Thank you first responders!


CalFire firefighters and other first responders deserve heartfelt thanks for protecting the historic Yanci Ranch and other properties when they created a firebreak that prevented the Lightning Complex wildfires from spreading in western Yolo County and beyond. The Yanci Ranch is one of the properties managed by Rominger Brothers Farms. It’s a working ranch where horseback riders can enjoy the scenery amid the beautiful oak woodlands in California’s Coast Range. A historic home is nestled within the foothills on the ranch where the Nate Yanci family once lived. The house was built following a fire on Christmas Day 1935 that destroyed a landmark home that Charles W. Scott built on the site in the mid-19th Century. Last week a CalFire crew drove through the Yanci Ranch to access the wildfire as it burned out of control east of Lake Berryessa. Fortunately, the firebreak spared the historic house and barns, as well as the multitude of wildlife that inhabit the 800-acre ranch. We’re ever so grateful to the first responders who risk their lives to protect the rest of the us.

My first ride on Pavona

My first ride on Pavona

“Pavona” is a registered Thoroughbred who lived on the neighboring ranch that we bought earlier this year. She is a former racehorse and won first place at Bay Meadows Racetrack in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2005. While she has been ridden, it has been a few years, so we are having her trained right now at Christa Petrillo Total Horsemanship in Winters, California. She is getting a tune-up, in preparation for her future life as a trail horse. This photo shows me riding Pavona for the very first time–which just happened to be on Friday the 13th, but I felt pretty lucky to ride such a great horse because she has a gentle disposition. Christa said she is a kid-friendly horse too, so one day my children may be riding her. By the way, Pavona is the name of a town in Central Italy. Apparently when she was racing, her owners were of Italian descent. My husband and I plan to visit Italy next year, so we hope to visit the Italian city.

Horses need homes

060Horses need homes

We are still looking for homes for several of the horses that we acquired when we bought a neighboring ranch to expand our sheep operation. The horses range in age from this Thoroughbred/Quarter horse filly who was born on June 13th, to a 26-year-old Appaloosa/Percheron broodmare. So far, we have found homes for 20 of the 30 horses that were left behind on our new ranch by the previous owners, thanks in part to local horse trainers including Christa Petrillo. Please help spread the word to fellow horse enthusiasts who may be interested in adopting a horse.

Controlled burn

Controlled burn

We’re conducting our second controlled burn on our new ranch today, in order to improve the grazing land for our sheep. We are trying to get rid of the non-native goat grass and replace it with native grasses that are better for livestock.
Before we bought this ranch, there were around 100 horses roaming free on about 800 acres, and much of the grass that they grazed on was goat grass. When the previous owners decided to sell their land, they sent most of the horses to an auction. When we bought the ranch in March, there were about two-dozen horses left. We decided to keep a few horses and we noticed that one of the mares had abscesses on her gums. When we had the University of California, Davis veterinarians come over to examine the horses, they attributed the abscesses to the rough grass that the horse had been grazing on. The same thing can happen to the sheep, so the controlled burn will ultimately improve the feed that is available.
Our local fire department conducts the controlled burns. Before the fire is lit, my husband drives a big John Deere tractor and disks the fire breaks to contain the fire. Then a firefighter walks around and uses a drip-torch to light the fire, as shown in this picture. Several fire trucks are stationed around the fire to make sure it stays under control.

My recent visit to Cal Poly’s Equine Center

My recent visit to Cal Poly's Equine Center

While our family was in San Luis Obispo to watch our son graduate from Cal Poly, I visited the Equine Center, where the university has student-managed breeding programs for Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds. In addition, Cal Poly’s mascot is the Mustang. I didn’t see any of those at the equine center, but thanks to our recent acquisition of ranch property that came with two-dozen horses, we have a spectacular Spanish Mustang that could be a beautiful addition to the campus herd.

My black-spotted stallion

My black-spotted stallion

My husband and I recently bought a ranch near Winters, California to expand our sheep operation, and the previous owners left behind 23 horses, including stallions, pregnant mares and foals. This beautiful black-spotted stallion is one of the horses that we acquired. Today I submitted a DNA sample (tail hair) to the University of California, Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in order to determine exactly what breed he is.