On Sunday, a group of horseback riders moved serenely through the early morning glow of the rolling Castaic foothills in what easily could have been mistaken as a scene from a Spaghetti Western.
But the rider leading the pack wasn’t Clint Eastwood, nor was it John Wayne – it was Kathryn Barger.
Barger, Los Angeles County Supervisor from the 5th district, led the three-hour long trail ride that covered much of the upper perimeter of the lake in her “Barger’s Trail Blazers” showcase.
The ride began bright and early with a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast before hitting the paths.
Riders then traversed the multi-use trails that emanate from Pine Ridge Fire Road, perfecting their equestrian skills while being treated to panoramic views of the lake.
“Castaic Lake truly is a jewel,” Barger said. “This is the jewel of the county.”
Although this was Barger’s first time hosting the event, she was eager the continue the tradition forged by those who represented the district before her.
“This is something that [Supervisor Michael D.] Antonovich did throughout his career,” she said, citing her predecessor who represented the 5th District for 35 years. “It was something I wanted to continue.”
Much like Antonovich, Barger has an affinity for the county’s open spaces.
“The goal today is really to showcase the 200 miles worth of multiuse trails we have here in Los Angeles County,” she said.
Barger explained that these trails are open to all LA County residents, and can be found in the Santa Clarita Valley as well as the Antelope and San Gabriel Valleys.
In an effort to increase the accessibility of these locales, Barger and her staff are working to create metro lines that link residents in more urbanized areas to the idyllic foothills.
“We’re working with Metro to get to trails throughout the county. I want to market that a little more so that people understand that you can take the metro and get to trails throughout LA County,” she said. “La Verne, Santa Clarita – there’re opportunities everywhere.”
The morning concluded with a barbeque, live country music and, for those who rode all three hours, some sore muscles.
“I hope I encourage people to get out and ride with us,” Barger said.
“Because it really is good for the mind, and it’s good for the body.”
Information on the many local trails that cross Santa Clarita can be found at: https://trails.lacounty.gov/