By Shelly Barker
San Juan Capistrano is home to the Las Vaqueras Women’s Riding Group.
Established in 1993, the Las Vaqueras Riding Group is a nonprofit organization promoting both trail riding and community service. Their primary focus is on riding and horsemanship while maintaining a high equestrian recreational standard for members.
Throughout the year, Las Vaqueras provides opportunities for increasing horsemanship knowledge, equine care, clinics, trail riding, and spring rides, which include horse camping, meetings and fundraising events.
Las Vaqueras is a place to meet a diverse group of friends from all riding disciplines. Whether roping, reining, working cow horse, ranch riding, dressage, obstacle course or Grand Prix show jumping, the love of trail riding and Western traditions brings them together.
You may have recently seen the Las Vaqueras ladies on the trails of San Juan Capistrano. Their annual fundraiser event, the Poker Ride & BBQ, occurred on Feb. 18. The annual ride was attended by members, future members and guests.
Following the ride, additional guests and spouses attended the barbecue lunch, bid on raffle items, and were entertained by the James Kelly Band, along with line dancing by DJ Marie Kelly. This year, the event was held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano.
The venue and the gracious use of an arena for riders to exercise their horses before the trail ride was greatly appreciated. Participating riders enjoyed a beautiful day in the equestrian-friendly trails of San Juan Capistrano.
Riders could choose between either a 1-hour flat ride or a 2-hour hill ride. Along the route, the riders collected cards for their poker hands at various stops. The ride was followed by a barbecue, prizes, and raffles.
All proceeds from the raffles go to support the charities currently sponsored by Las Vaqueras and who share similar goals and interests, such as the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition, Otra Mas, and Surf and Turf Therapy. Las Vaqueras acknowledges and appreciates the support and generous donations of the San Juan Capistrano business community, which helps make this event a success.
Las Vaqueras Women’s Riding Group was awarded the “equestrian group of the year” by the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition. The Las Vaqueras ladies have been an integral part of representing San Juan’s Western traditions and promoting trail etiquette and safety.
The next Las Vaqueras event is the Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano on March 25, where they will be riding, led by President Brooke Carter. Keep an eye out for the beautiful Las Vaqueras cowgirls as they celebrate their 30th anniversary.
Las Vaqueras is proud to uphold the San Juan Capistrano Western heritage that their name represents.
Shelly Barker is a Las Vaqueras board member and resident of San Juan Capistrano.
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