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Osuna Ranch sees more upgrades, activity

Visitors at the ranch at this summer's Celebrate Osuna.
Visitors at the ranch at this summer’s Celebrate Osuna.
(Courtesy)

The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Osuna Ranch is finding its footing, according to an update given at the Nov. 3 RSF Association Board of Directors meeting. The Association-owned horse ranch on Via de Santa Fe, home to the historic adobe, has streamlined operations, made facilities upgrades and is becoming an asset for community-focused events.

Jerry Yahr with an Osuna horse.
Jerry Yahr with an Osuna horse. (Courtesy photo)

RSF Association Fields Operations Manager Arnold Keene took over responsibilities at the Osuna Ranch about six months ago. With “fresh eyes,” Keene reviewed many of the practices in place and made suggestions for improvements. The Association switched vendors on several programs to save money and provide better services and, at the request of the Finance Committee, did a complete overhaul of the accounting system. Previously the books were kept in a paper ledger and no invoices went into the accounting system — that has all been fixed and the Association now even knows all the horses’ names.

Keene said the Osuna is reporting a 7 percent increase in revenue.

The Osuna Ranch’s equestrian facility is currently at capacity with 50 boarding horses and a waiting list. The boarders are 40 percent Covenant and 60 percent non-Covenant — Keene said the mix has shifted as it used to be 70 percent non-Covenant. All horses are in training or under the care of Hap Hansen’s Stables.

Overall rental fees have increased by 8.7 percent. Keene said the monthly rent varies by the size of the horse’s lodging — the basic boarding is $500 a month and a deluxe stall in the barn with in-and-out access is $1,200 a month. Covenant boarders are offered a monthly discount of $50.

Keene said he believes their rates are competitive with other ranches in the area.

“There is a lot of demand for horse-keeping because a lot of ranches are closing or limiting their offerings,” Keene said.

Since Keene took over, he has turned attention to some areas of the ranch that had been neglected. There is a lot of deferred maintenance and needed upgrades.

Keene said $18,000 has been budgeted this year for painting the main barn and a shade structure in one of the pastures that is on the shabby side is also planned to be rebuilt this year. The Association has made improvements to the riding facility with sand and other upgrades that make for a much safer arena.

This year, the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club provided a $15,000 grant for a substantial landscape upgrade around the Osuna Adobe that has greatly enhanced the look of the property, Keene said. In an attempt to further appreciate the circa-1830 building, the Association is pursuing a National Historic Designation.

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments at the Osuna is the three “significant” events that have been held on the property this year, Keene said. June’s Celebrate Osuna was very well attended and during Rancho Days, held in October, the pony rides and petting zoo brought about 300 people to the ranch. A farm-to-table outdoor dinner event, held on long tables under the trees and twinkling lights, sold over 100 tickets and raised $12,600 that will go toward the RSF Garden Club and the Osuna fund.

In the coming months, the ranch will be used for community activities such as a tree-planting event in January and for what has become a popular field trip destination for R. Roger Rowe students in which they get the chance to make their own adobe bricks.

Social groups and families are invited to the site for picnics, tours, special events or other uses. To get information on using the Osuna Ranch site for a group or an event, contact Arnold Keene at (858) 756-1174. An online request form can be found at rsfassociation.org.


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