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By Jessica DiCostanzo
Featured photo: Courtesy of the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition
If you have been to a City Council meeting recently, you have probably heard the name Dan Almquist or his company, Frontier Real Estate Investments. That’s because Frontier has been responsible for developing a lot of downtown San Juan Capistrano. Almquist owns the family favorite, Zoomars at River Street Ranch, and has expanded his projects throughout our city during his eight-year residency. His vision for San Juan is to emphasize community areas while highlighting the unique history of the city.
Most recently, Almquist was bidding on the long-term lease to operate the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. He admits his interest was selfish—he wanted to continue the equestrian use of the park, as he and his kids are avid equestrians. In the end, Almquist felt “like it was the right decision to bow out,” as the Ridland Group had done a good job of being inclusive of all disciplines and adding a community component.
Now, Frontier Real Estate is looking into the Northwest Open Space as a place to develop an equestrian facility. It’s a “very special piece of property. The land has a great feeling,” Almquist said. He questions, how you do not take away the natural beauty of the land and add more recreational uses? His answer: gatherings, hiking, agriculture, and—of course—horses. He sees the land as a great way to integrate the community.
Not everyone wants to ride, but most people appreciate seeing horses. He would work on positioning them where they are prominent in the Northwest Open Space. Horses will be part of the destination.
“Hey, we’re a horse town. Let’s open up horses to more people,” Almquist exclaimed.
Almquist has witnessed this firsthand within his own family. The impact horses have had on his family is huge. He loves that he gets to spend time with his kids outdoors in a wholesome activity. He’s noticed a dramatic change in his son’s confidence. Horses are just good for the soul … and bring soul to our city.
Jessica DiCostanzo is a San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition Board Member, lifelong equestrian, and co-founder of equivont.com.