Pulling into Don E Brook Farms in Santa Clarita, California is like walking onto the set of Cheers. Only the farm isn’t located in Boston and it’s not a fictional TV show, but everybody does know your name – and the name of your horse. I was immediately made to feel at home by the owner, Liz Farinella-Ekeberg and her daughter Kelly Farinella White.
It didn’t hurt that one of the horses turned out in the arena immediately came over to introduce himself, quickly followed by his female owner. Ocean is the beautiful horse on the video below. If you watch closely, you’ll see that he playfully grabs the lead line from Kelly and holds it in his mouth during our entire interview. This doesn’t faze Kelly in the least and pretty much sets the tone of Don-E-Brook Farms; friendly and easy going.
The farm has been around since 1960 and has seen a lot of change in the neighborhood. Thankfully, there are still places to ride horses out on the trial in Santa Clarita. Located minutes from the center of this Southern California city, Don E Brook Farms is a nod back to simpler times. Cowboy boots dangle precariously from an old tree in front of the stables and a tower of hay bales rest undercover by the tack room. A rooster crows as he struts his stuff along a metal pipe corral and horses munch hay contentedly from their stalls.
Today, I’m having a one hour private lesson under the encouraging eyes of instructor Kelly Farinella White. She has paired me with Tank, a 10 year old quarter horse that is as steady and reliable as a tank. Hey, if the horse shoe fits, wear it!
Tank is a doll and very patient with me as I get a refresher course in proper English riding equitation, picking up the correct lead at a canter and posting on the diagonal. Kelly is easy with the praise and positive on this baby boomer cowgirl. I typically ride Western, but on my bucket list is safari on horseback and they often ride English in Africa.
Nancy D. Brown with Tank at Don E Brook Farms
English riding apparel
I felt like a bit of an imposter today, as Ariat had graciously decked me out in gorgeous Monaco riding boots and riding breeches for a prior travel apparel review. Fortunately, the tall boots and Performer full seat breeches did perform like champions in the riding ring. My boots were as comfortable in the stirrup irons as they were walking the streets of San Francisco, and the breeches made me look and feel like a member of the United States Equestrian Federation – hey, a girl’s got to have dreams, right?
Riding lessons in Santa Clarita
Riding lessons and trail rides
Don E Brook Farms offers horse boarding, training, riding lessons and trail rides. With 200 horses on property, 100 are owned by the farm. That gives riders, from beginner to advanced, plenty of horse options. Trail rides range from a minimum of two people to a max of 30 riders and are one hour in duration.
Rides might cross the Santa Clarita River bed or venture into the Angelas Crest Forest. Additionally, there is a jumping team on site with 50 – 60 girls riding at Don E Brook Farms. If I owned a horse in this location, I’d feel very welcome at this stable.