This past fall, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, the face of “The Amazing Horse Woman, LLC” and who started riding in 2014, purchased her first horse property, which is “women owned and managed, along with an amazing team of equestrian specialists,” in Dr. O’Reilly’s words.
Formally known as Mission Pacific Equestrian Center, it is currently being transformed into Southern California Equestrian Center (SCEC). The farm is in Somis, California, between Camarillo and Moorpark, and is only 40 minutes north of Los Angeles. The property consists of 21 acres surrounded by eucalyptus trees, hundreds of acres of lemon groves and is close to all the amenities city life has to offer while still remaining private; as well as a full-service equestrian center offering boarding and complete riding and training customized to each rider and their horse.
The property is any equestrians dream, consisting of a 50-stall main barn, over 35 covered pipe stalls, a covered ground pan, stadium lights, a quarter-mile race track and more than 10 grass pastures. Home to Lowe Show Horse Centre for over a decade, is how O’Reilly became first involved.
However, prior to being home to one of the most prestigious Arabian training facilities on the west coast, the farm was owned by Zsa Zsa Gabor. Gabor’s publicist stated she bought the horse ranch in Somis because she was understandably fed up with Beverly Hills. Gabor lived on the property with her horses.
Southern California Equestrian Center’s location is one of the many reasons the facility is so desirable. The farm is 35 minutes to Burbank Airport, 50 minutes to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) and 20 minutes to the Pacific Ocean. The facility has been hosting four-star rated dressage shows about five times a year since 2003, which has been attended by equestrian Olympians.
The facility’s former owner, Jim Lowe, owner and trainer of Lowe Show Horse Centre, has trained at and maintained the property since 2002. O’Reilly started riding with Lowe in 2015. Over the years, she has built herself a small empire of horses in the industry for performance and breeding. Within O’Reilly’s breeding program is Affliction, Life Inthe Fazt Lane (stalled at ChriShan Park) and recently the purebred mare, CSP Gossip Girl. Wanting a place for her horses to call home that was close enough to her Montecito home, the search began.
She desired a facility for her horses with other people who love horses, and Lowe’s fit the bill.
Jim Lowe shares, “Nancy loves to be around horses and people, and it shows in everything she does. I’m excited to see her positive changes to the property. She wants to create an environment for people to come and enjoy other people who love horses.”
Jill Kramer, current SCEC barn operations manager, has been at the facility for over a decade since becoming a client of Lowe’s in 2006. Kramer oversees the day-to-day operations to make sure everything runs smoothly for Lowe, Dr. O’Reilly and the clients. “I am very excited to see what will come to the property,” Kramer says, “as well as working alongside Dr. O’Reilly to continue making this property a sanctuary for clients and horses.”
Dr. O’Reilly shares her excitement, “I am so very excited to have this wonderful Equestrian Center. We are blessed to have one of the top National Arabian/Half-Arabian Championship trainers in Jim Lowe. Together, we will continue to make this a top training facility, as well as a desirable destination for people who love horses.”
Dr. Nancy O’Reilly’s Southern California Equestrian Center will continue to be managed by Jill Kramer with Lowe Show Horse Centre’s Jim Lowe as head trainer, Nestor Gonzales as assistant trainer, and Jorge Garcia as ranch manager.
What caused you to decide to start riding? I had a major life change. My good friend knew horses would change my life for the good. Horses saved my life and still are every day. I love them and the people who love them as well. What would you tell someone who is older to encourage them to start riding? It will keep you young. A challenge and getting past your fears make you feel alive. You are stronger and smarter and physically better than you think. Centurions in Tibet ride horses. I hope to be 100 and still riding. Why not?! How have you found riding to enhance your life and life skills? What do you love most about it? I am a psychologist, author and speaker. I often share my excitement about riding and driving my horses, and now breeding the next generation of Arabian show horses. The confidence I have grows, and the excitement is magical and is so very fulfilling. Life is about growing and learning. I have much to learn. None of us are promised tomorrow. What are you waiting for? What are some of the obstacles you’ve encountered, starting this sport later in life? Of course, being less experienced and having to catch up with the more experienced and knowledgeable riders was, and still is challenging. I find overall, the equestrian world is filled with lots of people who want, and do, offer help and lots and lots of support. It is about matching up with the right horse and the right trainer. Then let the magic come. I have been blessed to have both. How does riding compare to other hobbies you’ve had? Sports have been a big part of my life. I was the ultimate tomboy! Boys came to my house not to date me, but knew I could kick the ball further than most. Painting has been one of my passions and drawing and painting horses seems a natural progression which I am just now attempting. Tennis, running 10ks and even the NY marathon, as well as my love/hate of golf has helped with persistence and determination to improve, knowing the importance of learning and lots of instruction. I just don’t give up! A great coach and trainer make all the difference to help anyone excel and improve. You can learn from many. Watch and learn and ask for help. You will never stop learning to be a great rider and horse communicator. It’s about developing relationships with our horses which we need to remember can last up to 30 years. Horses can teach us so very much about ourselves. They see through us and know all our secrets. The good news is they are also so very forgiving; thank goodness. Anything else you’d like to share with folks new to Arabian horses? Enjoy the ride and the journey. Know you will meet amazing four-legged and two-legged creatures who will make your life sweet. You will make lifelong friends and write stories and make memories you will be amazed with. I want my family to know how much joy and love I have had and will have, being a part of the world of the horse and the people who love them as much as I do. I am so very blessed. There’s no place to get started than at Southern California Equestrian Center …. a place for people who love horses. Join us!