My daughter turned sixteen years old today; which is a milestone for most people. Besides looking at baby photos and childhood trinkets with her, I took time to reflect on the young woman my daughter had become and the choices she would face in the future. As I looked at her I could see the athlete she was, ...and determined woman she would soon be. I started thinking about some of the girls we knew in our town who were already pregnant, pierced in several places, hair every color under the sun, drop outs, drug addicts and on the fast track to no-where, seeking surface identities because they had no inner self esteem. The parents of these same girls have asked me why I "waste" the money on horses so my daughter can ride. I'm told she will grow out of it, lose interest, discover boys and all kinds of things that try to pin the current genera-tion' s "slacker" label on my child. I don't think it will happen, I think she will love and have horses all her life.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has compassion. She knows that we must take special care of the very young and the very old. We must make sure those without voices to speak of their pain are still cared for.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned responsibility for others than herself. She learned that regardless of the weather you must still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are no "days off" just because you don't feel like being a horse owner that day. She learned that for every hour of fun you have there are days of hard slogging work you must do first.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned not to be afraid of getting dirty and that appearances don't matter to most of the breathing things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on our bodies to try to impress others. What a horse cares about are your abilities to work within his natural world, he doesn't care if you're wearing $80.00 jeans while you do it. -
Because my daughter grew up with horses she understands the value of money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. She has learned to judge the level of her care against the care she sees provided by others and to make sure her stan-dards never lower, and only increase as her knowledge grows.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to learn on her own. She has had teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor communicate beyond body language and reactions. She has had to learn to "read" her surroundings for both safe and unsafe objects, to look for hazards where others might only see a pretty meadow. She has learned to judge people as she judges horses. She looks beyond appearances and trappings to see what is within.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned sportsmanship to a high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a winner. Trophies and ribbons may prove someone a winner, but they do not prove someone is a horseman. She has also learned that some people will do anything to win, regard-less of who it hurts. She knows that those who will cheat in the show ring will also cheat in every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has self-esteem and an engaging personality. She can talk to anyone she meets with confidence, because she has to express herself to her horse with more than words. She knows the satisfaction of controlling and teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield willingly to her gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and inept handling of those stronger than she is. She holds herself with poise and professionalism in the company of those far older than herself.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to plan ahead. She knows that choices made today can effect what happens five years down the road. She knows that you cannot care for and protect your investments without savings to fall back on. She knows the value of land and buildings. And that caring for your vehicle can mean the difference between easy travel or being stranded on the side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot day.
When I look at what she has learned and what it will help her become, I can honestly say that I haven't "wasted" a penny on providing her with horses. I only wish that all children had the same opportunities to learn these lessons from horses before setting out on the road to adulthood.
- an amazing father - author unknown
El Camino Ranch uses Fall Festival to re-introduce facility to Redlands community.
Ed Castro, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/13/2012 06:14:48 PM PDT
Led by Emily Elwan of Redlands, Anneliese Reese, 5, of Yucaipa gets to ride a horse at El Camino Horse Ranch in Redlands. (John Valenzuela/Staff Photographer)
If you go
Who: El Camino Ranch, 11363 Walnut St., Redlands.
What: Horse ranch, open to the public, features a riding academy and lessons.
REDLANDS – Emily Stevens was just 9 years old when she stepped onto the grounds of the El Camino Ranch.Even though she had very little experience with horses and had never been to this horse ranch, she knew she had found the place for her. Stevens, now 11, was among the El Camino Ranch Riding Academy students attending Saturday’s Fall Festival – an open house-type of event for the 29-year-old horse ranch.”It was right for me,” said Stevens of Colton. “Everyone was so nice and the horses were so sweet. I knew this was it for me.”The Fall Festival was open to the public for the first time in six years, the hope being that it would serve as a re-introduction to the surrounding community.”
(Vandi Reeves and her horse, Honybee, perform for the crowd during the Fall Festival at El Camino Horse Ranch on Saturday.
(John Valenzuela/Staff Photographer)
We hope it would be good for people who have never been to a ranch, or close to horses, that this would be good,” Vandi Reeves, who helps run the ranch with her father and grandmother. “We’ve been here a long time but we want this to introduce ourselves to the community again.”The day featured a tour of the ranch, riding lessons, riding demonstrations by academy students, a horse auction and various activities for children. The ranch includes stables and a recently added dog kennel. The ranch specializes in the boarding of Arabian horses. ”Our first horse was an Appaloosa,” Reeves said. “That’s funny. Now what we have is all Arabian.” The ranch can hold between 15 and 60 horses. The most prized possession is an Arabian with a $65,000 price tag. Most of the horses at the ranch are valued between $3,000 to $8,000. ”It’s been a long time since we’ve done this,” Reeves said. “But we needed this. It also is a way to say thank you to the people who work here, for a job well done.” Reeves has plans for the El Camino Ranch, including the start up of a Redlands based 4H Club. Reeves said the ranch will soon renovate a portion of the facility and turning it into a third arena. And the ranch is in the early stages of providing college prep classes for equine careers. The riding academy will remain a staple of the ranch. ”Being around horses can be therapeutic, people come here to deal with various issues,” Reeves said. “Some people just come here to relax. Family’s come here for picnics. It’s open to everyone.”
Redlands’ El Camino Ranch to host Fall Festival
Ed Castro, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/05/2012 04:23:06 PM PDT
REDLANDS – Vandi Reeves hopes the El Camino Ranch is introduced to a new set of fans at next week’s Fall Festival.It’s the first time the Fall Festival has been open to the public since 2007. ”We would really like to make a connection to the community,” said Reeves, one of the owners of El Camino Ranch. “We have always had strong roots in the community. But it’s been a long time since we have tried to reach out and connect with them like this.” The Fall Festival, scheduled for Oct. 13, will feature riding demonstrations, pony rides, stallion, mare and foal presentations and a horse auction. And there will be plenty of activities for kids, such as pony rides, Indian Pony Horse Painting, face painting, coloring contests, and a scavenger hunt. ”It will be more of a teaching experience,” Reeves said. “There will be riding demonstrations and we will show off some of the different disciplines of the horses.” Reeves added, “We would like people to come here and then come back for lessons, to buy a horse or board their horses here.” The El Camino Ranch, a horse ranch, was started in 1983. ”I would want them to really have a bigger appreciation for agriculture in Redlands,” Reeves said. “We have a dog kennel and other animals. We have orange groves.” The festival will offer tours through the stables and barns on the ranch, which houses 60 horses. There will be an awards ceremony for El Camino Ranch students who have participated in its riding academy.”The award is about all the hard work they put in for the year,” Reeves said. “There is a certificate of achievement for them. This shows what they learned during the year.”Reeves said El Camino Ranch is trying to develop a Redlands 4H Chapter and is also interested in offering a class in equine education.”There is so much going on here,” Reeves said.
See the origonal artical and read more at...
The success of our ranch may be directly attributed to the success of our breeding program. A program that has produced over 350 Arabian, Half-Arabian, and National Show Horse foals since its beginnings close to 30 years ago. Our breeding program sets the foundation for the future of every EC foal. The life of every EC horse begins well before they are ever born. Beginning by pairing each mare up with the most eligible stallion. Although a few select mares are designated for Dream Quest every year, not all of our broodmares are exclusively his. Excellent bloodlines, sturdy conformation, and an impressive show record go along way when catching the eye of one of our mares here at El Camino Ranch.
After a coupling has been made, each mare is assigned an individual diet and exorcise regimen customized around her age and history. Without a foal on her side to care for, our broodmares will live fairly normal horse lives. They enjoy daily grooming and daily turn-outs as weather permits. Some of our mares crave more interaction than a turn-out. For these ladies they may be allowed to give an occasional lesson or attend a local horse show.When it is not breeding season, most of our mares are cared for by our boot campers. We find that the play sessions and attention they receive during this time not only keeps their coat looking great, but most importantly allow them to be fulfilled. Happy moms make happy babies. In the past, our pregnant mares would join our yearlings and two-year olds at our second facility “El Campo” which is 10 acres of hillside pastures located in Calimesa, Ca. Today all of our horses have been centralized at El Camino Ranch in Redlands, Ca. as we have downsized our breeding program over 50% since the year 2000. We find that even though they no longer grow up in a pasture on the hillside, one of the benefits to being here at El Camino is the opportunity for daily training.
When her due date nears each mare is relocated to a camera stall for closer monitoring for two to four weeks before she is due to foal. Our camera stalls are 12ft x 14ft inside with an outdoor paddock attached to allow more room for mom and foal. Each camera stall is equipped with a surveillance camera that sends a live feed to multiple locations on our ranch. Every expecting mare is fitted with an early labor warning device around her halter. When activated, this device will set off a pager that is carried by at least three of our staff at all times. As she starts to show early signs of labor such as wax or lactation, the stall is heavily bedded with straw to provide a soft bed. Once the labor begins, we monitor the mare ready to step in if the need arises. After a successful birth our new EC foal is introduced to the world for the first time.
The first interaction the foals have with humans usually occurs before the mare and foal have even gathered enough strength to stand up. EC staff, usually Scott, immediately checks to see that the placenta wrapped around the foal is torn. This usually happens naturally during birth but, when the placenta does not tear the newborn foal can sometimes suffocate. So before anything else we check to see that the foal is breathing. We encourage the mare to stay settled for as long as possible so that the umbilical chord does not break, and the foal can continue to receive important blood from its mother. At this point we will start to gently towel dry the foal (almost always with a little help from mom). During this step we manually clear away any fluid that might be lingering in the foals muzzle or ears. We take great care to rub and touch the foal every where. This is the first contact this foal will have with humans and we take full advantage of the situation to introduce the baby to the sound of our voice and the feel of our touch. We tap its hooves to simulate a farrier. We rub its ears, flank and belly, common sensitive areas on a horse. We are also looking over the foal at this time to check its gender and general condition and health.
At this point the mare is starting to get restless and usually stands up. After some nickering and nuzzling, She usually leaves the foal in our care while she enjoys her hard earned bran mash and alfalfa hay prepared for her by another EC staff member who has also turned on the heat lamp and started recording observations. This is usually enough to ease the mares birthing pains but if she is still showing extreme signs of distress after eating, we may administer a shot of banamine to ease her pain. Once the umbilical chord has naturally disconnected we disinfect the foals belly button with novasan to prevent infection. We will also perform a test on the mothers colostrum (first milk) to make sure that she has an adequate amount of immunities present in her milk to sustain a healthy foal. After the novosan is applied, and we are sure the foal is healthy, we will step out of the stall and allow mother and foal to bond.
A lot of tries, a fall or two, and some nickers of encouragement later and the newborn horse is up and mobile (usually within one hour of birth). The foals instinctively go for their first taste of milk, this task also requires a lot of tries, a fall or two, and some nickers of encouragement. Most mares are quite capable of nursing their newborns. Especially as it will help relieve her labor pains once the foal nurses. In some cases however, such as with maiden mares, we will occasionally step in and set mare and baby off in the right direction. Once the foal has had a good helping of his mothers immunity rich colostrum, we orally administer serimune (immunity and vitamin booster), for additional disease resistance. This is a sticky and slow process that usually takes two people and a warm wet washcloth. At this point we give the foal an enema to get things moving and we step out to watch and see if the foal is passing its meconium (first stool) properly. As soon as we are convinced that the foal and mare are happy and healthy, we will retire for the evening leaving the two to rest. Additional testing, including an IGG and blood test, will be performed in the following days on the foal, mare, and after birth to ensure the healthiest start possible for our new EC foal.
First Six Months
24-48 Hours Old
The paddock door opens and the foal is introduced to the outside world for the first time…This is a great opportunity for the foal to stretch its legs and become acquainted with the other foals as well as the concept of fences.
48-72 Hours Old
The foal wears its first a halter and lead rope, and is introduced to pasture…This is the first time their training really begins. Leading respectfully and properly is the first and most used skill these horses will learn from us at this age. The rope is wrapped behind its rump to encourage it forward. We always let the foal follow its mother, we NEVER pull our foals to and from the pasture. Our brood mares do better job leading by example, when teaching the foals to lead.
One Week Old
The foal is introduced to he herd. The foals new relationships formed within the herd over the next few weeks will establish its rank, as this foal will now enjoy daily turnouts with these fellow young horses for the next two to three years.
Six Months Old
The foal is weaned from its mother. This can be a stressful process for both the mare and foal. We try to ease the stress by using the buddy system. Two compatible foals of similar ages and are placed together in one of our large paddocks. Each of their mothers are then moved to the adjacent paddock so that they are able to maintain visual and physical contact with their foal. As the tension eases, the mares are slowly moved further away. Eventually the two foals are separated but will remain neighbors for quite some time. We find that this method significantly decreases the stress and injury that can be caused during the weaning process.
The Early Years
The next two to three years each EC foals life will be filled with further imprinting and training. They are introduced to, and become well educated in skills such as standing in the cross-ties, bathing, clipping, hot-walking, and lunging. By the time the foals enter the performance barn they are already well mannered and ready to start focusing on their riding career. Some of them have even been through halter training with Juan Irigoyen and already have a few horse shows under their belt. These are just some of the steps that El Camino takes to ensure a promising future for every EC foal that our breeding program produces.
by: Vandi Reeves
Are you interested in our breeding program?
Call or EMAIL Scott Reeves at 909.557.3291
Originally printed in the June 2005
Arabian Horse World, page 105
Meeting the needs of those seeking the Arabian experience.
Meeting the needs of those seeking the Arabian experience“We began our El Camino Ranch in Redlands, California, 20 some years ago with 1 Arabian mare we purchased at a Greengate Farms auction in San Luis Obispo”, says LaVesta Locklin. “That mare was in foal, and being a nurse, I felt I had to learn all there was to know about foaling out a mare. I went to Davis, and took a 5 day class, and learned how to breed them, too.
Then before foaling season, my husband Bill went back to Greengate and bought 3 more mares in foal. I guess he wanted me to be real busy! In no time at all we had a ranch with 8 Arabians. How fast we grew!
“We’ve always had a lot of customers here, many coming just to visit with the new foals, but along the way a number of them pick up the feeling that comes with being around Arabians, that irresistible urge of –“I want one, too!” I learned quickly that if I was to stay in business I had to offer services people wanted for their horse activities. We began offering not just horses for sale, but instruction on how to ride, how to stand a horse up at halter, the opportunity to go to shows and show a horse–often one a client didn’t own. People want a place to keep their horses and interact with others who share the same interest.
So we accepted boarders. Some of them wanted their horses trained. So we hired a Trainer. We found an instructor to teach these folks to ride. And so it went, until very soon El Camino Ranch became a full-service facility.” It just means that we can provide the opportunities for our customers to learn about Arabians, to love them like we do, and to spend every waking moment with them!
“We breed, foal out mares, train and show yearlings in halter, send some to the pasture to grow up, and start long-lining late two year olds. We’re on their backs by the time they’re three years old. We then finish them for the show ring, or to be pleasure horses. I used to feel we had failed when every horse didn’t turn out to be a show horse, but now I realize that we have a bigger market for pleasure horses than we do for show horses. And the pleasure riders want a pretty horse, too. Sometimes it is their only criterion. They always spend more time deciding which horse to buy, being sure it is sound, than those people who buy show horses. These clients aren’t as experienced as show people, and they rely on us to sell them a good horse, and on a vet to verify it is sound.”
El Camino Ranch has grown its own market through its “ Riding Academy”, which has evolved into a complete program with 20 lesson horses, one Riding Academy Director, and 3 Riding Instructors. With more than 100 students every week in private lessons, a teen drill team group, a ladies’ “estrogen riders group”, a few handicapped riding students, and camps for eight weeks in the summer and one week in winter, it makes for a very busy schedule here at El Camino. Added to these programs are birthday parties, tours, and special education classes coming to “see” and “hear” the horses.
“When the economy slowed, I found that a lease works almost as well as a sale. In fact, my leases have sold more horses than any trainer I’ve ever had.”
“We have reduced our own horses, but it has not reduced the numbers of horses here at the ranch, because whenever I sell one (if it actually leaves, and many don’t), the stall or pen is suddenly full again. I may never have fewer horses here. There will always be more people who want a horse to experience ‘country life’ and have ‘horse experiences.’ These people want their children to know what it’s like to go to a farm.
“A full-service facility is an Arabian experience, not a horse stable,” says LaVesta. “Each visitor will envision themselves with an Arabian doing what appeals to them. That is the first step in selling an Arabian. Another way I diversified for a few years was when we bred and raised National show horses and Saddlebreds. However, those horses did not fit in so easily with the flavor of a family ranch. We are now exclusively breeding Arabians and Half Arabians. I retained a few of my English type mares to breed to outside stallions for foals with English action, which we market in the industry. But at the end of the day, the good feelings come from guiding another family to the Arabian horse.”
By LaVesta Locklin-2005
Originally printed in the June 2005 Arabian Horse World, page 105
The following essay was written by Vandi as an English assignment her senior year...
Feb. 22, 2005
When training a horse it is important to be firm but kind. Whether you are on the back of one of these powerful creatures, or on the ground beside one, it is important that you are clear in your expectations for the horse as well as repetitive in your consequences. Horses are fun elegant creatures. But an untrained horse can be a dangerous thing.
When choosing the proper equipment for your horse in is important to remember that you don’t train your horse with equipment, you train them by developing a communication system that uses a full corridor of aids. When riding you should let you hands and legs do the talking. When choosing a bit, remember that that a bit is only as severe as the hands directing it. You should release all pressure. A rider with good hands could ride a horse using a razorblade as a bit, and never hurt the horse mouth. Remember that too much restraint from bit pressure takes the desire out of young horses to go forward.
Horses, like most animals, respond better to a kind hand, while it is imperative to punish a horse for its mistakes, it is also a necessity to reward the horse appropriately. In order for the horse to understand the horse must be calm. Consistency is the key. Immediately reward every obedience from the horse and punish every disobedience. True authority over the animal is a calm force. Judiciously employed without injuring. For example: if you want the horse to stop, first use your voice and say “Whoa” if the horse does not stop, then apply pressure to the bit in a steady or wiggly motion until the horse stops. Back the horse as a punishment for not stopping. Then make it stand there. If he stands quietly for a moment give him a signal to go on again. After a few steps ask him to stop again. If he stops well reward him by giving him some rein or a pat on the neck. If he does not stop then repeat these steps until he does. Repetition, patience, pressure-reward, in this order is the best way to train your horse.
Most new trainers over train instead of under training their horses, trying to go forward too fast, in order to arrive quickly go slowly with careful steps. The first requisite of a Trainer is a complete realization that he or she is not infallible. A teacher must first get the confidence of his pupil. The rider must reduce his or her actions to the very minimum and leave the horse the greatest possible freedom for his actions. Life and Brilliancy in the horse comes from impulsion. The rider’s legs create impulsion and hands prescribe the manner in which it is to be expended. A whip may be used to reinforce the legs. Always quit on a good note with the horse. Basically, let the horse think it is your master, then it is your slave.
12 Steps to Happy Horse Ownership
LaVesta Locklin, Owner and Founder of El Camino Ranch