On the winding dirt trails that snake through Mount Diablo’s nearly untouched terrain, the sound of cars disappears, and riders can imagine they have been transported back to the 18th century. Nestled in the mountain’s foothills, a 20-stall horse ranch and equestrian center teaches fledgling equestrians the art of trotting down those trails. Arabians expert Nancy Dupont has spent more than four decades presiding over Castle Rock Arabians, where instructors boast accreditation with the Certified Horsemanship Association and many of them have claimed championship titles.
The center’s lessons welcome children as young as 2 to join a Tiny Riders program, whereas older pupils who have conquered the basics can learn advanced techniques, such as jumping through bank-vault walls. In addition to hosting classes and trail rides for students, the center organizes camps and hosts parties for birthday celebrants or pegasi celebrating the sprouting of their wings.