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Meet the Horses

Connecting with a horse for the first time is a magical experience. From our youngest to our oldest students, one of our favorite parts of the process is introducing new riders to their horses – the real teachers on a transformational journey.  Their knowing eyes and gentle souls build a kind of instantaneous bond that connects on the most essential level. For your child, our lesson horse is their trusted partner, best friend and companion. At RDM, we are pleased to provide you with some of the top school horses in the country as your teaching partners. Our lesson horses work just as hard as our instructors to help you maximize your efforts, and we believe that should be recognized. Take the time to meet our lesson horses and with just a few clicks below, you’ll understand why we say they are a special breed! The instruction you receive from the Rancho Del Mar professional teaching staff is obviously important, but that’s only one half of the process.

Appaloosa Mare | 24 years old

Santana was only recently added to our lesson program. She is a great beginner horse and can be ridden by a little 4-year-old or an adult who has never ridden. She has a wonderful slow trot for every rider to easily learn to post. She also has an easy, comfortable canter for sitting. Santana is wonderful to be around, too, especially during our camps, where the children learn how to lead, groom and tack her up. She has a great temperament and does especially well with our Special Needs riders. She is a great beginner horse for any child or adult who wants a great riding experience.

AMHF Absolut Mystery
Morgan Gelding | 15 years old

“Mr. E,” as he is affectionately known, began his career in the Western Pleasure division. With great success he moved into Classic Saddle Seat Pleasure for his previous owners, Debbie Hurst and Tayler Walters. Mr. E also earned a Reserve World Champion title in 2004. RDM acquired Mr. E. in 2009 for lessons and he is used for our intermediate to advanced riders to gain show ring experience, from small shows to the Morgan World Championship. Mr. E. is also a wonderful driving horse. Not only is he competitive at the top shows in that division, he has also helped teach many driving lessons at our camps.

Stonecroft Make A Wish
Morgan Gelding| 16 years old

Stonecroft Make A Wish, aka Wish, has recently been added to the lesson program at Rancho Del Mar. Wish has been showing and winning in equitation classes his whole life. He has been a member of the Rancho Del Mar family for about 6 years, during which he has been either a Champion or Reserve Champion in Equitation at the Morgan Grand National four times with three different riders! Wish is a wonderful lesson horse, as he can be ridden by any level rider from novice to expert. He has a nice flat walk, easy trot and slow canter for the novice rider. He can be sporty and fun for the more advanced riders and does excellent patterns. If fact, he has taught patterns to three RDM riders who have gone on to win World Championships at the Morgan Grand National World Championship.

Wish is a great teacher. Within the framework of their lessons and especially during camps, kids can safely learn how to care for horses using Wish as a model. They learn how to lead horses, groom horses, and put on their tack, and eventually are able to ride him. Being able to use Wish in our lesson program and camps is such a blessing, as he is an ideal and useful addition to both programs at Rancho Del Mar.

Sport Coupe
American Saddlebred/Hackney Pony | 25 years old

Sport, known fondly as “The Wonder Pony” was originally purchased for Mackenzie and Samantha Lyttle. He has been an integral part of our lesson program for 19 years, happily teaching his riders. Sport is great at patterns and is usually the mount used to teach children to canter for the first time. Also a favorite choice at our riding camps for the obstacle courses and relays, Sport has been the first show mount for 45 of our riders, from Leadline to a few who have grown up to become professional horse trainers. He was honored in 2009 with a special ceremony by the Charity Fair Horse Show in Del Mar for his major contributions to the sport of Saddle Seat riding and showing. Sport has carried dozens of riders to the winner’s circle at horse shows all over Southern California, one of the most successful and dependable Academy mounts in the nation.

Cowboy Up
Morgan Gelding | 12 years old


Cowboy, a Morgan gelding, was raised at Rancho Del Mar. He was born 12 years ago. He was shown a little as an English pleasure horse. Through time, he has become our champion Academy horse. He shows in Academy classes, which are entry level classes on lesson horses for novice and “green” riders of all ages. In 2012, he won the Academy Pleasure and Equitation Championship for the SCHC Series of shows in San Diego County.

Cowboy is the pattern champion of the Rancho Del Mar school horses. Pattern work is an important part of our riding instruction at Rancho Del Mar. It teaches control, precision, use of leg aids and all-around horsemanship. He is ridden by our novice to intermediate level Academy riders, as well as our advanced show riders. He teaches every student how to perform serpentines, figure eights, and diagonal and lead changes. Cowboy makes a very important contribution to every RDM rider’s development into an excellent horseman.