West Coastlife: Mountains and Horses

A definite must on this trip was a trail ride in the mountains where we might could see the ocean, too.  (Might could…I’d never heard anyone say that until a couple of years ago, and since then, I’ve heard it more than once.  Couldn’t resist.)

Googled ‘horseback riding’ for the area and found the perfect spot for us.  Park Place Stable in Malibu.  A short drive from home, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains at Malibu, the website pictured exactly what I was looking for and it didn’t disappoint.  The owner, Joy, was friendly and chatted it up with me as we got settled with the signing of forms, trying on of helmets, and getting the horses ready for us.

I watched a horse being groomed; mane  had been given a snappy trim, and was getting his hooves cleaned, so I commented about him getting a pedicure.  That’s when Joy told us that this horse, Cornelius, would be filmed for a Millionaire Matchmaker (a horseback riding date for the couple) episode the following day, along with Fjona, another of their horses.  So we had a fun time talking about that for a bit. I probably knew more about this (vapid) show than she did, which made me like her even more.

Our guide, Chantal, a lovely and natural horsewoman, handled the four of us with practiced ease.  Soon we were saddled and off we went, me bringing up the rear (a kind of important position,  *ahem*) of the group. She wore black and white riding clothes, casually melding the English and Western styles, long-legged and lithe. She spoke with a charming French-sounding accent, and led us to the most lovely spots for viewing and picture-taking.

My daughter who loves horses was the impetus for the ride, and I’m glad of it.  It was a beautiful way to connect with the outdoors, being on horseback in the hills, and yes, we did see the Pacific from one vantage point.  Ah, gorgeous. The mountains were verdant and blooming, the air was breezy, and the sun was shining.  At about 68 degrees there, it was perfect.

And our horses!  Wonderful temperaments, each of them; we all petted and cuddled them afterwards. My daughter rode Cornelius and my sister, Fiona – the two horses tapped for ‘Millionaire’ program, while my nephew took Buddy and I rode Lauren.  I loved Lauren by the end of that ride, and we all posed with the horses once they’d had their water and were resting. I guess horses can sleep standing up. Fiona couldn’t keep her eyes open, darling girl.

It was great, being outside, with the horses, and exploring new places. Next time, we’ll go for the three hour ride. Goodbye, Lauren. I’ll watch for the others on TV and remember, you were ours, if only for an hour.


  1. The reason for that is because lead ropes don’t lead horses or control horses. You’re in trouble right from the start if you expect a little bitty rope or even a rope with some kind of chain at the business end, to control a horse. You have to lead a communication system that clearly tells the horse you are the lead mare he can trust and that clearly tells him the speed, the direction, and the shape you want the horse to move.

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