Celebrating horse and rider at Stoney Point Ranch in Chatsworth
Horse owners polished up their boots, buckles and chaps and saddled up on Sunday to welcome hundreds of people to the Day of the Horse, an annual event that celebrates the San Fernando Valley's equestrian heritage.
Visitors to Stoney Point Ranch were given the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world's finest, and even rarest breeds, to appreciate the animals' strength and elegance.
Dozens of people gathered around a giant, 15-year-old Clydesdale named California Canyon Gabriel.
His owner, Teresa Foote, calls him Gabriel for short. The horse stands about 18 hands tall and weighs almost 2,000 pounds.
"I love this horse," Foote said. "He's my love. He's smart and he's a thinker. He loves people more than other horses."
Across the way was a flaxen, Norwegian Fjord horse, a rare breed, but one that is making more of an appearance locally, Foote said.
Eventgoers watched riding demonstrations with quarter and miniature horses, took in some of the Old Western era exhibits, and purchased equestrian-themed arts and crafts from dozens of vendors. Children got to decorate stick horses.
"This is an event primarily for the kids and for the young at heart, so they can meet the equestrian community," said Mary Kaufman, chairwoman of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council Equestrian Committee, which held the event.
About 700 horses are boarded in the Chatsworth area, Kaufman estimated. It is one of the few remaining areas in Los Angeles that still has a sizable equestrian community population, although development has encroached onto old trails and land.
Still, Kaufman and others said Sunday's event pays tribute to the Valley's horse country. With its sun-reddened, rocky peaks, Chatsworth was the center of moviemaking for westerns for years. Roy Rogers owned a ranch owner the area and the Lone Ranger was filmed in Chatsworth, as were many other Western TV series.
For children now raised on playing games and learning from the Internet, Sunday's event gave them the chance to stroke a horse's muzzle and forehead.
"The horses are really friendly, and I liked seeing the donkey," said Joseph Nussbaum, 11, who came to Day of the Horse with his brother Aaron, 8, and grandmother Anne Hosier.
"These horses are magnificent," Hosier said. "Kids don't have many chances anymore to see animals. They're always on the computer. This event lets them touch the horses."
Bryan and Pam Dela Cruz brought their son Devin, 8, to the event. The family have lived in Chatsworth for many years, but have never attended Day of the Horse until Sunday.
"I've watched the horses ride by, and I want to ride one," Pam Dela Cruz said.
Devin, who held a stick horse he decorated himself, said he got to ride a pony, until the pony, well, had to relieve itself.
"It was fun until it stopped and had to pee," Devin said.
"I also like petting the horses but when they move their heads I step back, because I don't know if they're going to sneeze on me," Devin said. "You never know what's going to come out of a horse."
Source: Daily News LA