The years since 1968 have brought many changes to the Orinda Horseman’s Association.
The Orinda girls for whose horses the pasture was first leased have grown up and gone
their separate ways. Only a few of them remain as proprietary members.
The major highly contentious problems of the earlier years, health maintenance of the
herd, group and individual feeding, work requirements, rotation of the herd among the
pastures and other problems discussed in this paper, mostly have been resolved, at least
to the satisfaction of the majority of the members. The Association has by the end of the
1990’s reached maturity. Processes for decision making have evolved on a democratic basis.
Since the issuance of the EBMUD policy directives announced in Mr. Robert Nuzum’s letter
to the OHA on 2/9/93 for “No Net Impact” pasture management, there has been
increased involvement of representatives of EBMUD in management of the leased properties.
The Association has worked cooperatively with the District toward achieving the policy
With respect to internal administration, the current association President, Fred Goff,
has delegated assignments to its members who have the incentive of earning work credit for
performance, and hence are held accountable. This management style appears to be
effective, and well received by members. Members are working more closely together in the
interest of the whole OHA.
The involvement of young people in horsemanship was an important element to the EBMUD’s
decision to lease property to OHA in 1968. President Morris Older, in his report to the
membership, 9/25/94 noted that “there are fourteen kids, under 16 years of age, who
are now riding. They are an important part of the OHA, and it is encouraging that they are
The encouragement of young riders again should be reemphasized as an important
objective of the Orinda Horseman’s Association. Several members, notably Gailyn Johnson,
emphasized the need for a Youth Program. It is suggested that a committee of three, one of
whom is a Board member be appointed by the President to develop such a program and that
members volunteer the use of gentle, older horses for training purposes. Adult
supervision, of course would be essential.
To encourage all around riding skills, the Association’s arena needs to be taken more
seriously. Members desirous of developing skills in arena events have been disappointed
over the years with the condition in which the arena is maintained. The surface at first
was hard and rocky, damaging to horses hooves and so it was decided to rototill the
surface and to improve texture by spreading manure and wood chips. Years ago, Laurie
Allen, in charge of getting the ring in shape for use, proposed buying sand to cover the
surface but the board found that solution to be prohibitively expensive so no action was
taken. In June 1995, Fred Goff completed a research report setting forth options for
resurfacing the ring along with cost estimates. He presented his report to members, but
the record does not show any action to date so the riding ring has fallen short of
expectations..The improvement of the surface of the arena should be a high priority, and
the Board of Directors should be prepared to make funds available for this purpose.
Perhaps a new approach to the EBMUD for capital improvement rebate funds to improve the
arena for youth training would strike a sympathetic response.
The Association is approaching thirty years of age. Members have benefited in many
ways: they enjoy an idyllic location to engage in their favorite pastime at low cost;
opportunity to develop leadership and management skills; and importantly, to work
cooperatively and constructively to achieve mutual objectives. With the Orinda Horseman
Association’s members continued commitment to work together the succeeding years will
prove to be as challenging and successful.