Those that Love Horses:

If this were the old west, I’d sit down and share a story about how I feel like horse thieves are looting us.  An ugly campaign is attacking the Coto Equestrian Preserve, and putting in doubt our dreams to have an amazing facility.

This campaign is the work of a very small group of people, four with obvious agendas, masquerading their cause as “horses not houses,” pretending to be defenders of something into which Ozzie and I have poured countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears.

As the operator of the Coto Equestrian Preserve, formerly Coto Equestrian Center, for more than a decade, I can tell you that this malicious campaign is hurting horses and horse lovers in Coto and working against and delaying improving our historical equestrian facility.  This group has created a smear campaign.

The people behind “horses not houses” are not part of the process working to preserve and improve what is precious and wonderful here; this group is actually hurting horses and horse lovers with misleading and untrue statements.  They are causing people in Coto and in our horse community to believe or be concerned our facility is going away when the opposite is true.  I know this because people tell me so.  Equestrians, that I have run into, from up and down Southern California, say that they heard our facility is shutting down.  And it breaks my heart to admit that our telephone isn’t ringing like it used to and we have record vacancies.  This smear campaign has been very damaging to Ozzie and me and to Coto Equestrian Preserve, and very hurtful to all I love.

When the Silver-Bronze Board asked us to be the tenant 13 years ago, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.   Nellie Gail Ranch was an amazing horse community, and we valued our time there, but Coto was a dream come true – a majestic blend of people, horses, space, and beauty.  But we have some challenges that will be very costly to fix.  We have had numerous issues with storm water and flooding from winter’s rains, which not only creates a mess and is a problem for horses, owners, and trainers, but is dangerous in an emergency.  Also, it takes a lot of money for the planned improvements that will bring a 40+-year-old facility back to one of the best in the west.  The horses and our horse lovers, trainers, boarders and Coto residents deserve the best.

By now you’ve likely heard of Oak Grove that is trying to downzone the abandoned Merryhill School site that is zoned Community Center Commercial to 13 Low-Density Residential lots.  We believe, as does the Board Directors of the Rancho Colinas Homeowners Association, who is adjacent to Coto Equestrian Preserve that low-density residential is the best use for the Merryhill site.  We also believe Senior Assisted Living, supported by the majority of the “horses not houses” group, is not a good use for the rural aesthetic in the North Ranch.    Yes, we lost a barn and 2 acres of land, but we preserved the 24.1 acres as an equestrian preserve forever, including 6 arenas, which includes the historic Covered Arena, and the approval of the downzoning of Oak Grove will result in Coto Equestrian Preserve receiving $1.6 Million of improvements, including the new state-of-the-art Plaza Barn, the Hunt & Saddle Lounge with additional bathrooms, as well as beautiful landscaping and entry.

Of course, protecting the horses is always a top priority.  The improvements also include security cameras and a secured entry, decomposed granite parking, important for horse and rider safety, and decomposed roads, both with polymer so it will look like dirt parking and roads but are also all-weather, important for emergency access and evacuation and extensive storm drain improvements to stop the flooding during heavy rains.

My love of horses began when I was a 10-year-old girl.  My mother would drive out on the back roads to Coto, and it felt like an adventure.  Once we got here, there were beautiful trails and open space to ride and enjoy a little slice of California of old.  This feeling still resides within me, to this day, with a new appreciation and strength of conviction that we must, because of the loss of stables and trails in many other areas, stop the smear campaign against our Coto Equestrian Preserve.

Today, I now watch kids petting or mounting a horse for the first time, and see that incredible look of joy and awe on their faces.  Silver-Bronze has made a huge gift of the Equestrian Use Preservation Easement to preserve this experience for future generations.  Now we must help get Oak Grove approved so the incredible planned enhancements can be paid for.

Trainers, boarders, Rancho Colinas Board of Directors and those that know the facts and the truth support the Oak Grove/Coto Equestrian Preserve vision and appreciate that the 24.1 acre Coto Equestrian Preserve will remain protected for future generations and are anxious to see Oak Grove downzoning approved as soon as possible so this nightmare and damaging smear campaign can end and the needed improvements can begin, but most are afraid to voice their support.  I know this because people tell me they feel intimidated by these “mean spirited and assertive horses not houses ring leaders.”

After over 2½ years of trying to get a public hearing for Oak Grove’s downzoning, which has been delayed due to the controversy and misinformation that has caused concern by many by the smear campaign of a few, it is urgent to get your help.  Low-density homes on large lots with the Heritage Oak trees also preserved are a perfect aesthetic neighbor for Coto Equestrian Preserve and the North Ranch communities like Rancho Colinas and Rancho Estates.

If you love horses, please support the Coto Equestrian Preserve by sharing your name and comments with us below.

Robin Borders
Cinnabar Equestrian Operations

Show Your Support

We are looking for friends of the Coto Equestrian Preserve to attach their name to the growing list of supporters of our project.  We appreciate all comments in our quest to preserve this great facility.