The Coast News Group

Osuna Ranch celebrates with tours, all-female riding team

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Osuna Ranch was the setting for a down-home country celebration during Rancho Days. It gave people an opportunity to take tours of the ranch, learn a little about its history and about historic Rancho Santa Fe, nibble on same native food and witness a performance by an all-female riding team.
“It’s so historic,” said Rita Bleecker of Rancho Santa Fe. “I have lived here a long time and I’ve never been out here.”
Her companion Ronnie Lavinsky agreed.
“We like the wonderful food and the beautiful atmosphere of this place,” Lavinsky said. “I came to see the charros.”
The afternoon of Oct. 2 was warm and sunny. Visitors took to the shade of trees and a covered patio while they nibbled on tortilla chips dipped in salsa, guacamole and a fancy bean dip topped with pico de gallo. For dessert the main attraction were churros.
“I’ve wanted to get out here for the past few years and I couldn’t get away,” said Mary McGrath of Rancho Santa Fe. “I have lived here 35 years and wondered about Osuna Ranch. I’m learning about our heritage.”
In 1833, Juan Osuna was given a land grant and built several buildings on the site where he raised cattle and horses. In 2004, it was named a California Cultural Landmark. In an effort to preserve this piece of history, the Association bought the ranch vowing that it will remain open space. The Association is constantly making improvements to the property and restoring it to its original condition. One can already hear the echoes of what life might have been like when it was a large working cattle ranch before the turn of the 20th Century.
At the celebration, several groups of visitors took tours around the ranch while the horses in the stables looked on.
The highlight of the event was the all-female team of riders Escaramuza Charra Las Golondrinas, who appeared dressed in period full-skirted costumes from the late 1800s and performed a series of synchronized moves, all while riding side saddle. Sometimes they compete in rodeos with this riding style, which has been passed down through generations. Before the 2 p.m. show, the ladies warmed up in the riding arena at the ranch while Jim and Mary Ann Herbenar of Rancho Santa Fe watched pointing out the horses to their granddaughter Levi, 3.
“This is the first time we’ve been here in 35 years,” Mary Ann Herbenar said.
What brought them this time?
“Rancho Days,” she said.