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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / THOUSAND OAKS

Kids Learn Bit of Horse Sense on Ranch Visit

April 09, 1998|JOEL P. ENGARDIO

Wednesday was a day on the ranch and away from the TV for about 60 young residents of Many Mansions' housing projects on spring break from school.

The kids, ages 7 to 16, learned how to lasso a steer and clean, saddle and ride a horse at Two Winds Ranch in Thousand Oaks.

After a barbecue lunch served up by Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael Bradbury, everyone but the teenagers went wild for a surprise Easter egg hunt.

After the children were told about the eggs and candy hidden around the ranch, there was a round of screams and the hunt was on. Kids climbed through the fence surrounding the rodeo arena and scrambled around the gravel looking for goodies.

Two Winds Ranch hosts kids from Many Mansions twice a year, at Easter and Christmas, providing fun and food.

"This is about keeping these kids from meeting Mr. Bradbury professionally; that's our goal," said Alvin "Bully" Caddin, operator of the ranch.

Bradbury, who helped pay for the event, said he rides his horses at Two Winds and supports the outreach Caddin has made to less fortunate kids in Thousand Oaks.

"It's important we have alternatives for kids on the edge. This lets them experience ranch life and learn responsibility," Bradbury said. "But Bully deserves the credit. He's a longtime good cowboy. I'm just out here flipping the burgers."

Most of the kids said if they weren't at the ranch, they would be bored at home watching television.

Armando Martin, 12, said he thought the food was the best part of his ranch visit.

"It's better out here than at home; it's from real cows, it's fresh," he said while stuffing his face with a hamburger. "And it's fun here, too. It's like the Wild West. You get to ride a horse, and that's totally better than riding a bike."

Armando's sister, 8-year-old Jennifer, said she liked grooming the horses.

"When you first brush a horse, it's disgusting, because the hair gets on you," Jennifer said. "But after you brush them, they are beautiful."

Santiago Reveles, 14, said he liked learning how to saddle a horse. He also wanted to thank Bradbury for making the visit possible--and something else.

"He makes great hamburgers," Santiago said.

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