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Guest opinion by Jessica DiCostanzo

The purpose of this column is to shine a spotlight on people you may know of but not know their connection to San Juan Capistrano’s equestrian lifestyle. Recently, local surfing legend Joyce Hoffman’s contributions to surfing have been immortalized with a life-sized bronze statue unveiled at Waterman’s Plaza in Dana Point and a new mural celebrating the local surfing culture at Doheny Village. For decades, the World Champion surfer could be found at Poche Beach and other spots, but her day job was running the other family business, TAR Farms Stables.

Joyce grew up around horses. Her family moved to Capo Beach when she was 13. Joyce’s parents purchased a farm and named it TAR Farms, for Tricia & Robin. They quickly got Hoffman a “crazy Arabian” horse that would take off and run home every time she got on. This led Hoffman to appreciate horses from the ground, rather than on their backs. So, the horse bug passed on to her sister, who became a show jumper, and her mother had a sale barn for jumper horses. Over time, TAR Farms grew into multi-discipline stables and was recently purchased by a local equestrian, and it is now known as Shady Maples Farm.  

Joyce Hoffman and her father, Walter Hoffman, pictured here at Joyce’s statue unveiling in Dana Point on January 27, are considered one of the first families of surfing. Photo: Breeana Greenberg

While Joyce’s sister spent time at the barn, Joyce spent her time at the beach perfecting her skills. In her teens, Joyce went on to win a World Championship, which led to endorsements, world travel and more accolades.  Life came full circle when Joyce became the manager of TAR Farms, and oversaw operations for more than 30 years. 

As far as living on the farm, Hoffman expressed, “You don’t have to ride horses (or even want to ride horses) to appreciate the equestrian community. Horses are central to San Juan Capistrano.” 

We could not agree more.  Horses provide a unique character to our town, from our multi-use trails and open spaces to our world-class Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Whether you surf, ride horses or just enjoy seeing horses in a crosswalk, you can appreciate the fact that San Juan Capistrano without horses is simply unimaginable.

Jessica DiCostanzo is a San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition Board Member, lifelong equestrian, and co-founder of equivont.com.

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