California Riding Magazine • January, 2008

Penny Wahler
& Dapple Shade Farm

Accomplished trainer relocates to premiere Escondido facility.

by Erna L. Adelson

Southern California has a new premiere training facility. Accomplished trainer Penny Wahler has downsized from her acclaimed Loma Alta Farms in Santa Cruz to bring the top hunter, jumper and equitation prospects to Dapple Shade Farm of Escondido, in San Diego County. “I want a much smaller group of clients than I had at Loma Alta,” Penny explains. “This way the horses and their owners will get even more individual attention.”

Penny lobbied for the acquisition of Dapple Shade for over a year before finally procuring the facility. “I have always wanted to move here,” she says. “Besides the great weather, I have been showing down here so much in the last 10 years that it’s definitely worth it.” Before investing in Dapple Shade, Penny rekindled a love for riding after getting involved at Loma Alta while still in college. Eventually, she moved on to own the farm, utilizing her extensive understanding of the national “A” circuit as a competitor and an “R” rated judge to increase the quality of her instruction, the diversity of the staff and the value of Loma Alta stock. Penny expands on her experiences as a judge: “Judging is very character building, and it really is a great way to learn more about horses, people, and this business. Every show I judge, whether it be big or small in scale, I come home with new ideas.”

Penny attributes many of her accomplishments to her inner strength. “I definitely think I inherited my mother’s determination. Everyone told me not to buy Loma Alta, and I bought it anyway and made it work. Dapple Shade Farm was a bit tough to acquire as well, but the first time I saw it I knew I wanted to buy it,” she discloses. Dapple Shade Farm features irrigated grass turnouts, a small turf with jumps, a recently completed all-weather footing arena and a bank for practicing for jumpers or equitation. The stables have turnouts with shelters, 14x14 box stalls and even a treadmill available for conditioning and rehabbing injured horses.

Penny is noted for her ability to create a winning team of horse and rider by applying her own standards while looking for suitable mounts for her clients. “I have to really like and want the horse as if I were buying it myself before I encourage a client to buy it,” she states. As a result, both horses and riders that Penny has nurtured have been victorious on the A circuit. Once again, Wahler cites her inherited tenacity as a key factor in her success as a trainer and athlete.

Now at Dapple Shade, Wahler looks to further her achievements in the hunters, jumpers and equitation world by upholding her reputation for building strong teams, giving each individual personal attention, and showing superior sale horses in the ring. Wahler will continue to draw from her broad range of experience in the various arenas in California and her inherent resolve to create a name for Dapple Shade Farm and a new home for herself in equine-rich Southern California.

For more information, please contact Penny Wahler at