Bronze horse greets motorists in Bonita!

Earlier this year, a life-size bronze horse sculpture debuted in front of the Greg Cox Civic Complex in Bonita. I saw it for the first time when I walked down Bonita Road last weekend.

The horse sculpture has the unusual title WR This Cats Smart. It’s the name of an actual stallion. An identical sculpture can be found at a ranch in Douglas, Wyoming. The nationally renowned Western artist is Mehl Lawson.

San Diego County has one of the largest per capita populations of horses in the United States. I’ve read that at one time there were more than 1300 horses in Bonita. You can still them today in Rohr Park and in corrals throughout the residential hills. Many streets have names that are related to horses.

I took photographs of this beautiful public art and would like to share them.

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Stagecoach ride at the Warner-Carrillo Ranch House!

Today I had the opportunity to experience something amazing in Warner Springs.

Once a year, at the Warner-Carrillo Ranch House, people can ride an authentic stagecoach a short distance down an actual, historic stage line route!

Such a ride can be experienced nowhere else in the entire country!

I purchased a ticket for a stagecoach ride a couple weeks ago before it sold out, then drove up to the Warner-Carrillo Ranch House in Warner Springs this morning to enjoy the short but memorable adventure!

Warner’s Ranch back in the 19th century was a swing stop for the Butterfield Overland Mail stage line. According to the event website, “The Butterfield Overland stage transported thousands of passengers across the United States years prior to the Civil War as California’s first regular overland stage connection with St. Louis.

Travelers, packed elbow to elbow in solidly-built, relatively “elegant” Concord Coaches, would stop at the ranch house to rest and stretch their legs and sore bodies for a few minutes while new horses were brought up from the nearby barn. Passengers could buy useful items in the ranch’s one-room trading post before resuming their dusty, bumpy journey.

This afternoon I and other excited passengers got to actually experience a few minutes of that dusty, very bumpy overland journey!

If you live in Southern California, or plan to visit, I highly recommend going on this once-every-year stagecoach ride. You’ll also enjoy an in-depth tour of the Warner-Carrillo Ranch House, which is operated by the Save Our Heritage Organisation. SOHO’s mission in San Diego County is the “preservation of architecturally and historically significant structures, sites, and cultural landscapes.”

Okay! You want to see what the ride is like? Here we go!

Approaching the entrance of the historic Carrillo Ranch House at Warner’s Ranch, a National Historic Landmark.
I arrived early and will be on the first ride of the day. But no horses yet.
Here they come!
Two beautiful horses will pull the genuine Concord Coach, which is owned by the Save Our Heritage Organisation. I believe I heard the horses are Clydesdales. (UPDATE! I see on the SOHO website these were Belgian Draft horses.)
Another passenger waits as the horses are hooked up.
I’m pretty sure they didn’t have aluminum ladders like this a century and a half ago!
American eagle on side of the historic red Concord Coach, with E. Pluribus Unum.
Four passengers will sit inside the coach for this short journey.
Here’s my ticket!
We managed to squeeze into the small coach and here we go!
Looking at the countryside beyond an outside stagecoach lantern.
Looking out the other window at oak trees.
Were going down the actual historic stage route. It’s dusty and bumpy! A few sudden lurches took me by surprise–like some sort of amusement park ride!
Mountains and cattle in the distance.
I did say dusty!
What’s this? Armed robbers!
The stagecoach driver threw down the Army payroll. The passengers got off easy.
We are allowed to continue back to our stage stop.
Yes, the experience is fun!
It’s over far too soon.
Another group of passengers is ready to go!
There they go!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Three painted Breeders’ Cup horses in Del Mar!

The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships was held yesterday and today at the Del Mar Racetrack. So I decided to enjoy a walk through Del Mar Village on this beautiful, sunny Saturday!

What did I see?

I spotted three colorfully painted horse sculptures that were created in 2017 when the Breeders’ Cup was last held in Del Mar! That past public art project was called Art of the Horse.

The three horses now on display stand near the intersection of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street.

Two of the three life-size horses I hadn’t seen previously. To view past photographs of several more painted horses, you can click here and here and here!

(Thank you to two friendly members of the Rotary Club of Del Mar for their kindness in helping me solve a mystery. They were stationed by the sidewalk at Del Mar Plaza, offering information to out-of-towners visiting Del Mar during the Breeders’ Cup.)

Sea Horse. Created by artist Wyland.
Hang On To Your Hats! Created by artist Daphne Gaylord.
Triton’s Steed. Created by artist Chase Martin.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Old farming street art in Nestor.

During my recent adventure in Nestor I was surprised to find an abundance of street art. As I walked west along Tocayo Avenue and north up Hollister Street to Leon Avenue, I kept spotting electrical boxes painted with farm imagery.

Nestor is a quiet residential community in San Diego’s South Bay. Before urban development covered the landscape with asphalt streets lined with houses, Nestor was mostly farmland. I believe this street art is a tribute to those olden days.

As I walked along, it seemed that goats, cows and horses, and wildlife in wide open spaces, had emerged from the brush by the sidewalk.

The only artist signature I could find appears to indicate David Williams, 2009. It was painted on the wall mural at the corner of Hollister and Leon that features a wide view of an old farm.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Fun street art on Main Street in Ramona!

Yesterday I arrived in Ramona in the morning, a couple hours before the start of the Ramona Country Fair.

I parked near the McDonald’s on 16th Street and walked east up Main Street to around 4th Street, watching for the many H.E.A.R.T. murals that have been painted in Ramona’s downtown. I found many and will be sharing those photographs before too long!

I also spotted a beautiful sculpture and an interesting historical building, but I’m not posting those photos quite yet, either.

Today I’d like to share photographs of painted street art that decorates electrical boxes along and near Main Street! You can find artist names in a couple of the images.

I probably missed other colorful boxes, but you might enjoy the ones I found!

As you might guess, this street art was next to Ramona’s public library. Book titles on the painted shelves reflect unique aspects of this rural community.

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Coronado 4th of July parade honors American heroes.

Coronado’s huge Independence Day parade returned this year! The parade’s theme for 2021 was A Salute To America’s Heroes.

Late this morning I walked along Orange Avenue and took photographs of the patriotic spectacle.

The 4th of July Parade was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroes honored in this year’s parade included healthcare workers, essential workers and ordinary Americans–all those who sacrificed to help our nation through a very difficult period.

I’ve blogged about this epic annual parade several times in the past, with photo captions that provide detailed information. Today I’ll simply offer a glimpse of what I experienced.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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New lights, new life for historic carousel!

Last October I noticed the Balboa Park Carousel was undergoing renovation during the park’s COVID-19 pandemic closure. You can read what I wrote and see those photos here.

Today I was walking past this historic 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel when I noticed one side of its enclosure was open and lights were on inside. So I approached the structure to sneak a peek.

And I saw the same Armored Horse that I saw before! But now it’s painted more completely–and beautifully!

I also spoke to William “Bill” Brown, who has been operating and tending this historic carousel since 1972. He was carefully painting an intricate part of the wooden horse.

It’s apparent Bill absolutely loves what he does. You can read it in his eyes and smile.

He showed me how an earlier “model” of a hand-carved Herschell-Spillman Armored Horse appeared. You can see with that particular model the sculptural detail and the color scheme was quite different.

Bill also showed me how additional lights have been installed on the carousel!

The 1910 carousel had originally been designed to feature more lights, but too many electrical lights constituted a fire hazard, so many had not been installed.

In the next photo you can see two lights on either side of the carved head, just above the oval mirrors. For a hundred years there were two holes and no lights. That has changed!

That’s because all of the carousel lights are now safer, more energy efficient LEDs. New fixtures not only brighten the upper part of the outer framework, but the interior part of the carousel as well!

When the Balboa Park Carousel’s renovation is finally complete, it will be brighter and more colorful than ever!

To learn more about this carousel, which was built in New York, and which had been installed at Tent City in Coronado before moving to Balboa Park in 1922, click here!

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California Harmony racehorse art in Solana Beach!

Here’s another great Art of the Horse piece created back in 2017 for the Breeders’ Cup, which was held that year at the Del Mar Racetrack. This sculpture, a life-size replica of the Breeders’ Cup trophy, is titled California Harmony. It’s by artist Tish Wynne.

Painted on the racehorse are colorful coastal scenes full of crashing waves, running horses, birds, flowers and ocean wildlife. You can find California Harmony in Solana Beach, on Highway 101 in front of The Boardwalk retail and office complex, a bit south of Estrella Street.

Several years ago I photographed five other Art of the Horse fiberglass sculptures. (There were 20 unique pieces painted for the Breeders’ Cup.) You can see those horses here and here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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A video about Old Town’s Favorite Horse.

Painting of Dick Miller riding Codi in front of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, by artist Miguel Chavez. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

I’ve been informed there’s a Ken Kramer “About San Diego” video on YouTube that concerns Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse!

You can watch the short video here.

To see several old photographs of Codi, and learn more about a horse that many in San Diego loved, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Paint and love for the Balboa Park Carousel!

I saw today that the Balboa Park Carousel is receiving new paint and some much deserved love!

The historic 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel has been out of operation for most of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the idle time is being well spent. The Friends of Balboa Park have already applied new coats of paint to various elements of their carousel, including much of the structural framework that holds the wooden horses and other carved animals.

You can see in the second-to-last photo how recently painted parts of the Armored Horse like the saddle appear brand new. All of the animals will get the same treatment!

Want to read some Fun Facts concerning this carousel? Visit this page!

I’m told the Balboa Park Carousel will reopen eventually–the timing depends on the future course of the coronavirus pandemic in San Diego.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!