Horses Living Large in Idyllic Setting on the Central Coast – Breeding, Training, Boarding & Retirement offered at Asunción Valley Farm

by Cheryl Erpelding

Letting horses live like horses, was Lori Johnston’s primary goal when she began designing her beautiful sporthorse farm in 2014. Too many horses in California only live in stalls or small paddocks and don’t get to enjoy their days in large pastures or paddocks. Working on a lunge, schooling in an arena, and back to a stall or small corral is not the best for a horse’s overall mental health. Lori wanted her horses to have the best life possible and her 110-acre property offers all that and more. Located in Templeton, CA on the banks of the Salinas River, the farm’s pastures are fed by the deep aquifers and offer year-round irrigated and native grass pastures for the horses lucky enough to live at Asunción Valley Farm.

Lori Johnston had a clear vision when she embarked on the creation of her magnificent sporthorse farm in 2014: to grant horses the opportunity to live authentically like horses. In California, far too many equines are confined to stalls or cramped paddocks, depriving them of the freedom to roam in grass pastures and revel in their natural behaviors. The monotonous routine of lunging, arena schooling, and returning to a cramped space or small enclosure does not bode well for a horse’s overall mental or physical well-being. Determined to provide her horses with the most fulfilling existence imaginable, Lori set out to establish her sanctuary on a sprawling 110-acre property. Nestled along the banks of the Salinas River in Templeton, CA, Asunción Valley Farm boasts lush pastures nourished by abundant aquifers, ensuring year-round access to irrigated and native grasslands for the fortunate equines that call this haven home.

Lori has been riding since she can walk and switched from cutting horses to jumping horses 14 years ago. She has been enjoying competing in the jumper arenas and just recently added breeding to her life-long love affair with horses. She has developed a meticulous breeding program that emphasizes quality over quantity. As a warmblood breeder, her focus is to produce the ultimate talent with amateur-friendly temperaments that will shine in the show ring. She is selecting the best stallions in the world and carefully matches them to her broodmares that possess outstanding pedigrees and exceptional performance records. She has bred her top performance sporthorse mares to stallions she has selected, and now has her first foal crop from some of the best bloodlines in the world, showing incredible character and offering limitless potential. She is looking forward to presenting the youngsters at the KWPN, Hanoverian, and possibly Oldenburg GOV keurings this year.

Lori’s equestrian journey began as soon as she could walk, starting with cutting horses. However, 14 years ago, she made a switch to jumping horses and found her true passion. Competing in the jumper arenas has brought her immense joy, and recently she decided to expand her horizons by venturing into the world of horse breeding.

With a lifelong dedication to horses, Lori has crafted a meticulous breeding program that prioritizes quality above all else. As a warmblood breeder, her primary goal is to produce exceptional talent combined with amateur-friendly temperaments that will excel in the show ring.

To achieve this, Lori carefully selects the finest stallions from around the world and pairs them with her broodmares, which boast outstanding pedigrees and impressive performance records. Through this thoughtful matchmaking process, she has successfully bred her top performance sporthorse mares with internationally renowned stallions.

Now, Lori is thrilled to welcome her first foal crop, representing some of the most prestigious bloodlines in the world. These foals display remarkable character and demonstrate boundless potential. She eagerly anticipates showcasing these promising youngsters at the KWPN, Hanoverian, and Oldenburg GOV keurings this year.

Last year, Tim Forster and his wife Lauren Ogden, both successful horse trainers, joined Lori’s team at Asunción Valley Farm. Lori was looking for a new trainer for her farm and Tim and Lauren were looking to relocate back to California after working in New Mexico and a short time in Florida. Lori and Tim were friends from years ago having met over in Germany at a horse show. The timing was perfect and the synergy for the three has been a successful venture with positive results in the many facets of their combined businesses.

At Asunción Valley Farm, the perfect environment is created for breeding, training, and even retirement options. The farm boasts an impressive range of amenities, with one of the standout features being their ability to produce 85% of their own hay, including both grass and grain hays. This self-sufficiency ensures a consistent source of forage, allowing for minimal variations in the horses’ diets.

To maintain the horses’ optimal mental and physical well-being, they are provided with ample turnout in irrigated grass pastures and spacious sand paddocks. This practice is crucial in keeping the horses in their best condition. Additionally, training outside of traditional arenas is emphasized, utilizing a flat track spanning 0.80 miles and a challenging hill track. These tracks are specifically designed to enhance the horses’ strength and power and overall condition. Moreover, this outdoor training provides a much-needed mental respite from the confines of arena work.

Farm owner Lori Johnston was bothered that too many horses spend the majority of their time in small stalls and don’t get to move. At her farm, horses live like horses should in large pastures and have fewer lameness problems, don’t become cribbers, and avoid ulcers. The horses at Asunción Valley Farm thrive in the ideal biosphere Lori has created and they are happy and level-headed equines, and it shows when they go to the competition ring.

The training arena at Asunción Valley Farm is an impressive 300 x 200 square feet, equipped with GGT footing (German Geo Textile), as well as a sub-irrigation ebb and flow watering and drainage system. The arena never requires manual watering and efficiently drains within 2-3 hours, even after heavy rainfall.

Asunción Valley Farm is the ideal setting for breeding, and training, and also offers retirement options. The farm amenities are extensive with the top of the list being their capacity to grow 85% of their own hay (both grass and grain hays) which ensures a continuous source of forage with very few variations in the horses’ diets.

Having the horses turned out to irrigated grass pastures, and large sand paddocks is one of the important keys to keeping them mentally and physically at their best. Training outside of arenas on the .80-mile flat track and a rigorous hill track to build the horse’s hindquarters for
strength and power in their various disciplines is another plus for the horse and a much-needed mental break from arena work.

The training arena is 300 x 200 sq ft, with GGT footing (German Geo Textile) and a sub-irrigation ebb and flow watering and drainage system. There is never any need to water it, and it drains within 2-3 hours, max, even after the heaviest downpour. They have a 60 ft round pen, and a 6 horse oval covered Kraft Werks Eurocizer. For post-workouts, they offer a Theraplate with solarium lights which can also be used for horses that are rehabbing.

The main barn has (8) 12×16 stalls, and one 12×12 stall, with paddocks off of them. All stalls have ComfortStall padding, the same stall liners New Bolton University & Rood & Riddle Vet Clinic use.

From the ground up, the horses’ mental and physical well-being is the farm’s primary goal, and so far, the horses in their care have given them very positive feedback – they can perform at the top levels of their sport, yet they are also allowed to come home to the farm and live like horses.

Currently, Asunción Valley Farm is accepting clients for both consignments and training. They specialize in show jumping and dressage as well as early education. The farm has a show schedule following the ‘A’ circuit on the West Coast, a dressage team attending competitions regularly, and hosting well-known clinicians.

Consignment horses are also welcomed into the farm’s sales program and their team can provide all of the marketing services to place your horse in a top-notch home.

Asunción Valley Farm is located at: 2958 Templeton Rd., Templeton, CA 93465. Email or call (805) 610-3054. Websites:,, and