It isn’t well known outside of their communities, but several Orange County cities are horse-friendly including homes with stables, city owned horse trails and riding clubs. Here is the list of cities with horse property and amenities for equestrian lovers.
Note: Other Orange County cities and areas allow horses but have a very limited horse-friendly amenities, number of horse properties or opportunities to maintain horses on property.
Orange County Cities that Allow Horses
This list includes unincorporated areas such as Santiago Canyon and Orange Park Acres.
Anaheim Hills has a small horse community, but horse properties certainly are not. Horses are allowed on any parcel of property of one (1) acre (43,560 square feet) or more. There is also the Anaheim Hills Riding Club and easy access to Santiago Oaks, Yorba Regional, Chino Hills State Park and the Santa Ana River Horse riding trails.
Brea has a few huge horse properties in the Carbon Canyon area where there is trail riding. Horses are allowed on a minimum lot area of one (1) acre (43,560 square feet) with a maximum of four (4) horses for private use permitted so long as they do not constitute a nuisance and are provided with adequate shelter, food, care, and sanitary facilities.
Fun With Horses is located within Carbon Canyon and provides individual lessons, City recreation classes, Scout patch/badge programs and camps.
Coto de Caza
Coto de Caza has an Open Space Network trail system for horseback riding that leads to 47 miles of equestrian trails through the Coto de Caza and adjacent wilderness areas.
The Equestrian Center has boarding and training for approximately 300 horses, barns, seven arenas and home to the Orange County Polo Club with access to over 20 miles of riding trails.
Fullerton allows horses on properly zoned property greater than three-fourths of an acre. One additional animal may be kept for each additional 15,000 square feet of land; however, no more than five adult animals may be allowed
Fullerton has 28 miles of riding trails. The Juanita Cook Trail serves as an access point to Laguna Lake Park equestrian trails. Panorama trail begins at East Coyote Hills Trail on Bastanchury where you can enter the Panorama Nature Preserve in an opening between the Summit House and the Coyote Hills Golf Course.
Laguna Hills (Nellie Gail Ranch)
The 1,350 acre private, gated community has five (5) parks, four (4) association arenas, approximately 25 miles of riding trails as well as over 50 acres of open space with over 5,000 trees for horse owners to ride and enjoy.
The Nellie Gail Ranch Equestrian Center has 96 stalls, three (3) large lighted sand areas, and a clubhouse.
Newport Beach (West Bay, Santa Ana Heights areas)
The semirural, unincorporated area above Newport Bay, Santa Ana Heights, was annexed by the city of Newport Beach in the early 2000s. However, the area has maintained some of its equestrian history with limited zone equestrian uses. The city also stipulates that the area maintain a rural character with an equestrian theme that predominates.
The Back Bay area contains several riding trails including the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.
Horse property has become less and less prevalent over the years with even the number of trails accessible to horses dwindling as well.
North Tustin (Tustin Foothills – Cowan Heights, Lemon Heights)
North Tustin has a limited number of horse properties but no riding trails.
Orange Park Acres (OPA)
Orange Park Acres is a very horse-friendly community with twenty (20) miles of horse trails amid the bustle of Orange County. You’ll find many large horse properties and it is worth a drive through the community just to see all the magnificent horses and other animals.
San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano has amazing amenities, trails and horse-friendly City regulations that permit one (1) horse per 10,000 square feet of overall lot size. Malaspina Ranch in North San Juan Capistrano is particularly dense with horse properties.
There are city owned horse trails throughout the city that lead to many parks, riding facilities and wilderness areas in Orange County. The Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park holds many horse shows including the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo. Reveal Equestrian and Ivy Gate Farm are also located in San Juan Capistrano.
Santiago Canyon (Trabuco, Modjeska, and Silverado canyons)
Santiago Canyon offers more affordable options to owning horse property in Orange County over other areas. This area also offers a small, rural community atmosphere while being no more than a few miles away from greater Orange County.
There are miles of horse trails that extend even further with quick access to the OC regional trail system to most of Orange County’s parks from the Mountains to the Sea.
The Santiago Canyon Equestrian Center is located in Silverado Canyon and the Live Oak Canyon Stable is located in Trabuco Canyon. The Saddleback Canyon Riders club is also located in Trabuco and they hold many riding and social events throughout the year.
Most of Villa Park is zoned for lot sizes no smaller than a half-acre which makes having a horse property in Villa Park very achievable. The City allows two (2) horses at 10,000 – 14,000 square feet and 2 more for every 10,000 acres after that (up to six (6)).
There are wide city-owned multi-use dirt trails throughout the city. There aren’t as many horse owners as there used to be but more than you might know, if you drove around. Santiago Oaks with riding trails is adjacent to Villa Park.
Horses are permitted in specifically residential zoned areas with a lot size of 15,000 square feet and larger. Some areas allow a lot size of less than 15,000 square feet (but not less than 10,000 square feet). Starting at 10,000 acres two (2) horses are allowed with up to six (6) horses allowed as lot size increases.
There are over 100 miles of equestrian trails coordinated into a regional trail system including Carbon Canyon Regional Park access. Access via Gun Club Road Linear Park Quarter Horse Staging Area
Many of these OC cities allow more than just horses such as ponies, donkeys, mules, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, fowl, reptiles and even llamas.
Norco “Horsetown USA”
Norco is located in Riverside County but we’re including it here because it is what many consider to be the last bastion for horse lovers in Southern California. With a population of 27,000, plus and as many as 20,000 horses you can see why they label themselves “Horsetown USA.”
The town is especially geared for a rural, equestrian themed community which includes a great trail system with access to the Santa Ana River trail, many equine related events and shows, and traffic laws specifically formed for horses and riders.
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Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.