Pet Tales: Morro Bay rancher to host noted Solvang horse trainer

I love my dogs and cats, but when I was a little girl, I always wanted a horse. I started taking riding lessons when I was 7 years old.

I was a member of a mounted drill team through most of elementary school and junior high, and in high school — hurray! — I finally got my own horse.

This wasn’t a short-term interest. At Feather River College in Quincy, I studied pack station and stable operations. In addition to our regular classes, we also “started” colts, teaching them everything from wearing a halter and leading to saddling and, eventually, riding. Getting dumped on the ground by a colt was generally part of the curriculum.

We studied with several notable trainers —John Lyons, Pat Parelli and Central Coast trainer Monty Roberts, who teaches a method he calls “join-up” where a rider communicates with a horse by using the animal’s natural body language.

Next month, the Jones Ranch in Morro Bay will host a dinner and demonstration by Roberts, who owns Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang. The high-end part of Roberts’ visit is a $300-a-plate dinner on July 6, where Roberts will cook for 24 guests and, with his wife, Pat, will visit with each table.

On July 7, Roberts will demonstrate his join-up method, complete with a no-host barbecue during intermission. The demonstration is $40 to $60; tickets must be purchased in advance as space is limited. For more information, call 772-2840.

Cutting horse event

Even if you’re not a horse owner, here’s something you might enjoy seeing: The National Reined Cow Horse Association is holding the NRCHA Derby at the Paso Robles Event Center through Sunday. This is a cutting horse event, where a horse and rider maneuver a cow out of a herd and then keep it from returning to the herd with some very fancy equine hoofwork. If you’ve never seen horses work their magic like this, I highly recommend going. For more information, visit Adventure on horseback

Right on the heels of reading about a Templeton high school boy attending Thacher School who, with two friends, rode horseback from Ojai to Santa Margarita, I found an interesting Web site,, about David and Anita Has-bury-Snogles, two Brits on a mission to travel America by horseback.

The couple sold their home in England to finance the trip, traveled to America, bought a pair of horses, a truck and trailer, and are traveling the states riding a few horse trails in each state with local riders. They hope to raise money for various horse charities.

The couple will travel to California in November and are looking for a place to stay and trails to ride. Would one of our local trail-riding groups be interested in hosting the couple? If so, send me an e-mail or go directly to the David and Anita’s Web site.

Adopt-a-pet events

Summer, when kids are home and can participate in training, is a great time to adopt a pet. Here are two upcoming opportunities:

Paso Robles: The North County Humane Society will have adoptable cats available from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Petco, 2051 Theatre Drive. For

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