Horse Owners Faced with Steep Rise in Fees at Gibson Ranch

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ELVERTA -- If horses are integral to Gibson Ranch, and Gibson Ranch is integral to the identity of Sacramento County, why are so many horses leaving?

"The maintenance is not done. We've have a shelter blown down that's never been fixed. The horse has no shade. So he's charging for full care and not providing full care," horse owner Gennifer Gonzales said.

Gonzales estimates nearly two dozen horses are leaving. She's already moved her horse out of Gibson Ranch, citing hostile management and deteriorating facilities coupled with a steep rise in fees.

"For the pasture that I was in, I was paying $310, it went up to $395," she said.

Former Sacramento Congressman Doug Ose has the contract to manage Gibson Ranch but he's been having trouble turning a profit on it, citing losses of $60,000 in 2016.

"We've been losing money on the equine side of things and were fixing it," Ose said. "There's no way that county can continue to subsidize it, and there's no way I'm going to subsidize the pleasure these people get from their horses."

Ose says Gibson Ranch needs to change if it is to stay open.

"I think the ability to deliver a place where folks can come where it's clean, it's safe, you don't see any homeless people around here,the grounds are maintained (is doable)," Ose said.

But some horse owners say they don't feel welcome in that vision for the park.

"(Ose) basically said, 'If you don't like it, leave,'" Gonzales said. "And so that's what people are doing."

As part of his contract with Sacramento County, Ose must have some horses boarded here. Whether that number will decrease from the number here now is unclear.