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50 October 16, 2014


Horsetowns: Ojai


Ojai Horsetown Highlights:


• Population: 7,558 • County: Ventura • Avg. High Temp: 73° F • Avg. Low Temp: 52° F


• Avg. Annual Rainfall: 21 inches


• Elevation: 746 feet


• Median Listing Price: $785,000


• Median Sold Price: $593,625


• Popular Horse Activities in Town: Trail riding, English and western shows


• Compelling Horsetown Features: Ojai Valley Trail; Los Padres National Forest trails; ETI Corral 57 Ojai Valley Sespe Riders


Simply Divine O


by audrey pavia for the horsetrader


Horses, natural beauty come together in Ojai The town of Ojai was the brainchild of Edward


JAI—When director Frank Capra chose Ojai as the location for Shangri-La in the 1937 film “Lost Horizons,” it was no accident. Capra and many


others before and since have recognized Ojai is one of the most divine places in California. As with many places of great beauty, Ojai is home to horses. The equine community in Ojai is alive and well, despite a dogged economic comeback, and boasts trainers of many disciplines and horses of many breeds.


Special Town The city of Ojai is nestled within the Ojai Valley, a


picturesque 10-mile dale located 25 miles southeast of Santa Barbara. With its rolling hills and majestic coastal oaks, the Ojai Valley has attracted residents who appreciate natural beauty. Groves of avocados, olives and citrus flank the chaparral-covered hillsides, and Spanish-style architecture decorates the town, proving that some of OjaI’s beauty is manmade. The surrounding Topa


Topa Mountain Range, which runs east to west, is credited with giving Ojai residents something they call “the pink moment.” This is when light from the setting sun hits the Topa Topa Bluffs, bathing them in a bright pink glow. Artists, musicians and actors call Ojai their home. The


Drummond Libbey, an Ohio businessman who discovered the Ojai Valley in the early 1920s on a trip to the West. Libby was smitten with the Valley and moved to the tiny ranching town of Ojai and worked to develop it to the place it is today.


Good Changes Horses are very visible in the Ojai Valley, where training stables, breeding farms and backyard horse owners make up a good portion of the residents. Cutting horse trainer Scott Weis grew up in Ojai and has called his 20-acre ranch home for much of his life. The facility that houses his operation was once a boarding stable owned by Weis’ parents. It was here that Weis developed his passion for horses as a child. “While I was in high school, I used to break colts for money during summer vacation,” he says. “That was my initiation into the horse business.” Weis has seen Ojai change during the times he has lived there, but only for the better. “A lot more new people


Cutting horse trainer Scott Weiss says: “Ojai is such a great place to live. It’s a special little niche in the world.”


town hosts a number of unique shops, arts and crafts produced by local artisans, fine restaurants and a farmer’s market. Not far from town, in the outlying areas of the Valley, several resorts offer luxury and privacy to visitors.


have come to town over the past 25 years,” he says. “As a result, we’ve seen world class improvement in restaurants, and the addition of lots more shops. The area has grown a quite


a bit but hasn’t lost its small town feeling.” Evidence of a healthy horse community can be seen in the popularity of local trails rides and shows, many of which are sponsored by the Ojai Valley Sespe Riders,


Continued on page 52


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