RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Association voted unanimously to extend the ground lease to the Rancho Santa Fe Riding Club for 10 years to Sept. 1, 2022, with an option to extend an additional 10 years to September 2032.
“We have been trying to do improvements and put some long-range planning in place to improve the property. We will need a loan or some other financing to do that,” said Sharon Engel who represented the riding club at the Association’s Nov. 18 meeting.
The current lease expires in September 2012, but the riding club wishes the extension so they can demonstrate stability to garner financing to proceed on their remodel and upgrading plans.
“We need to show the county (and potential lenders) that we will use the property for the next 10 years,” she said.
Association Manager Peter Smith told the Association that the riding club has leased the grounds from the Association for many years.
“Over the last 55 years, we have had a series of leases with them,” Smith said.
He said the relationship over the years has been stellar.
“Anything we asked them to do, they have done,” he said.
The riding club agreed to pay all costs associated with the lease extension including $1,200 for member notification and if it came to a community meeting and vote, $3,000 for that.
The riding club was established in 1946 when a group of friends and neighbors came together to build it.
In her 1985 book “Echoes of Rancho Santa Fe,” Connie Clotfelter wrote John Robertson, a well-known Hollywood director and resident of Rancho Santa Fe, spearheaded the campaign to provide a riding club for families and youth of the area.
Clotfelter’s book said that the first meetings of the club were held at the golf club where they had barbecues, moonlight rides, costume parties and breakfasts to raise money.
The fundraisers attracted so many people that organizers began to look into finding a permanent home for the club. In 1946, the riding club acquired 10 acres on Rambla Del Las Flores from the Santa Fe Irrigation District. Club members cleared and prepared the land, Clotfelter’s book said.
“They did it themselves,” Clotfelter said. “They cut down eucalyptus trees and dragged them over to make fences and jumps.”
Now 65 years later, the Rancho Santa Fe Riding Club is still going strong with 140 members and its stables filled with 110 horses, which are boarded there.
“We are family-oriented and kid-friendly,” said Bill Milligan, who has managed the club for the past 17 years.
It offers training in all disciplines to riders of all ages.