Camp Richardson Corral saddles up for another season of riding
May 28, 2017
There aren't many businesses that can say they were around even before the city of South Lake Tahoe was incorporated. For the proprietors of Camp Richardson Corral, their family business has been going strong for 83 years. They have been at their current location, 4 Emerald Bay Road near South Lake Tahoe, since 1967.
Quint Ross' family started the business and he grew up working at the Corral. For the past 23 years, Ross and his wife Kelly have been at the helm of operations.
"We just started up for the season two weeks ago," said Kelly Ross. "We were just doing weekends because we were still bringing horses in from pasture during the week. We pasture all our horses in Gardnerville so they get six months off for the winter season." The Ross family plans to start operating seven days a week in June.
Camp Richardson Corral keeps about 40 horses on its property once the season is in full swing and about 18 horses get ridden daily. The Ross family says they treat their horses as if they're employees. "We have a routine with the horses," said Quint. "We keep track of their hours and days that they work so they get rotated for days off."
Since it's still early spring, there aren't as many ride options being offered, but summer usually translates to more availability.
"Right now we're just offering our trail ride, which is about [a] 50 to 55 minute guided ride," said Kelly. "It goes out through the forest and along the meadows. We try to get you to a spot to see the lake too." The extended trail ride, which will begin later in the season, lasts around two hours and goes through some areas farther out, including Fallen Leaf Lake.
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Cabot Zangrando made the trip from Placerville for his first outing with Camp Richardson Corral on Friday.
"It was a really great day for a ride, " he said. "And the horses were great. They took us up so we could see the lake and it was a beautiful view. We're going to go to the lake next and probably eat at the Beacon because that's what you do when you're in Camp Richardson."
Kelly explained that there are some areas they have to avoid due to the high volume of runoff that is occurring.
"The snow hasn't really been an issue, but the runoff has," she said. "We're staying out of the meadows now and not going to Fallen Leaf Lake at all. It's really wet out there and we don't want to cause any issues on the trail."
There's also the U.S. Forest Service fuel control and healthy forest restoration projects that have impacted activity to some extent.
"[The Forest Service] started logging and fuel reductions last year so we closed early to accommodate that, " said Kelly. "They weren't able to complete due to the early snow so they're coming back in here and we're trying to work around one another."
If you aren't going on the trails, Camp Richardson Corral offers something for the younger kids. You can stop by the corral for a quick pony ride around the property. Cheyenne and Tony Bova, of South Lake Tahoe, brought their 3-year-old daughter, Kennedy, out for a ride since she enjoyed her first one so much.
"We don't own any horses, but we like to do a lot of things outdoors," said Tony. "It's good to give her that experience of a ride instead of just going in circles. This is a much more outdoor experience."
The standard trail ride is $50 for ages 6 and older, with a weight limit of 225 pounds. The extended trail ride, when available, is $90. The pony ride is $10 and includes two loops around the corral. Reservations can be made by phone or in person. For information on services, pricing and riding guidelines, visit camprichardsoncorral.com.