My relationship with horses has been tough since one of those four-legged creatures threw me into a pile of mud a couple of years ago in Costa Rica. Since that, I have been hesitant to ride a horse.
That doesn’t mean I have steered clear from those beautiful beasts. As a matter of fact, I became very excited with the idea of visiting the Quicksilver Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. This particular area has a long history of western traditions. I was able to observe cowboy style towns, horse ranches, and carriages.
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Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch
Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch has contributed to maintaining the area heritage but has also given a twist to the horse breeding business. The place is dedicated to breeding fine, miniature horses. Yes, you read right. Adorable horses roam among rolling hills, shady oaks, and perfectly planted vineyards.
If you take Alamo Pintado Road from Solvang towards Los Olivos, the ranch is easily spotted on the right side (ask for directions in Solvang’s visitors center). The best part is that you can get pretty close to the horses for free.
The ranch is not a petting zoo or amusement park. After parking inside the facilities, it is possible to walk around the pens and observe the horses. A lot of people stop on the street to take a look but I do not recommend this for security reasons. Walking around is not going to take long (unless you are with kids).
The pens are large. Therefore, the horses have plenty of space and shadow to move around and rest.
I wasn’t expecting to see that many horses (more than 50). What is more, the bigger pens were occupied by mares and their foals!
The foals were so cute and funny. They were twisting and turning into the ground like puppies. At all times, they were keeping their mothers in sight. One playful foal jumped around while his mother was flirting with a male in another pen.
The Santa Ynez Valley is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have visited. These little horses add another wonderful dimension to this already magical place. I recommend adding the ranch to your visit to Solvang or stopping by if you are going to Los Olivos.
Location and Access
Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch is located 2.8 miles from Solvang and 2.7 miles from Los Olivos. The ranch is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Visitors are allowed to observe the horses from a distance.
Solvang is located 35 miles from Santa Barbara, 70 miles from San Luis Obispo and 128 miles from Los Angeles.
By car, the town can be accessed through US-101 or CA-154. Both routes are scenic.
The closest airport and train station are located in Santa Barbara. If you arrive in the area by one of those methods, you will need to reach the Santa Inez Valley by rental car, public transportation or guided tours.
On 1911, a group of Danes (some of them educators) escaping the harsh Midwestern winters, founded the town on a land grant. They wanted to maintain their heritage and spread Danish culture. And, you know what? They have accomplished their goal. In 2011, Solvang celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The city is home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark. Museums showcase history, art, and culture. Folk traditions are celebrated during annual festivals. World famous plays are presented at the open air theater.
Even the Queen of Denmark has visited the city!!! If the town is good enough for the Royals, I guess we mere mortals can enjoy its many offerings.
More of Solvang
If you are spending some time in Solvang or visiting for a day, I recommend you take a look at my detailed article on Things to Do in Solvang.
If you need a bit more convincing to visit, here are two of my photo posts:
Solvang Pictures: The Danish Village of my Dreams
Solvang Images: A Piece of Denmark Close to Home
And, if you have a sweet tooth, do not miss the bakeries and shops recommended in this article:
Solvang Bakeries and Sweet Treats
The Santa Ynez Valley is full beautiful towns. Combining a visit to the Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch with Solvang and other towns in the area is a good idea.
Los Olivos – probably my favorite town in the valley. Find wine tasting rooms, gardens, and nice restaurants.
Santa Ynez – this is the cowboy town of the valley
Buellton – another small town with good restaurants and several tasting rooms
Lompoc – this town located 20 miles from Solvang is known for its flower fields, downtown murals, wine ghetto, and beaches.
More of Southern California
Find out how to spend one fun-filled day in Los Angeles
Get inspiration by reading my Los Angeles Ultimate Bucket List
Have you visited the Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch near Solvang? Have you see miniature horses before?
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