Seventy-five years ago, in 1940, legendary racehorse Seabiscuit and jockey Red Pollard overcame career-ending injuries to win the Santa Anita race that had twice defeated them and the largest purse in history: $100, 000.00. Today, that against-all-odds, indomitable spirit lives on at Ridgewood Ranch, the Home of Seabiscuit (Mendocino County, CA.)
Many physically, developmentally, socially and emotionally challenged individuals overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles thanks to a therapeutic riding program at the ranch called T.R.A.I.L. (Teaching Riding as an Access to Independent Learning.) One child afflicted with Cerebral Palsy said his first complete sentence while on a ride to a redwood grove on the ranch. Another avoided a prolonged and painful surgery because of the lengthening effect riding a horse had on his body. A wounded veteran learned to cope with PTSD through the bond with his horse.
Before he became the owner of Seabiscuit, Charles Howard overcame the overwhelming grief the loss of his 15-year old son Frank to help Doc Babcock build the first community hospital in 1927. Now, in 2015, a brand new Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital will open its doors thanks to the efforts of the Frank R. Howard Foundation.
And, because of conservation and preservation efforts by the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, buildings are being restored and the land preserved so that future generations will have an opportunity to visit the ranch where they too can be inspired by Seabiscuit’s legacy.