Ortega Mountain Ranch


Throughout human history, horses have been the most abused of all domestic animal species. They have been used as tools, transportation, beasts of burden, food, war machines, and sports equipment. They often have been thoughtlessly and cruelly abandoned or killed either during their primary use or afterward. “In the competitive equine industry horses are mostly used as commodities to earn people money, power and recognition – then when the horses are no longer able to “service” the human ego they are often abandoned (without gratitude) to sub-par living conditions or eventually slaughter”. ~ Marijke van de Water, B.Sc. (Clinical Nutrition), DHMS Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist, Homeopathic Practitioner, Medical Intuitive & Healer, Author

At Ortega Mountain Ranch, we offer a place for horses to live out their lives in comfort and safety, and we honor the people who care enough to give their horses a happy and healthy retirement.

Below are some comments from current and previous members of the Ortega Mountain Ranch family:



“We ended up at Ortega Mountain Ranch serendipitously. When my vet said it was time to retire my horse the thought of him moving out of my eyesight put a pit in my stomach. All I could envision was the big corrals with neglected horses. My vet suggested I contact Ortega Mountain Ranch. I immediately looked OMR up online and saw that it was different. I called, but unfortunately I was told that a space wouldn’t become available until September or so. I had them put me on a list and I moved my horse to a friend’s house in Newport’s Back Bay. The very next day I got a call from Laurra saying she had a spot open up and it was available now. I quickly rearranged plans and found myself the following day winding my way up the mountain road to Ortega Mountain Ranch, my horse’s forever home.

When we arrived, my horse, Tony, stepped out of the trailer sweaty and nervous. Laurra took his lead line, walked him around, talking to him, quietly reassuring him. Laurra seemed to figure out his personality quickly and Tony was put in a corner spot so he could watch the parade of the comings and goings of life. Sometimes he had free roam of the property, which I am sure he dearly loved because he was a bit of a snoop. He wasn’t particularly social, but he made a new friend, the little donkey in the pasture.

I made it up to visit him once to twice a year, but I always felt connected to him because of Laurra’s monthly newsletters, personalized notes about his goings on, and photos she included in her emails.

When he died I had no regrets about the kind of life I gave him at the end. It was a horse’s life. He had given me so much and now it was time for me to give him rest and relaxation. He had no cares, he had shelter, plenty of food, water and a stimulating environment thanks to Laurra and Kent. They get to know the horses, and their needs are met on a very personalized basis. They really care.

I was just looking at the last photos I have of Tony and me the summer he died. In the background I see the beautiful green mountainside and wildflowers. I remember the lovely cooling breeze that would flow through the ranch. I can only think of this place in terms of beauty, peace and the love that Kent and Laurra give to their horses. It must be hard for them to see these animals transition from life to death.

When I look up towards the mountain in the direction of OMR, I think about my horse. I miss him, but I am so thankful I gave him this wonderful home to live out his last few years. While he is physically gone, I do believe his spirit is up on that mountain with Laurra and Kent.”

K.S., Newport Beach, CA



“I really enjoy having my Morgan, Fletcher, living at Ortega Mountain Ranch.  Nine years ago, at age 25, Fletcher needed to quit being a trail horse.  I didn’t want him to spend his retirement in a small stall at the stables, so my veterinarian recommended Ortega Mountain Ranch.  For the last nine years Fletcher has enjoyed a large paddock, frequent turn-outs with friends, and a level of care that is extraordinary.  I welcome monthly communication with Laurra and the photos she sends me of my 34 year old horse enjoying his retirement.  During a recent health emergency, ranch caretakers and neighbors took care of Fletcher until the vet arrived.  Since then, he has received daily care and herbal supplements that have restored his energy.  Even though I now have my own property, I am keeping Fletcher with Kent and Laurra and his friends at Ortega Mountain Ranch where he enjoys a good (and I hope a long) life.  I think all horses dream of retiring at Ortega Mountain Ranch!”

M.M., Tehachapi, CA



“I inherited a little old (27+) Arab mare and have boarded her at OMR for over one year now.  She arrived from a ‘pasture’ environment and initially I thought that she had really aged in the 6 years since I had last seen her.  Laurra was very patient with me, explaining her preferred ‘natural’ feed and maintenance procedures.  Unfortunately my Sabrina arrived with some sort of infection and she really looked unhappy and tired.

OMR has a great support group and with help (and an education to bring me up to date in relation to proper care techniques) Sabrina has ‘dropped’ 10 years.  She looks like her old self, has loads of energy, and those beautiful intelligent bright eyes are back!

I have complete confidence in Ortega Mountain Ranch and its staff.  My little mare is getting the best of care in her Golden Years … she deserves it!”

J.U., Tustin, CA



“Nothing prepared me for the loss of my beloved horse Oden. At the time of his passing I was away and couldn’t be with him. The staff at Ortega Mountain Ranch had been there from the minute Oden started showing signs of discomfort. Immediate care followed, a Vet was called and I was notified. Helpless and scared, I received a call from the owner of Ortega Mountain Ranch, Laurra Maddock, and she reassured me that she was on her way so she could take my place for Oden. Laurra spent countless hours assisting the Vet and kept in constant contact with me. I was reassured that pain medication had been administered to keep Oden relaxed and comfortable. When the situation looked bleak, I was told that the entire staff was there for Oden. He was surrounded by compassionate loving people and he passed away peacefully. I will be forever grateful to Laurra Maddock and her entire staff. I know the last few years of Oden’s retirement spent at Ortega Mountain Ranch was without question a 5 Star experience. He was given 24 hour care designed for his own individual needs, and every time I visited he looked healthy and happy. Thank you again Laurra and everyone at Ortega Mountain Ranch for making Oden’s last years so special.

With love,”

G.B., Tustin, CA



“I can’t thank you enough for taking care of Sarah today and every day. I am not sure she deserves to be so lucky to have ended up at OMR because sometimes she is an absolute pill, but I will always love her anyway. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Sarah putting on weight and getting back to her old self. I am so grateful that my friend Jilly about a year ago told me about Ortega Mountain Ranch and then finally making up my mind and your agreeing to take her in. As you know it was very hard for me to remove her from her buddies where she had been for so long, but I am so glad I did. Sarah seems happy and I am even happier. Thank you to the two of you so much.”

B.K., San Pedro, CA



“Dear Laurra,

The purpose of this letter is to thank you for the gift of Danny Boy. I use the word ‘gift’ because I believe his stay at Ortega Mountain Ranch is the reason for his longevity and the return of fire in his spirit. When we first arrived at your ranch in 2009 he was in pain and I feared permanently crippled with arthritis. The environment and the care you and your staff provided gave me my dearest friend back to his former self. My heart is warmed each time I visit and watch his ‘airs above ground’ antics in the pastures at the age of 30! Your caretaker described Danny after a short two week stay as: ‘CRIPPLED MY – – – !

Danny Boy

While it is important to know that my animals are ‘loved’ and respected by the humans that care for them, it is more important to know they have been left with someone who has the experience, knowledge and ability to put all the pieces together when presented with an animal health dilemma. You possess an invaluable knowledge base of traditional veterinary practices, as well as holistic medicine that gives me peace of mind and quite frankly, some envy. Your inquisitive nature and willingness to learn about new practices speaks volumes of your efforts to improve the lives of animals.


Laurra, I appreciate your timely communications, expertise, and most of all your integrity. I feel I have a friendship and kinship in you and Kent.

We all know the horror stories of boarding and I know I don’t say this often enough. I am so appreciative of the home you provide for Danny Boy and Ra.

I would be happy to speak to any client considering your facility and in need of a reference.

Sincerely and with deepest thanks,”

                                                          D.C., Long Beach, CA



If you have any questions, please reach out to us at ortegamtnranch@cox.net