The deadline was rapidly approaching for removal of horses from Altarinda.
Fortuitously, efforts to obtain use of EBMUD land were successful and the newly formed
Orinda Horseman’s Association was awarded its first lease (1968) of a magnificent site
with rolling hills, a pine forest, manzanita and chaparral and a jewel of a stock pond to
the south of Wildcat Canyon Road and extending to Inspiration Point and to the top of the
.The first Board of Directors of the OHA consisted of Dorothy Bolt , President; Joan
Sanford, Vice President; Marilyn Haines, Secretary; Robin Phillips, Treasurer; Robert
Bolt, Robert Lewman, and Alice Davidson.
Bob Lewman organized the move of the 20 odd horses and their teenage riders from
Altarinda to the new pasture. In single file the horses moved out mid-morning on a sunny
day, proceeded down Camino Sobrante, then along Miner Road without incident. Mary Furtado
brought up the rear in her station wagon. The file of horses moved along Camino Pablo to
the Junction of Bear Creek Road, where the group turned left, and up the hill along
Wildcat Canyon Road to the new pasture at El Toyonal. All went well, thanks to the able
leadership of the greatly relieved Bob Lewman, who with the help of 3 or 4 of the girls’
fathers, moved the horses and riders without incident or casualty. The great trek had
Early Times at the New Pasture
Security for the girls at the new pasture was a concern. The pasture was relatively
isolated, and so called `hippies’ were known to camp in the forest. The Board of
Directors, in may 1969, warned that `parents are urged to remind their daughters not to
converse with or invite strangers into the pasture. Good judgment must always be used in
this matter. Think about it and talk it over.’
The members of OHA soon learned that membership carried responsibilities, apart from
horseback riding and enjoying the beautiful new pasture. There were fences to be
repaired—horses have a way of leaning on fences and socializing over them, sometimes
breaking them down, pulling star thistle, fiddleneck, and other noxious weeds, and many
other tasks which now fell upon the members to do. Many of the youthful members with their
many competing interests did not fully appreciate this, but soon discovered latent skills.
The following list of `jobs which need doing around the pasture’ was posted:
|Prune trail up to the lake
|Paint new barn
|Remove stones from the riding ring
|Spread shavings and manure all over the ring
|Remove pile of old barbed wire by the gate
|Collect and empty trash
|Pull patch of star thistle near the upper gate
|Fence on south side of lower pasture needs repair
|Corrals in lower pasture need gates
|In springtime watch out for fiddleneck, pull and load in plastic sacks
|Clear the trail through the pine woods
Work seemingly never ends!
It soon became apparent that to comply with the terms of the lease, it was necessary
periodically to have a work day to accomplish tasks such as those listed above. At first
work was voluntary but expected, but as in all human endeavor, some people shirk
responsibility. It was decided that each member must devote 8 hours work per year or pay
$25.00 if unable to work or unwilling to do so. Of course, even back then, some members
devoted much more of their time to complete the necessary work around the pasture.
The required work policy has been substantially expanded since those early years. As
the work associated with the pasture has grown, the required number of work hours reached
a high in the early 1990’s of 24 hours per year for members with one horse and thrity-two
for members with two horses, although this was later reduced to 20 and 27. For years board
members’ hours were not to be counted against their work requirement, but in the late
1980s the association decided to credit board members 1 hour for each meeting they attend,
and at this writing the association is considering expanding this credit since board
meetings are longer than that and board members spend many more hours on related projects.
A recent development with regard to work hours is the selling or giving away of extra work
credits.. The general membership decision at present is to support this option however it
is still controversial.