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There were three people closest to Seabiscuit: his owner Charles S. Howard, jockey Red Pollard and trainer Tom Smith who were transformed and uplifted from a place of hurt to a place of hope and healing. We  will show that part of history, the celebrities surrounding them and how there are similarities today that continue on at the Home of Seabiscuit, Ridgewood Ranch.  We hope you’ll join us  and follow us on our year-long endeavor as the story unfolds.


Former VP Mondale Signs Release for Seabiscuit’s Legacy Film Trailer!

Former Vice President Walter Mondale (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

Former Vice President Walter Mondale
(Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, in a show of support today, signed a release to use footage taken of him during the Seabiscuit stamp dedication at Ridgewood Ranch in 2004. We will use this in our new promotional trailer, and possibly in the film. We’ll be finalizing trailer over the next week.

This is very good news as we head into pitching Seabiscuit’s Legacy at the American Film Market event in Santa Monica next month, and then attending the Napa Valley Film Festival right after that.


Our New Fiscal Sponsor: the International Documentary Association!

ida_primarylockup_whiteWe just received news that the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles will be our new fiscal sponsor. We’re very honored that the people in this organization, who are heavyweights in the film industry, have accepted us. You can see from their bios below that this is a serious organization in the film industry.

Not only can we now begin accepting tax-deductible donations, but we get the tremendous support this organization provides as our sponsor.

They have workshops, theatrical screenings, and even an event where documentaries that are shown have a chance to be considered for the Academy Awards. We’re looking forward to the day that Seabiscuit’s Legacy wins that Oscar!

Wouldn’t that be nice?

The Healing Horse-Human Connection and Emotional Bond

Did you know that there are scientific facts which support the healing horse-human connections? Studies conducted by the Institute of HeartMath show scientifically how “healing” and a “sense of wellness and peace” happens between horse and human through the electromagnetic field that emanates from the horse’s heart.

According to these studies, the electromagnetic field projected by the horse’s heart is stronger and five times larger than the human one.  Their “coherent” heart rhythm (heart rate pattern or HRV) creates a system that can efficiently recover and adjust to stressful situations.

People experience the emotional bond and physiological benefits while interacting with horses. Scientific research shows lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain surppressors), and decreased stress levels. They can feel reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, and improved social functioning. No wonder horse therapy works.

In the “Alchemy of Lightness” (Trafalgar Square Books), researchers Dominique Barbie & Dr. Maria Katsamanis describe “What Happens Between Horse and Rider on a Molecular Level And How It Helps Achieve the Ultimate Connection.” It’s an “ambitious study of the interplay of mechanisms put in motion when man & horse meet, communicate, & ultimately become one.”

Barbie & Katsamanis talk about how “a ‘mental contract’ needs to exist between horse and rider” which can be “entered into after we have found a place of physical comfort for the horse.

When that mental contracts exists, a person can then ask the horse “Do you want to dance with me?”

Red Pollard's bond with Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit & jockey Red Pollard

Seabiscuit & trainer Tom Smith

Seabiscuit & trainer Tom Smith

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Equine therapy at Ridgewood Ranch, Home of Seabiscuit

Trainer Tom Smith and jockey Red Pollard were able to achieve this type of mental contract with Seabiscuit, a bond which healed all 3 for both Pollard and Smith were suffering in their own ways. Once the mishandled race horse was able to relax and connect with humans, he went on from being an angry, stubborn and lazy horse to win and uplift the hearts of millions broken by the Great Depression.

In our documentary Seabiscuit’s Legacy, we’ll show how that healing horse-human connection existed then and how that continues today at Ridgewood Ranch, Home of Seabiscuit. There, an equine therapy program by the Ridgewood TRAIL Riders helps heal and uplift disadvantaged children and war veterans.

15-year old Frank Howard dies in tragic auto accident on the ranch

15-year old Frank Howard dies in tragic auto accident on the ranch


Seabiscuit & owner Charles Howard

In the film, we’ll take a look at the suffering Charles Howard endured after the tremendous loss of his 15 year-old son Frank who died in an auto accident at the ranch.

After that, Howard turns from his love of the automobile (which built his wealth) to horse racing.He empties the barns of his racecars, installs Seabiscuit, and the legend (and Howard’s healing) begins.


Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, Willits, early shot with few trees

Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital opens in 1927.

New Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital opening Fall 2015.

New Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital opens Fall of 2015.

We’ll also portray how the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits began in 1927, how it has been a source for healing, and it will continue with the opening this fall of the brand new $65M Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital not far from the current location.

Follow us as we complete the film throughout the next year as we move from the current development phase through to release at film festivals around the world, and then into theaters and through online distribution. A percentage of the film’s proceeds will benefit T.R.A.I.L., the Frank R. Howard Foundation, and the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation which maintains the Seabiscuit legend through their conservation and preservation efforts at Ridgewood so that the legend lives on.seabiscuit heritage foundation logo

You can help us achieve this by contributing to the development of the film.



“Claws for a Cause” Ridgewood Event Benefits Equine Therapy Program



logo-ridgewood-trail-v (1)On September 5, 2015 at Ridgewood Ranch, Home of Seabiscuit, you can feast on claws for a wonderful cause: Ridgewood T.R.A.I.L., an equine therapy program for disadvantaged children and war veterans in Mendocino County. “CLAWS FOR A CAUSE” is a Louisiana style lobster dinner with silent and live auctions, a 50/50 raffle, and dancing.

The event will be held will be held on the Howard House lawn at Ridgewood Ranch of Hwy 101 South of Willits, 3 hours North of San Francisco. The historic Howard House was built by Charles S. Howard, Seabiscuit’s owner, who lived in it from the 1920s to the 1940s.



The event was started by Stephanie Morgan in honor of her son Landon who was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at the age of 5, and is being hosted by the Willits & Ukiah Rotary Clubs. All proceeds from the night get donated to the foundation.

BUY TICKETS: Online or at Willits Furniture Center, 775 Central Ave. in Willits (707-459-4224) & The Mendocino Book Company, 102 S. School St. in Ukiah (707-468-5940.)

Claws for A Cause

Claws for A Cause

Equine therapy volunteer Ashley

Equine therapy volunteer Ashley

BE AN EVENT SPONSOR: contact Willits Rotarian Mike Smith 707-972-2471 or Ukiah Rotarian Beth Schwarz 707-391-7049.

Our film proceeds will benefit Ridgewood T.R.A.I.L.Riders Association, along with the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, and the new Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital opening this Fall (info about the new hospitalhere.) Seabiscuit’s Legacy is an inspirational feature documentary coming in 2017 which will convey how the little racehorse’s indomitable, against-all-odds spirit lives on at Ridgewood and through the T.R.A.I.L. program participants.

In this trailer you will see a couple of the young participants, and Ashley, one of T.R.A.I.L.’s young volunteers.


Veterans Get Healing Horse Therapy Thanks to Canadian Government


And, here’s an August 2014 article about horses & therapy from Health Pet: Horses – The Soothing Large Animal You May Never Have Considered.