Popular Sacramento County entertainment venues include great restaurants, sports events, award winning golf courses and fun river days, but you should also know about the County’s growing hub for equestrian centers. From barrel racing and cutting, to dressage and English style jumping, there are a myriad of equestrian options to accommodate the expanding sport of horseback riding.
The equestrian industry in America is larger than the textile industry and brings millions of dollars to the Sacramento area. With horses, riders, trainers, farriers and outfitters, the equine community is emerging in prominence as Olympic riders and amateurs alike enjoy the sport. The Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center features more than 350 permanent stalls and often constructs temporary facilities to accommodate major competitions; at one time hosting 1,000 horses. The Center is currently constructing a hotel in Rancho Murieta for visitors to stay during shows and competitions.
“We estimate that we have over 180,000 people coming through the Center each year – people stay here multiple days, so it’s really good for local commerce and business,” said Maryann Subbotin, Director of the West Coast Equine Foundation, part of the Murieta Equestrian Center. “We have riders who come to practice for 4-H competitions and Olympians competing in International Horse Show, so it is always a fun and open environment.”
The Sacramento area is one of the larger areas for equestrian competition on the West Coast. Contrary to the perception that it is a sport only for the elite, Sacramento area facilities focus on sharing horseback riding with people who may not know much about it. “We’re open to the public so they can come and visit anytime,” said Tim Postel, General Manager of the Murieta Equestrian center. “It’s a great place to bring your family and just hang out at the show and enjoy the healthy, wholesome environment that the horses provide.”
There is generally no fee for admission to the horse shows at the Murieta Equestrian Center, and with more than 54 events/competitions in 2014 alone, there are several opportunities to see the sport up close.
Leone Equestrian Inc., also located in the eastern part of the County, hosts many dressage, jumping and hunter competition. They allow riders to lease out horses for competition seasons, in addition to providing the training and classes to those wishing to improve their riding skills.
“I think people should know that they’re welcome into the horse community,” said Maria Dickerson, Manager of Leone Equestrian. “You might come to a barn and see all the big horses and experienced people running around and that could be intimidating, but I encourage people to come. If you were ever fascinated with horses, then come take a look and pet them, you don’t have to ride, you can just come in and see for yourself.”
From 3-year-old competitors to people in their eighties, there are all types of riders who enjoy the sport and the many equestrian opportunities offered in Sacramento County.
Watch this short video to learn more about the equestrian community in Sacramento County.
Writer: Kaitlin Bane, Communication and Media Intern