This month Elena, Stacey and I are featuring Huntington Beach’s very own equestrian center. It is located on Goldenwest Street between Ellis and Slater and is one of Huntington Beach’s hidden gems! It is situated on 25 acres of beautiful, sea-breezed land, just 2-miles from the beach. Home to nearly 400 horses, with multiple trainers and arenas, as well as more than 150 acres of public trails, this equestrian center offers so many exciting and fun horse related activities, its enough to keep you busy all day! This playground offers daily trail rides, lessons of all kinds, such as, Western, Hunter Jumper, Dressage and one of my favorite the Therapeutic Riding Center. HBEC is also home to our very own HB Police Mounted Enforcement Units horses.
We spoke with some of the professionals here to share some information with our readers. Horse Play Rentals specializes in fun, relaxing trail rides through the hills of Huntington Beach. Their horse clinics include after-school programs, summer clinics, and badge programs for both girl and boy scouts. They also offer “party packages” for birthday parties. There are several packages to choose from and can be found online.
Huntington Beach’s Equestrian Center also features Red Horse Barn… for Weddings and Events. This is a romantic, intimate area located next to an exclusive 10-horse stable. It is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and situated atop the hill of the equestrian center. The Red Horse Barn is a rustic, yet elegant setting for anyone’s special event. There is a spacious outdoor lawn area that accommodates up to 250 guests for both a ceremony and a reception. There is also a private Brides Suite and Grooms Room available. These events can be scheduled by appointment only… give them a call for rates and availability.
For Western Training, we have our very own Rick Baer. Rick has been training horses for more than 30 years. He started riding at a young age and began his horse training career working for the late Glen Gimple. Rick worked with Glen for eight years and then opened up his own training business. Rick has a strong work ethic and a no-nonsense approach to training. His honesty and integrity are evident in every facet of his business. He has done everything from breaking horses to winning championships! He is a valuable part of HB’s Equestrian Center.
I could not write this article without talking about the Therapeutic Riding Center. Their Mission Statement is as follows…. We strive to empower people with physical and developmental challenges to discover their greatest strengths and fain a sense of self-confidence and self-reliance through the special relationship with a horse. The Therapeutic Riding Center (TRC) was founded in 1990 by a group of community volunteers who wanted to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the form of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies. It is a non-profit organization that serves children and adults of all ages, with a variety of disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, muscular dystrophy as well as vision and hearing disabilities. The value of a horse as a therapeutic tool has been well documented over the past fifty years. In a world where we are often judged by appearances, where out abilities are over-shadowed by our disabilities, the horse does not judge. It has been traced back to the ancient Greeks, in 17th century Europe. Physicians utilized the horse to treat various neurological disorders. Horses have changed the therapy world and are an excellent resource to reach out to people of all kinds.
Last and certainly not least, I am excited to talk about Huntington Beach’s new Mounted Enforcement Unit. While enjoying the trails, Elena, Stacey and I ran into Officer Gabe Ricci and his horse Kelly Blue (named after Kelly Morehouse, an HB resident that was killed last year) and Officer Stoecklein riding his horse Grace. They are 2 out of three officers chosen for this special unit, which now patrols the downtown area, beaches, parks and large gathering areas. These horses and officers have been going through vigorous training for several months at the HB Central Park Equestrian Center. After looking at some of the challenges we’ve had with the last US Open and at night with some of the crowds, horses became an option to help break up crowds along Main Street and on the beach during these heavy traffic times. When people see a horse coming, they tend to move out of the way! The horses were donated to the department and are the some of the most gentle and well spirited animals I’ve ever been around!!
This truly was an enjoyable column to write… please visit The HB Equestrian Center sometime when you have a couple hours to kill. And, don’t forget to say “hi” to our horseback riding police officers when you see them downtown!