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When the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation heard that their former board member and Santa Barbara resident, Kathryn Masson, had written a spectacular book, they decided that it should be celebrated. They invited the author, who now lives in Virginia, to be the guest of honor at a party in the courtyard of the Casa de La Guerra. Joining Kathryn was “The Man Who Listens to Horses” Monty Roberts, to whom the beautiful Rizzoli book was dedicated.

As you may know, the party site, Casa de la Guerra, was built back in 1820. It was the hub of social, cultural and political life when Santa Barbara was still a pueblo. It was built by the last Comandante of the Presidio of Santa Barbara, Jose de la Guerra. This gentleman, who fathered 13 children, was the great, great-grandfather of our own Valley resident Chuck King.

Just next door is the Oreña adobe, which was the home of Chuck King’s great-grandmother. Chuck and Bill King and their cousins, the five Rickard brothers, all still own percentages of the Oreña adobe. Lompoc ranching families the Poets and Diblees are also cousins of this historic family.

When the Stables book was being written, we had the fun of helping Kathryn find lovely stables in the Valley and she fell in love with Om El Arab, which is also pictured in her flyers. She greatly enjoyed Jim and Linda Grimm’s cowboy museum and, because of his worldwide work with training horses, Kathryn included Flag Is Up Farm and dedicated her book to Monty.

Kathryn and her amazing photographer, Paul Rocheleau, traveled across America to capture some of the most historic and beautifully designed stables, horse barns and tack rooms imaginable. They run from the early 1900s to the present day and it’s one of those “I can’t put it down books.” This is especially true if you’re a horse person or love country buildings. After the Civil War, the gentry of America was not only feeling a deep gratitude for horses, but they wanted to build them the finest of accommodations.

You’ll see magnificent stables in the hunt country of Virginia, where a dining room is so close that the horses can be brought right in to greet the guests. There are log barns in Moose, Wyoming and modern horse facilities in Napa, Calif., for dressage horses. There’s a veritable Versailles for Thoroughbred horses in Kentucky. In Colorado there are weathered barns and horse-drawn wagons. This book takes you on an exciting trip.

After the Casa de la Guerra courtyard party with wines and incredible hors d’oeuvres from Fire and Ice, we all trotted over to the Lobero Theatre for Monty’s part of the evening’s program. His presentation was composed of film clips augmented by his personal memories and observations. It was both inspiring and poignant.

This young cowboy from Salinas became a world-recognized horse trainer and speaker who virtually changed how horses are introduced to serving humans. He continually travels the world with his Join-Up message and one of his main supporters is Queen Elizabeth of England. He’ll be making his 30th visit to the Queen next month.

Traveling from the Santa Ynez Valley were Sandy Collier, Joel and Charlotte Baker, Neil and Karla Zuehle, and Mike McCormack of Carriage Club fame. Pat Dixon visited with Karen and Si Jenkins of Jedlicka’s Saddlery. Also present were noted Santa Barbara resident Kellam de Forest, whose father was the famous landscaper Lockwood de Forest Jr., and Elizabeth Stewart, who has a radio program on AM1290 KZSB called Arts and Antiques from 10-11 a.m. Fridays.

The Chairman of the event Art Najera, Kendra Rhodes and Jared Brach from the Trust, welcomed the guests. Included in the throng of company were Monty’s daughter Debbie Loucks, Linda Millner (columnist for the Montecito Journal), Bud and Linda Stewart, Bill Jackson, Patricia Gebhard, Hilo Nick-Theiser, Vie Obern, Steve and Lil Penner, Bernard St. Croix, Clint and Linda Weisman, Bill and Kay Van Horn, John and Linda Petersen, Jack Theimer, Brett and Natalie Hodges, Dick and Marilyn Mazess, and Michael and Rachel Bishar. Kathryn’s next book will be “Houses of Old California.”