Notable Improvements


The first recognized need was for building several stalls near the saddling area to
accommodate injured or sick horses. It was decided that funds were available to build 3 to
4 partially covered stalls and that labor would be provided by members. The cost of lumber
and roofing came to approximately $340.00. The board decided that the stalls would be
rented at $1.00 per day `and that each stall must be cleaned out when a horse was
removed.’ The rental policy was soon abandoned because of the difficulty in collecting
rental due. Members worked several days under direction of foreman Lens Cogdell to
complete the work in August 1971. A few years later the stalls were almost destroyed by
fire, probably started by transients seeking shelter from the cold wintry weather.
Volunteer work parties supervised by Mike Hurley completed the restoration quickly at a
cost of $300.00 for materials.

The Ring

Shortly after moving to the new pasture members requested an arena to train their
horses. A small ring was graded in the saddling area behind the stalls which were built
later. This ring proved to be quite inadequate. There was an almost unanimous desire for a
larger riding and training arena. After investigation of possibilities, it was decided to
build a large 100 x 200 foot ring across El Toyonal in the newly acquired `ring pasture’
as it became known. Members agreed to assess themselves $50.00 each to provide the
necessary funds. The Board of Directors solicited bids and subsequently approved a
contract for $850.00 for grading the area. Permission was obtained from the park district
to cut Eucalyptus poles for fencing the new ring. OHA work parties completed all work
satisfactorily in the summer of 1973. About twenty years later the eucalyptus poles had
mostly rotted and splintered and as a capital improvements project the association
replaced them with sturdy douglas fir lumber .

Not long after moving to the El Toyonal- Wildcat pasture, the need was recognized for a
trail through the forest to Inspiration Point. This would provide easy access to Tilden
Park. Fallen trees, thick brush, poison oak and blackberry vines had to be cut through to
build the winding lower trail , the only trail through the forest. This was quite a task
and all the work was done by members. Its completion was an occasion to celebrate!

In August 1975 members were advised that EBMUD had offered a lease on the “Pear
Orchard” Property running down to Camino Pablo. At the annual membership meeting that
year, OHA accepted the offer, and what is now the lower pasture and the pear orchard was
added to the lease. This allowed the association to admit about a half dozen new horses,
which were pastured in this new area

Lower and Upper Pasture Barns

A long felt need was realized when in November 1977, EBMUD approved plans for
constructing two small hay barns, at a combined cost of $1800.00. The work was completed
expeditiously by volunteer labor of the membership.

Combining the Herds and Pasture Rotation

With acquisition of the lower pasture in 1975, about 8 new members were admitted to the
association and their horses assigned to the lower pasture, thus creating two groups of
members, the older, Upper Pasture group, and the new group in the Lower Pasture. Before
long, the division of members became a source of continuing friction. Lower pasture
members perceived that they were not treated equitably with regard to hay allocation and
use of facilities. Misunderstandings existed regarding feeding. After the washout of the
El Toyonal Road these perceptions exacerbated and hampered the Association’s ability to
function as a unified group. The EBMUD requested that all pastures be grazed so as to
reduce fire hazard. After much discussion among members, the OHA Board agreed to rotate
the horses among the pastures. The decision was made to combine the herds and move all the
horses to the Upper Pasture in early winter. Management of the use of the pastures was
facilitated by installation of an electric fence dividing the Pear Orchard from the Lower
Pasture. Linda Furtado, President of the OHA and EBMUD representative Rod Tripp jointly
worked out a grazing plan for rotation of the combined herd among the pastures. This
general plan, after lengthy discussion and considerable opposition by some members, was
approved by the membership. It has been effective in improving management of the range and
its total ecology. Grazing plans, including dates for moving the horses, are now prepared
annually by EBMUD and jointly signed by EBMUD and the Association president

The Pavilion

A significant change in district policy in 1988 permitted OHA to construct high
priority projects without the necessity of raising fees. Importantly, the new EBMUD lease
for 1988 contained a provision for a construction credit for permanent improvements. Up to
50% of the annual lease cost can be rebated by EBMUD to cover construction costs incurred
on projects pre-approved by the district. This permitted plans to proceed on the
construction of several new stalls above the ring, called the Pavilion. It was agreed that
four new paddocks and covered stalls with a breezeway, and later, a space for storage of
hay would qualify for this construction credit.. After much discussion with the
membership, the Board accepted a proposal to build the stalls of metal pipe, including a
covered breezeway between the stalls for $3655. Additional improvements including water,
electricity, paddock extensions, and the addition of a large paddock at the rear of the
pavilion were added as improvements in subsequent years. This facility, made possible by
the District’s new policy, has been a popular improvement much appreciated by members.

The winter of 1988 demonstrated the need for rain gutters, and for improved drainage in
the covered portions of the stalls by building a rock base covered with dirt. This was
accomplished in early 1989. A number of improvements of the old original stalls was
decided on for the following year. These included improving drainage, the installation of
new plywood on the inner walls, and replacing wood rails with metal pipe, a needed

In the Upper Pasture, the base of the steep hill behind the main saddling area was the
locus of winter feeding. The horses, sensing feeding time, charged down the hill-full
speed ahead-causing erosion of the hillside and deep mud around the feeding troughs along
the fence line. By 1989 EBMUD had become concerned with the ecology of this hillside and
decided that feeding in this area must be discontinued and moved to the area west of the
lake. The OHA Board of Directors, on 10/22/89, voted to construct a new hay barn in a
fenced-off area near the pond, to be funded by a capital lease rebate from EBMUD at an
estimated cost of $3100.00. However, new trampled areas developed in the meadow area west
of the lake, and hillside adjacent to the enclosure. To ameliorate the destruction to
these problem areas, feeding was stopped directly next to the lake and early fall feedings
have been turned over to those with trucks who scatter the hay over different regions of
the pasture..