December 2017 - Willowbrook Riding Club & Equestrian Center
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:44


Multi-faceted Palm Springs facility is the perfect place for horses to retire and people to ride, show, shop or relax on trail.

Yes, horses need to retire too, and what better place to do it than in a retirement Mecca on the grass in the Palm Springs area? The 40 acres of Willowbrook Riding Club and Equestrian Center are surrounded by open spaces with gentle hills off in the distance: horses like it here. The weather is some of the best on the planet -- most sunny days, 5.25” average annual rainfall, no snow. There’s an international airport in Palm Springs and the I 10 Freeway is 10 minutes away. It’s a wonderful place for a horse to relax and enjoy a well-deserved retirement in one of our private pasture suites.

Willowbrook is owned and run by the Franklin family. It offers boarding in the barn, mare motels and grass pastures. We feed Bermuda and alfalfa for our regular boarders and bring in specialty hay as required. We also feed various specialized supplements, arrange shoeing, veterinary care and transport as horses and clients require.

LoriLea Franklin, a California native, is the head honcho, a widely experienced horse woman, seasoned competitor and our chief riding instructor, horse show Mom, horse show organizer, hunter/jumper show course designer, arena groomer, grounds keeper … you name it! Husband Don is a retired military psychologist – a “recovering Canadian” – and four very handy Franklin children build and fix things, help out, feed, ride horses, compete and pick up the slack. We also have other helpers who ride, instruct, groom, feed, and get things done. It’s a busy place at times but has a nice relaxed atmosphere.

Willowbrook came into being in 1992. LoriLea and Don cleared it and built it as you see it today. There are five arenas, including a covered arena, a round pen and a hot walker. Horses stay in the bar with runs, pipe corrals of various sizes (mare motels) and grass pastures. We are surrounded by open space with miles of desert trails to ride. We also have a well-stocked tack and clothing store right on the premises.

We’ve held Willowbrook “Saddle Series” horse shows here for the past 25 years and attract riders from all over southern California. We design and run them and are sanctioned by IEHJA, OCHSA, GSDHSA and USHJA Outreach. We are mainly focused on hunter/jumper shows: attendance at Western shows has dropped off for the past few years so we just run them occasionally but still cater to western riding with students and boarders.

We have a wonderful group of students, boarders and parents who show at our shows, train and practice here and hang out with their horses. Some come back here every year from Canada and the East Coast (“snowbirds”) to enjoy our warm Palm Springs winter weather. And we attend outside horse shows as much as we can and take a group of our student competitors and parents with us (in fact, we’re excited to be going to the year-end IEHJA show in City of Industry in November).

We like horses and think they like us: we believe that horses become part of the family, and as such earn and deserve the best care and attention we can manage – when they’re ridden and perform, and when their performing days wind down. Then the prospect of a quiet pasture beckons. Got a senior citizen horse? That’s where retirement at Willowbrook comes in.

Come and join us if this sounds like you.

Article provided by Willowbrook Riding Club. For more information, visit or call 760-329-7676.