Armed Services YMCA San Diego




Horse of the Sun Ranch is a program of the Armed Services YMCA San Diego that provides an array of equestrian and respite activities. We are principally focused on healing the spirits of military families and at-risk youth.

Nestled in the foothills of the Cuyamaca Mountains, Horse of the Sun Ranch allows the opportunity to experience some of the most spectacular natural surroundings that Southern California has to offer.



28271 Old Hwy 80, Pine Valley, CA 91962









Current Program Offerings:


Horseback Riding School

Horsemanship is a key life skill that brings confidence to young people, stress relief to adults and invigoration to retirees. Whether you know a youngster who wants to ride or you're an adult who hasn't been on a horse in years, we can help.

We will offer children 5+ years old and adults of all abilities the opportunity to learn all the fundamentals of horseback riding and horse care under the careful guidance of our CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) expert instructors and experienced education horses. 

Our highly qualified, CHA-certified trainers offer individual horseback riding lessons based on YOUR availability!


Before you sign-up for the school, try a lesson! Meet our teachers, horses, and staff at your introductory Horse of the Sun Ranch lesson. 

Register Here


Ranch Days

Bring family, friends, or staff out for a day on the ranch!  Activities include horseback riding, archery, gardening, leathercraft, and more!

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Youth Equestrian Experience

This program allows children to travel to Horse of the Sun Ranch and participate in a variety of activities including horseback riding, feeding, and grooming horses, archery, gardening, hiking, and more!

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HorsePlay with Ziksana Consulting

HorsePlay is a 1/2 day or 1-day program designed to give leaders practical insights through the experience of “playing” with horses. Unlike people, horses provide instant feedback about whether or not they see us as leaders. Their reactions reflect how we’re showing up, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Working with horses requires us become clear, confident, and trustworthy in our approach, making us better leaders at work and in life. Come experience this one-of-a-kind training at Horse of the Sun Ranch in Pine Valley, California!

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Meet Our Horses

Interested in helping feed and nurture one of these wonderful horses? Be sure to click "Learn More" on each horses bio!



Building a relationship with a horse is an intensely uplifting and empowering experience for children and adults. 


-Enhances Social Relationships

-Learn to Recognize, Accept and Cope with His / Her Fear

-Fosters Feeling of Independence

-Enhances Comprehension and Memory Skills

-Teaches Anticipatory Response

-Restores and Enhances Self-Image and Confidence

-Improves Balance / Builds Muscle Strength




Cappy, short for Cappuccino, is a fifteen-year old dun Quarter Horse who is a jack of all trades and participates in every program at Horse of the Sun. His warm personality makes him very approachable to new and inexperienced riders. 

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Hank is the foundation of our youth and beginner programs and offers a steadfast mind. He is a fifteen year-old chestnut Quarter Horse with a flaxen mane and tail. As a big and strikingly handsome horse, the kids love him for his showiness.

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Little Moon

Little Moon

Little Moon was gifted to the ranch by the Cowboy clinician and roping guru, Bob King. At nineteen-years old, Moon is a mature and solid Quarter Horse. He enjoys being the center of attention especially when the kids get to finger-paint him.

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Tivio is a dark bay Quarter Horse. He has a great work ethic and is suitable for our experienced and inexperienced riders and even though he is sixteen years old, he really loves to work.


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Horse of the Sun Ranch is proud to be a member of the Certified Horsemanship Association. 


Horse photography by Monica Slack


Jo Joe

The newest addition to the ranch, Jo Joe is a fourteen-year old sorrel Quarter Horse. He has a positive and willing attitude, making him a joy to work with. He’s a been-there-done-that kind of horse with a lot of experience on a working ranch.

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The biggest horse on the ranch, Tonka is a bay Quarter Horse with an incredible work ethic.  His reliable nature makes him suitable for youth programs and his athleticism is perfect for trail riding, cattle work and all adults as well.

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Whether you are an individual, active duty military service member or group, we would love your help at Horse of the Sun Ranch!