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“Hanging Heart Ranch” in Templeton California
Located in Templeton, CA, Hanging Heart Ranch offers both children and adults the opportunity to learn how to care for and ride horses through lessons and camp programs. With several awesome horses to choose from, lessons vary from first time students, to more advanced riders, allowing Hanging Heart Ranch to accommodate for all levels. One of the main goals of the Ranch’s program is that students become not only safe, confident riders, but also well-rounded individuals with the outcome to care for their own horse in the future.
Instructors Michelle McKenzie and Justine Gentilini have both been involved in the horse industry for many years. The two owners met at the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort where they worked as wranglers, teaching guests to horseback ride the trails of the 10,500-acre property. Justine began working with horses at an early age, competing in the hunter/jumper circuit. After showing in college for three years on the English Equestrian Team, she switched over to the Western Team for her last year, competing in reining and horsemanship.
Michelle McKenzie began her riding career in the Santa Ynez Valley at 8 years old. She competed in barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying through the California High School Rodeo Association and many other junior associations. She has worked for Cindy McClellan since she was 12 years old, helping with children and adult lessons, horse camps and exercising training horses.
Both girls are so excited to have recently moved to a larger facility off of El Pomar Drive. Hanging Heart Ranch is currently operating out of the Arriba Arabians/KC Feed’s 40 + acre facility. On the property, there are two full-size arenas with lights, a round pen, an indoor riding arena, and several acres of trail riding opportunities. Lessons start at $40/hour and are sold in packages of four for the month at $150. For more information about the horseback riding program at Hanging Heart Ranch, please visit their website page at www.facebook.com/hangingheartranch or call (805) 350-1971/(631) 834-0805. “Hanging Heart Ranch” in Templeton California
District 7 Captures Top Team Award at CHSRA Challenge of Champions Rodeo
District 7 Captures Top Team Award at CHSRA Challenge of Champions Rodeo California High School Rodeo Association – District 7 – The Magnificent 7 Los Olivos, California – March 25, 2014 – California High School Rodeo Association (CHSRA) District 7 announced that its 2014 Challenge team took first place in overall team points at the […]
Return To Freedom – American Wild Horse Sanctuary
Tucked away, in a remote area of Lompoc, California lays the most amazing facility. As you drive down the road to, “Return To Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary” you are greeted by beautiful rolling hills and very peaceful surrounding. You are welcomed by herds of mustangs that appear to be curious but seem to have such peace.
Jamie Greenebaum and I were met by Connie Weinsoff, Director of Education and Programs. Jamie and I immediately felt welcomed by the staff.
Our tour began in the “Old Barn” which is being converted into the educational room for the wild mustangs. Connie explained how Return to Freedom was formed. Neda DeMayo, the founder, always had been interested in the plight of the wild mustangs, even as a child. When she realized 20 years later that things had not improved she decided to take action. What was not being addressed was that the horses have a complex social and family structure that was
being destroyed during the government round ups and subsequent auctions and adoptions. She set up Return To Freedom as a management model, in that entire family bands were taken in and kept together.
As the mustangs are rescued, they placed the entire herd into one pasture. There is usually one stallion; and a herd of mares. They have rescued mustangs from California, Oregon, Arizona, Wyoming and various other states. Return To Freedom has been a leader in using PZP, a natural reversible birth control agent designed for the female horses. This allows the stallions and mares to live together and follow their natural behaviors without adding to the already numerous population. Return to
Freedom’s purpose is to provide mustangs with as natural a setting as possible to live out their lives, not breed them.
America’s wild horses are fighting their last stand. Competition for our natural resources continues to threaten our wilderness areas and wildlife species. These horses are interwoven into the very fabric of what is America. What threatens them threatens us all. I support the pioneering and innovative efforts of Return to Freedom and I urge you to do the same. Robert Redford Actor / Entrepreneur / Activist Photo of Robert Redford: Kristina Loggia
Return To Freedom appears to be staying true to their word about their mission of preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of American’s wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world.
Jamie and I were introduced to their “Ambassador Horses”. Their Ambassador horses are animals that have special attributes: They are rare breeds or purest of bloodlines or they’re world famous. Together they serve as living examples of the nobility and majesty of America’s wild horse. It was so fun to meet the Stallion of the Cimarron; this particular stallion was used by DreamWorks to create “Spirit” in the 2002 movie “Spirit”.
On Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Return is Freedom is hosting an event – “Wild Horses and Wild Flowers”. This is the opening day for the public tours and classes that happen throughout the summer months. This event is designed for folks of all ages to enjoy and learn more about the mission of Return To Freedom and all funds raised will be used to purchase feed for the herds.
Some of the activities at the event will include -
- · Releasing the Mustangs back out into their freshly grown green pastures
- · Native American blessings to the wild mustangs
- · Live Music
- · Silent Auction
- · Kids Crafts
- · Hay Ride Tours of the Sanctuary
- · Dinner
- · Wine Tasting; and
- · Much more…
Tickets are $65 for adults and $15 for children ages 16 and under. Please call Return To Freedom at (805) 737-9246 or check their website at www.returntofreedom.org.
A note from the author, Polly Craig – I have been looking forward to visiting Return To Freedom for over 3 years. I have been in awe of “Chief” one of the stallions at Return To Freedom. I use his photo throughout our website, thanks to Kimerlee Curyl. Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary was so much more than I could have imagined. I would encourage everyone to schedule a tour or attend the Wild Horses and Wild Flowers event on May 3, 2014 3 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. I do not think you will be disappointed.