New rules proposed for Osuna Ranch

Osuna Ranch
New rules proposed for the Osuna Ranch will encourage visitors to use the front entrance.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe Association has proposed new rules for the Osuna Ranch property, including operating hours, access points and identifying areas where visitors are not permitted due to its use as a working horse ranch.

Since the Association purchased the 28-acre property on Via De Santa Fe in 2006, there have been no rules in place. The new policy will be posted for 28 days for member input and will come back before the board in February 2021 for final approval.

The changes were proposed due to an increase in security issues at the ranch—at least one incident required law enforcement to come out to the property, according to Director Sharon Ruhnau. The new policy drafted by the Osuna Committee and approved by the Trails and Recreation Committee, has a focus on encouraging more diverse participation on the property that is sometimes underutilized, said RSF Association Assistant Manager Arnold Keene. Those uses include visiting the historic, 184-year-old Osuna Adobe, and hiking and riding the trails.

“This policy is in anticipation of more visitors coming and increasing our ability to monitor and provide a safe experience to visitors and the boarders alike,” Keene said at the board’s Dec. 8 meeting.

Per the new policy, operating hours will be set from Tuesday through Sunday, from 7:30 a.m. to one hour before sunset. After-hours access will be limited to those attending to a boarded horse.

Currently there are several access points on the property which Keene said has created concerns about staff’s ability to monitor visitors. “Access would be adjusted and generally directed though the main gate for visitors with one other access point off of Via De La Valle, which is part of a trail system,” Keene said.

Per the policy, the gates would be locked at dark.

Once on the property, the proposed rules state that dogs must be leashed at all times and it also outlines that the barns, structures, paddocks and turn-out pastures are designated for the use of the horse-training facility only. Members will be able to pre-arrange a visit to the horse training part of the ranch with the facility manager.

To implement the policy, the Association will need to install fencing along the Ranch’s western perimeter. At the November and December board meetings, Director Laurel Lemarie expressed some concerns about the gating and fencing. She said there may be some logistical items to consider regarding trail access, future trail configurations, as well providing mounting blocks or push buttons for horseback riders to be able to access the gates.

Ruhnau said that the new gate being considered in the lower pasture would be equestrian-friendly and that the plan will likely address the upper main gate as well. At this time, there is no cost associated with the gates or improvements to the fencing.

The Association purchased the property in 2006 for $12 million in order to preserve the historic adobe, protect open space and prevent subdivision. The purchase of the property, as well as its optimal use, has been debated many times over the years. Maximizing the Osuna’s use is listed as one of the top priorities of the Association board this year, with the goal of ensuring that the property benefits the majority of residents.

To comment on the new policy, email