"Bear Valley Springs Greenhorns club teaches people how to work cattle"
Agriculture is one of the defining industries of the Central Valley and Kern County is no different. The Greenhorns horse group in Bear Valley Springs is helping ranchers with agriculture.
"I think it's important to the Central Valley, because there [are] so many ranches around Bakersfield, [such as] cattle ranches," Greenhorns 2016 President Don McLaughlin said. "I think it's important to the culture of Bakersfield. It's got a country background to it and a ranching background to it, and so I think that's what our group is all about. It’s just keeping that tradition alive.”
When former ranch manager Brad Lundberg moved to Bear Valley Springs, he wanted to start a group that helped people work practically with their horses rather than competitively.
"Most of the cattle events are what we call game events," Lundberg said. "I wanted to see if we couldn't get a little more of a ranch aspect on it, so that if you were actually working for a rancher you wouldn't be fired the first day. You'd know how to get around the pen, how to handle cattle a little bit better, and how to position your horse. In other words, people go out and they try to learn how to put cattle in the pen or rope."
Lundberg says that Tehachapi through Bakersfield has a "rural ag atmosphere,” with many horses and ranchers.
"In the state of California, the cattle business is still big and strong and for anybody that's going to be involved in it, even just peripherally, if you're just going to go help a neighbor, you're part of that," Lundberg said. "When you put that all together in a big sum, it’s hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of livestock that you're involved with and it's a big part of not only this valley, but the entire state."
According to the California Agricultural Statistics Review, 2014-2015, the cattle business is "still big and strong" in California, with the state's total livestock products cash receipts at $15.3 billion in 2014, up 20% from 2013. California's gross value for livestock in 2014 was $4,688,776,000 and livestock products were $9,529,243,000, which comes to a total $14,218,019,000, according to California County Agricultural Commissioners' Reports 2014. Kern County's livestock gross value in 2014 was $428,854,000 and milk products were $915,124,000, the 2014 Kern County Agricultural Crop Report says.
In terms of the top ten crops in Kern County from 2014 milk, market and manufacturing was number three and cattle and calves was number five, according to the 2014 Kern County Agriculture Crop Report.
The group ranges in members ages thirteen years old to 80-year-old Thomas Gahagain.
"I was down at the Equestrian Center one day and I ran into Brad and he was telling me about the Greenhorns," Gahagain said. "So, I joined the Greenhorns and I've been with them ever since and it's a wonderful organization that teaches you horsemanship, cattle handling and different things like that."
Greenhorn’s president McLaughlin said exercising his body and mind and working with his horse is what brings him joy.
"I get a lot of gratitude out of it if I can do things correctly with the horse and see the horse do it right,” McLaughlin said.
The Greenhorns horse club in Bear Valley Springs is available to anyone of any age and experience, but you must be a Bear Valley resident and member of the horse club to join. But there are many horse clubs throughout Kern County that you can be a part of. For more information on the Greenhorns you can email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.