Encore! returns to Stonepine. The doomsday sky from the troubling fires that have engulfed the West finally clears in Carmel Valley. It is a challenging time on so many fronts that a slice of simple stable life might be a refreshing pause. . .
Stonepine is located in Carmel Valley just past the Carmel Valley Village. The stable is home to a variety of horses learning a variety of disciplines. Encore! is learning dressage and hopefully will arrive at the point that she can perform a Grand Prix freestyle choreographed to sizzling Latin music. Other horses are learning and refining jumping skills. Olympic rider Lauren is putting all the disciplines together as a USET Three Day Event rider for the Olympics in Tokyo whenever they happen. You get the picture. All levels of riding and all kinds of horses call this picturesque equestrian compound home. The Estate also includes more than three hundred acres with well groomed trails.
Stonepine Equestrian Estate has a colorful history. Hence the Estate is officially designated as an Historic Hotel under National Trust for Historic Preservation. Years ago the Hollywood crowd frequented the Estate’s Chateaux Noel to enjoy a private golf course in the middle of a forest of oak and a few patches of redwood and pine forest with giant Stone Pine trees growing strategically in the landscape. The Thoroughbred breeders stayed at Stonepine along with their elite thoroughbred race horses and the Polo players hit goals on the polo field that is now a jumping arena and dressage court inside a four furlough race track. At the Chateaux the natural pond and the traditional swimming pool bring coolness to the California chaparral. The stately elegance of yesteryear still lingers in this quiet oasis of refinement.
When Ramone Becerra and his wife Carolyn delivered Encore! home to Stonepine after the fire, they ran into Gordon Hentschel, owner of Stonepine since 1983. Ramon and Gordon shared mutually fond memories of Ramon’s monthly Wild West shows at the Estate.
One event stands out in my mind. Ramon played Zorro and rode a black horse into the party celebrating Bob Hope’s ninetieth birthday! True to Zorro’s fame, the horse reared and Ramon rode up to the head table with a rose in his mouth and delivered it to Bob Hope’s wife and then galloped away! I could feel the fun and the sparkle in their reunion. It gave me a glimpse of what it must have been like back in the days of Bob Hope’s Hollywood.
The ranch was founded in 1927 by Henry Porter Russell, a founder of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and was known as the “Double H Ranch”. It’s not surprising that through the years it has hosted celebrities, international businessmen and business women, world dignitaries and statesmen and stateswomen. The beauty of this place is it’s absorption of all the history of tinsel and glamour into a serene and simple stable of big hearted horses and generous caring people.