In the lush green hills of Coronado, northeast of San José, the picturesque Rancho Sacramento welcomes guests to 27 acres of property dedicated to horses.
The ranch is home to some 34 horses – 24 owned by the ranch and 10 belonging to clients who rent stalls – of the American quarter horse and American paint horse breeds, says owner Jorge Muñoz, 50, a member of the American Quarter Horse Association.
Rancho Sacramento offers a variety of services including stall rentals, horse breeding and space rental for private events such as birthday parties, weddings and staff outings. Stalls rent for $300 per month, including food, exercising the horse and grooming.
The ranch also offers equine-assisted therapy, which helps heal people through interaction with horses. Muñoz says the practice can help children with attention deficit disorder, autism and Down syndrome.
“There’s a psychological connection between the animal and the patient,” Muñoz says. “There is something scientific and very special. And that helps children a lot.”
Many children in Costa Rica and around the world have been able to recover their self-esteem and speaking abilities as a result of equine-assisted therapy, says Gloriana Salazar, Rancho Sacramento’s equine therapist. Sometimes people with no problems use the therapy just to feel better, she adds.
The ranch has an outdoor arena – called a picadero in Spanish – on a 90-by-70-meter plot for horse training and competitions. The space holds 400 people. There is also a 15-by-15-meter round pen where horse auctions are held. Last year, the ranch held five auctions, Muñoz says. Horses generally sell for between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the market. Owners pay ₡10,000 ($20) to submit a horse, plus 10 percent of the sale price, if the animal is sold.
The round pen and surrounding area can be rented for private events. Rancho Sacramento can provide music, food, wine and tables upon request. The idea of the round pen, Muñoz explains, is to have a western-style, rustic space for guests. It contains a gallery where up to 80 people can view the auctions and other events.
The ranch also has an enclosed room for talks or other events. It includes Wi-Fi, centralized audio, a white board, chairs and even pool and foosball tables. Muñoz says the space has been rented by veterinarians and diplomats.
Muñoz is also constructing a Texan-style restaurant at the farm, which he expects will be ready in July.
In addition to the 34 horses, the ranch is home to 38 dairy cows and a handful of pigs. The rolling hills of the surrounding area are green and cool year-round, making the ranch a desirable spot for city dwellers to escape the concrete and noisy atmosphere of the city.
Rancho Sacramento also hosts events open to the public, such as the “Equestrian Fantasy” set for tomorrow, April 9, starting at noon. Guests can take in a horse exhibition, an escaramuzas horsemanship and rodeo riding show, live music and flamenco dancing, as well as food and other attractions. Admission costs ₡3,000 ($6) for adults and ₡1,500 ($3) for kids.
Rancho Sacramento is four kilometers from downtown Coronado. From the Coronado church, go 800 meters east on the road to Las Nubes, until you see the Pulpería La Finca on the left. Continue east 1 km to Finca Los Jaúles, go 400 m uphill and turn left at the Escuela Manuel María Gutiérrez. Go 2 km more on the road to Choco. The entrance to Rancho Sacramento is on the left.
For more information, call 2229-9972, 2224-9010 or 8384-2013, or visit www.rancho-sacramento.com.