OK so I understand development. I get why it has to happen.
And, I understand that many of these old TB farms are very costly to restore…
But, I really have a difficult time understanding why we are wiping out history. I just don’t understand that part of it.
I mean, it isn’t as if these great old Thoroughbred farms raised nobodys.
War Admiral and Man O’ War’s home was bulldozed for a gated community/golf course. In my own home town, Loma Rica Ranch (Noor’s home) is now becoming a housing development. And, as we all know, Secretariat’s home has been whittled down do just a building or two.
My point is that we need History in America – let alone horse history. Heck, we’ve only been around a coupla hundred years and we already have rebuilt over so much. Why can’t we figure out a way to monetize these farms so that we can keep them? I mean, it all ends up being a money thing unless some private investor wants to step up. Isn’t there a way to work with the system to preserve these farms and also let the investors win a little as well?
For example… The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation.
THE SEABISCUIT HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Thank goodness someone has stepped up to secure the memory of Seabiscuit.
Now, I have no idea what motivated The Mendocino Land Trust and the Golden Rule Church Association to create the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation as I’m sure something sweetened the pot for somebody – but nonetheless, but I’m glad they did. Almost 5000 acres – or what’s left of Ridgewood Ranch, basically, will be restored. This is great news!
WHAT WILL BE SAVED?
(from the website)
The 5000 acre Ridgewood Ranch, located 7 miles south of Willits, CA is the historic home of thelegendary racehorse and American icon, Seabiscuit and is owned by the Golden Rule Church Association.The Ridgewood Ranch Conservation Area will encompass 4636 acres – 7 square miles – of the ranch. It will include the historic buildings and all of the outstanding natural resources on the property,including farm and grazing land, redwood and fir forests, oak woodlands, streams and scenic vistas.
Saving Seabiscuit’s historic home for the public to enjoy and permanently protecting the Ranch’s creeks, oak woodlands, redwood groves and wildlife habitat. The productive forest and farmland will also be conserved, enabling the landowners to continue their excellent stewardship while ensuring economic sustainability.
- Seabiscuit’s stud barn, Charles Howard family home, and more than twenty other historic sites on the Ranch.
- Over 5 miles of Forsythe and Walker Creeks,16 miles of tributaries, and 570 acres of associated riparian areas.
- 2 acres of old growth and 17 acres of second growth redwood, 1,900 acres of oak woodlands containing eight different oak species.
- 180 acres of prime farmland and 2,000 acres of grazing land, 900 acres of Douglas-fir, mixed hardwood forest managed for long-term sustainability.
- Extensive wildlife habitat for steelhead, golden eagle, great blue heron, bear, mountain lion, fox, deer, yellow-legged frogs, and numerous other species.
- Vernal pools (seasonal wetland ponds) of the rarest type found in California; unique and rare plant species.
OK, this is the part that I really like… I only wish lawsuits weren’t such a reality on large parcels because I WANT TO RIDE THERE but they won’t let any of us ride there. Boo hoo. I guess if we get hurt, they don’t want us to come after them. So sad about that but moving on…
I’m glad these people got together and figured out how they could run a business with what they had on that acreage. Here is what they came up with:
Existing Ridgewood Ranch Programs
- Rehabilitation and preservation of Seabiscuit’s Stud Barn with the Willits Rotary Club.
- Planning with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to secure historic preservation easements for the historic sites at Ridgewood Ranch.
- Historic walking tours with the Willits Chamber of Commerce to educate the public about the history of the Ranch.
- Museum exhibit, “Ridgewood Ranch: Home of Seabiscuit,” with the Mendocino County Museum.
- Therapeutic riding program for special needs children with the Mendocino County 4-H Club.
- Watershed conservation program with California Department of Fish and Game and the Natural Resources Conservation District of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Conservation Easement planning with the Mendocino Land Trust, including a California Department of Conservation pledge of $1 million to preserve prime farmland.
- 100 year sustainable forestry management plan with California Department of Forestry.
- Research with the University of California on rare environmental sites including vernal pools.
- A 5-acre organic Bio-intensive garden training program with Ecology Action.
- A 2-acre u-pick orchard with the Butler Cherry Ranch Project.
- Veterinary science and livestock projects with Willits 4-H Club.
Potential Ridgewood Ranch Programs
- Restoration and preservation of the RanchÕs many historic sites, including those related to Seabiscuit, Charles Howard, and his thoroughbred operation.
- Horse-related programming and events, including:
- Thoroughbred Retirement Center caring for “throw away” race horses. ( Many of these horses are still exported for slaughter)
- Interpretive ranch riding experiences such as a ride around the re-creation of Charles Howard’s half-track.
- Construction of an indoor riding arena to expand the therapeutic riding program.
- Expand historic programming through:
- Production of living history programs such as blacksmith demonstrations, butter churning and other historic ranching activities.
- Creation of elementary and secondary school programs to teach children about the history of the ranch.
- Establishment of an interpretive center/museum about the history and environment of the Ranch.
- Development of eco-tourism program such as docent-led nature walks, bird watching, garden and farm tours, and riparian area demonstrations.
- Sponsorship of educational workshops with a focus on animal husbandry, blacksmithing, painting, and photography.
- Additional historical, archaeological, and environmental research projects in conjunction local colleges and California universities.
WHAT I’M GOING TO DO…
Well, I wanted you to know about this in case any of you wished to support them. Also, I’m going to take my family to the Seabiscuit Walking Tour! How fun would that be?! I cannot imagine the thrill of feeling the walls and the grounds of such brilliance. Wow!
WHO ARE THE LIL’BISCUITS?
So I saw that on the Tour schedule: “Seabiscuit’s descendants, the Lil’Biscuits”
What does that mean? I did a bit of research and found this tidbit which could be a blogpost itself… I did email them for clarification and will report if I hear back.
Paint filly is first Seabiscuit descendent born at Ridgewood Ranch in 50 years
Willits News, The (CA) – Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Author: Maureen Moore/TWN/Staff writer
The clipity-clop of little hooves are once again being heard at Ridgewood Ranch as descendents of the legendary racehorse, Seabiscuit return to the historic ranch.
On May 13, in the mare barn’s stall No. 15, Josephine, a bay, Tobiano filly , became the first descendent of Seabiscuit to be born at the ranch in more than 50 years.
Josephine’s owners, Jacqueline and Tim Cooper of American Legend Horse Farm in Redwood Valley, specialize in breeding horses of Seabiscuit ‘s line. The Coopers say their goal is “to recreate history with our thoroughbred and Appendix quarter horse breeding operation.”
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
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Somehow I thought Seabiscuit was a gelding..
How neat! I’m so glad they’re doing this. That’s my old hometown, and that ranch is a stunningly beautiful place and deserves to be protected. I grew up around it and I’m very glad to see it won’t just be left to run down. It’s absolutely as beautiful as you can imagine and I highly recommend anyone go see it for themselves. Love to see that there will be lil biscuits there again. Great post!