Horse Life: Travel to Paso Robles, California - Horse&Rider

Where: Paso Robles, California

What: NRCHA Paso Robles Derby

Paso Robles Derby

Surrounded by more than 200 wineries and situated in the heart of reined cow horse country, families attend the Paso Robles Derby to watch 4- and 5-year-old horses compete at the top of their game for juicy paychecks. “Most of these horses have competed at the Snaffle Bit Futurity; they’re fresh, yet know their jobs and have so many great years ahead of them,” shares National Reined Cow Horse Association communications manager Stephanie Duquette.

A young rider on a reigning horse during the NRCHA Paso Robles Derby in Paso Robles, California.

The Facts: $122,500 | Amount of total added money that’s up for grabs in the limited-age event.

Horses relaxing looking out of their stalls.

The derby offers nine divisions, giving riders of all levels the chance to compete, and the venue sits a half hour away from the ocean.

The added money and beautiful scenery aren’t the only things that draw riders from all over the country to this event. The family-friendly atmosphere is one of the main reasons exhibitors such as Brad and Mindy Barkemeyer attend year after year. “It’s such a family-oriented show,” Mindy shares. “Everyone is so supportive of each other in the pen, and the exhibitor parties allow everyone to relax afterward.”

A map of places to visit around Paso Robles, California.

Don’t Miss This

explore.

Drive 40 minutes to the coast to tour 1. Hearst Castle; you might even catch a glimpse of some zebras in the pasture. On your way back to the fairgrounds, stop by 2. San Simeon and observe the elephant seals that are known to frequent the area.

eat.

A crowd favorite for exhibitors after a long day is the 3. Firestone Walker Taproom where you can grab a craft beer with a nice dinner. Or enjoy some fresh fish at 4. The Naked Fish. For dessert, walk across the street from the fairgrounds to 5. Margie’s Diner and order an old-fashioned malted milkshake.

do.

Saddle up with 6. Hanging Heart Ranch to experience Paso Robles wine country from the back of a horse at 7. Pomar Junction Winery and Vineyard. After you’ve completed your guided tour of the wine vineyard, don't forget to partake in the complimentary wine-tasting.

Horse&Rider orange star.

Seasoned Competitors

The CD Survivor Memorial Open Bridle Spectacular, a crowd favorite at the Paso Robles Derby, honors the seasoned horses that are at the pinnacle of their careers and showcases what a finished reined cow horse can do.

For more information visit nrcha.com/nrcha-derby/.

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