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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 29
1932 - Highway 99 completed through Weldon Canyon, bypassing Ridge Route [story]
Hwy 99

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015

darrylmanzer0215I must have been about 11 years old when I first rode a horse into town from Pico Canyon. I remember I stopped to water the critter in a trough that was in the pasture about where the Ralph’s parking lot is today.

I don’t remember what horse I was on, but I wasn’t going anyplace too quickly and was just enjoying the day. I got off the horse to cross Highway 99, but there wasn’t much traffic that day, so once east of the highway, I mounted again and continued on down Lyons Avenue toward a friend’s house on Walnut Street.

It wasn’t all that unusual to see horses in Newhall back then. The Happy Valley area south of Lyons on Apple and Valley streets had many homes that had enough room for a horse or two.

Many of my friends had horses, too. We would ride over the fields that are now called Valencia.

For a time, I lamented the loss of what the Santa Clarita Valley had been, but now I think of those times fondly and without regret. There is one thing I really miss, and that is the lack of stops on Lyons and Highway 99 (now I-5). The traffic lights there are insane.

Someone wrote a comment on my recent commentary about the California High Speed Rail Boondoggle and called me a NIMBY. Well, I have to agree with that gentleman. I don’t want the high-speed railway in my backyard, his backyard or anyone’s backyard. Of course I’m a NIMBY advocate. Would you want to have to relocate for a railway that is doing nothing for our valley but disrupting things? (Remember: No matter what, they aren’t putting a station here.)

So I’m called a NIMBY, and a NIMBY I remain. Love the title. I’ll use it with honor.

Hey, speaking of honor, I see the Edwards billboards are still sitting right where they’ve always been. Seems like the contract with Edwards may have been contingent on getting all the other boards removed. The money to pay for the removal of the Edwards billboards was going to come from electronic billboard revenue. So now we keep all of the billboards. I love it when the billboard preservationists got everything they wanted. All of the old ugly billboards remain. Gee, thanks … I think.

Word has it, the same folks who defeated Proposition S to stop the billboard removal ordinance have now filed a complaint with the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission). Seem they want to complain after they have won. I just don’t get “sore winners.” Maybe they can post their gripes on one of the still existing Edwards billboards. Winners or whiners, they all seem the same to me in this case.

I might just be the first to complain if money from the city’s general fund has to be used to remove the Edwards billboards. We had a deal.

Got to love hindsight. Don’t you think so, too?

Back to horses. I still see some in Newhall once in a while. Folks like to ride through Heritage Junction and often leave us some fresh fertilizer for the various plants and trees. We get all of that without having to have a single politician come to visit. We are truly blessed in that way.

Back in the day when I rode into town, it seems nobody worried that the city kids were taking a short ride on a horse without a helmet or lessons or special riding attire. I’d ride in, and all of that could and did happen. Nobody got hurt that any of us remember. Sometimes I’d be doing something else as my horse would mow my friend’s lawn and maybe fertilize it a bit, too. A bucket of water, and back I would ride to Pico. It just wasn’t a big deal. There was a horse in town …so what?

This coming weekend, there will be a lot of horses in town. Politicians, too. Easy to tell the difference. See the horse’s head? Look at the other end and you can recognize most politicians. At least those in Washington, D.C. You’ll have to know a little “horse etiquette.”

First, ask if it is OK to pet or touch the horse. If the answer is yes, gently do so. The critter might want you to scratch its ears, too. If you must walk behind the horse, please keep a hand on it to let it know you are back there so it doesn’t get “spooked” and kick at you. Actually, I don’t recommend doing it at all, unless you know horses. The back of a horse can be somewhat political at times. Thus the resemblance to a politician.

Move slowly and use a soothing voice. Shrill, sharp sounds also tend to scare the critter.

Do that, and you should be safe around the horse.

Since during the Cowboy Festival there are a lot of horses around, please remember to look down as you walk to ensure you are spreading some fertilizer. It can also tend to make the ride to the parking lots a lot less smelly. City buses don’t need fertilizer, either.

Another long day tomorrow. Can hardly wait. The tents start going up and all kinds of other stuff will, too. Hart Park and Heritage Junction will once again be the Old West. See all y’all there.

If y’all aren’t coming, why, we might just have to gather up a posse and come get you. You’ll be missing some great things if you stay home.

Most of all, if you stay home, we’ll miss you. Come ride into town like I once did (use a car if you are without a horse) and visit a spell. I’d love to meet friends old and new. Come see me at the Junction. I’ll be wearing the big brown Stetson. Gray beard and brown vest.

The saloon will be open, and vittles, too. We’re ready.


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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  1. Rebecca says:

    I believe in horseback riding into town at a slow pace, there is a time and days for that. However, there is also a time to jump into the high speed rail age and it’s now. Maybe some people will have to move, let change move you. Having the High Speed Rail will do so much for so many people. Lessen the traffic of cars and those less fortunate to be able to travel on horseback. It will provide the physically handicapped with an ADA compliant transport choice. Please stop living in the past and welcome the future .

    • SCVNews.com says:

      There will be no depot in the Santa Clarita Valley. All it will “do for” us is uproot homes, destroy Native American archaeological sites and change our viewshed as we watch the trains go by.

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