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in the community and keep horses involved here— two miles from the beach—that little kid has to pet that horse and have a good time,” Golden says. “If we want to keep this, we’ve got to keep people coming down the driveway.” One way the public can get up close and personal

with horses is through Horseplay Rentals, which of- fers guided trail rides through the surrounding hills. Another way is a new program offered through Horseplay, equine assisted psychotherapy. “People come here instead of sitting in an office and talking to your therapist. They come in and work with horses and a therapist,” she says before describing how the program involves observing the behavior of horses interacting together. Besides this new venture, Huntington Beach is look-

ing forward to the second annual Surf City Cowboy Chal- lenge, which will be held August 14-15 at the equestrian cen- ter to support the Red Bucket Equine Rescue. Part of the Extreme Cowboy Association series of events founded by Craig Cameron, the challenge is an excellent way to intro- duce the public to eques- trian sports. “Most of the general

ics and are now showing all over California; there are other summer campers that just come down here dur- ing the summer, and they’ve done it year after year after year. That’s another example of families being involved,” Golden says, adding, “We support the par- ents and this community wholeheartedly.” It’s a simple concept, but one often forgotten in a world where people are ex- ceedingly con- cerned with eco- nomic issues. At HCPEC, people can slip into an easier rhythm of life, one centered around hard work, dedication to sport, and love of horses. Gold- en values this

public think of horses and they think of cowboys; they don’t think of hunter/ jumpers,” reasons Golden. “Watching the horses gal- lop all over the hills and do cowboy things in this event is exciting and is going to be especially fun. We’ll have an announcer on the PA and be able to tell the crowd every- thing—who does things well, who does things not well, as it’s happening.” The Cowboy Challenge, Golden says, is “basically

equestrian center here. Mary [Behrens] and the staff are very community oriented and love to have non- horse people involved in the center. They are mostly concerned with the welfare of all the animals, and so when anybody wants to do anything, they think of the safety and welfare of everybody first, but make a huge variety of opportunities for everyone who loves a horse.” “There are kids that started riding at summer clin-

idea, saying, “This is part of my home, not just my place of busi- ness.” To Behrens, the

the afternoon. You can do it all in this beach town.” With exciting events on the horizon, a devoted vol-

ranch horse trials without the cows. It all happens out on the trail over natural terrain,” and is “a really com- munity oriented event. The city is super, super supportive of keeping the

the morning and then ride your horse in

equestrian center she has worked so tirelessly to build and grow is “like an oasis—a little bit of country in the midst of a city. You can go surfing in

unteer base and a diverse group of trainers, it seems that HCPEC can only go up, although Behrens boasts no grand future visions or plans. For this Orange County horsewoman, it’s business as usual. “We’re just a little horse community, a diversified equestrian center and people have fun being here.”


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