Arroyo Grande, CA

"Fun beach and horse town"

4-H Club kids care for the noble steeds parked at their horse valet. (Credit: Denise Bowman)

Quaint at heart, Arroyo Grande borders beaches and sand dunes shared by surfers, automobiles, and equestrians. On the other side is the Los Padres Forest, brimming with hiking and equestrian trails. It’s a great place for active, adventurous people and their animals!

Stories About Arroyo Grande

People get together there for events, parades, horseback rides, and to help each other out. I visit with my horse a few times a year, and each April, my aunt and uncle are hosts for an annual event that we call “Rocky Week.” This is an open invitation to all members of our West Coast Rocky Mountain Horse Club. The events that we hold there have been talked about over the years so that our club has grown to over 200 members in several states. Many of those members come to Rocky Week at my aunt and uncle’s place. The ride to the winery has between 60 and 90 horseback riders, and the local winery (not open to the public) has actually allowed the club to install some hitch posts and cable tie-lines since we go there each year for this event. There is a horse valet that was the idea of one of the club members who heads up the local 4-H, and several years ago we began using the 4-H kids to “park” our horses as we ride in. While the adult riders are eating lunch and doing wine tasting and a raffle event, the kids stay with the horses and “patrol” to make sure horses are behaving, not kicking or biting or getting loose (or trying to roll while tied up as we just had happen a few weeks ago). At the end of the two hour event, when we go to have the kids bring us our horses, many of us tip them a few bucks for their effort. It teaches the kids responsibility and helps out the adults…it’s a win/win.

The West Coast Rocky Mountain Horse Club gathers for a day trip. (Credit: Denise Bowman)

A large contingent of the horse club members live in Arroyo Grande, and they look out for one another and do a monthly newsletter to all 200 members via e-mail blast to let us know what’s happening, congratulate people for achievements, alert us to upcoming events, and let us know when other members are having struggles (loss of loved ones, hospitalization, etc).

A few years ago, while at the event in Arroyo Grande, one of our members who was on dialysis and trying to find a kidney donor (none of her family were good matches), met a new member who had just bought a Rocky Mountain Horse and was at the event for the first time. The one who needed the kidney transplant had been getting progressively worse, and even rode her horse while wearing a portable dialysis bag. The new member left the event thinking she wanted to help the other member if she could, so she got tested and found out she was a match. Within the year, after extensive testing and doctor’s visits, both members were in the hospital doing a kidney transplant. The transplant was successful, and the two families have been forever bonded. That’s the kind of good thing that comes out of the horse community in Arroyo Grande.