and to make it enjoyable along the way," says Penny.
Safety and confidence established through building a solid riding and horsemanship foundation are the principles of Penny's program. Flatwork is a focus of that process. Challenging lessons at home, usually private or semi-private, make things easier when students get to the horse show, Alysia notes.
The team typically competes twice a month, including county level and A-rated events. Showpark and the Del Mar Fairgrounds are just a 10-minute drive from the stable and the Blenheim EquiSports venue in San Juan Capistrano is just 45 minutes north. The Foxfield Medal Finals is on this season's agenda and further destinations are happily accommodated as clients' needs and preferences warrant.
Julie is grateful to have found Penny two years ago. "She's an amazing trainer with a wealth of knowledge and true dedication to the sport," she says. "No matter the age or experience of her students, Penny wants to make you a better rider."
As a mother, Julie especially appreciates Penny and Alysia's gift for providing a safety-focused training program while encouraging riders to challenge themselves by moving up the levels when the time is right. Beyond their horsemanship skills, Penny and Alysia are terrific role models, Julie adds.
Penny is a familiar presence on the West Coast hunter/jumper circuit. A Northern California native, she trained successfully in that area until moving south in 2007. She has taken riders and horses to numerous regional and national championships. Penny is also a USEF 'R' rated hunter, jumper and equitation judge and has judged at some of the country's biggest shows.
Alysia grew up in Toronto and began her training career at the age of 15 as a working student for Toronto trainer John Skey. Alysia competed very successfully at some of the top national and international competitions as a junior and young amateur before moving west for new challenges.
Natasha Traurig is also a trainer at Caballos Del Mar. She is a very committed and accomplished rider who trains Julie in dressage. Natasha's foundation in riding began at a very young age because her parents are also dedicated to the sport. She has received the best training from two riding disciplines. One from her mother, Christine Traurig, an Olympic dressage rider and accomplished trainer, and from her father, Bernie Traurig, a talented show jumper, who has also successfully competed in both eventing and dressage.
Penny and Alysia describe themselves as "incredibly fortunate" to have found the Burtech family and Caballos Del Mar. "You could not find more kind or more giving people to work with," Penny reports.
For more information on Caballos Del Mar, visit www.caballosdelmar.net.