From beach horseback rides to rodeos, Mendocino County has oodles to offer equestrian in search of adventure and/or relaxation. Located 114 miles north of San Francisco and encompassing the gorgeous California coast, Mendocino is a great place for quick get-aways, with or without your steed!
For a serene slice of equestrian history, travel back in time with a guided tour of the county's newest national historic site – Seabiscuit's Stud Barn at Ridgewood Ranch. This is home to the little horse who could and Seabiscuit's final resting place. Learn the touching and powerful story of the legendary racehorse. See a vintage film featuring breathtaking racing scenes, tour the craftsman-style Howard House built in 1950 by William Van Arsdale and visit with Seabiscuit's descendants, the L'il Biscuits; www.seabiscuitheritage.org/RidgewoodRanch.html
If redwoods and romance are what you seek, gallop over to family-owned Ross Ranch in Elk. Opt for a peaceful, guided horseback ride through the majestic redwoods or trot along pristine miles of unspoiled sand and surf in Manchester State Beach; www.rossranch.biz.
Another coastal option: take the reins for an invigorating ride with Ricochet Ridge Ranch in Fort Bragg. The ranch offers unique beachside riding vacations for both the skilled equestrian and novice, from daily guided trail rides to "Equine and Wine Weekend" getaways partnering with nearby top-notch accommodations and stunning line-up of Anderson Valley wineries. Canter along deserted ocean beaches, ride the bluffs while the Pacific crashes against rocks far below and meander on mossy trails on this distinctive excursion set against the rugged Mendocino Coast; www.horse-vacation.com.
Planning to visit with your equine companion? Black Butte River Ranch offers quaint cabins and hosts nine paddocks on seven acres of pasture for boarding horses. R.V. parking and camping is also available, including the creature comforts of coin-operated showers and running water; www.blackbutteriverranch.com/equestrian.htm
In the mood for something rowdier? Take a trip to the old West every June and July for the longest running rodeo in the state of California: the Willits Frontier Days festival. Since 1926, the nonprofit organization has been amusing families with rowdy rodeo fun including a carnival, the Black Bart gun fighters – a traveling group comprised of good guys, bad guys, gunfighters, bootleggers and old pioneers – a foot race, the cutest little cowboy and cowgirl contest, and of course, the horse show and rodeo: www.willitsfrontierdays.com/index.html
Mendocino County welcomes nearly 1.8 million visitors annually and is a pioneer in sustainable tourism and viticultural practices, earning the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic vineyards in the United States. The county boasts 120 miles of prime Pacific coastline, 80+ wineries and 10 diverse AVAs, 23 state/national parklands and 450+ accommodations. Straddling scenic Highways 1 and 101 "The Redwood Highway," Mendocino County delivers an ideal vortex of waves, wines and redwoods laced with historic villages and outback adventures.
Article and photos provided by Visit
Mendocino County. For more information visit www.visitmendocino.com.