About Us

Our Story

Horses in California, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to uniting the city of San Francisco through horses and horse-related events.


In the early 1980’s, San Francisco residents Hugh and Melba Meakin had a dream of starting an organization that would expose people in their community to the glorious psychological and physical benefits of horseback riding, horse-related arts, and equestrian sports. Indeed, they created the non-profit organization Horses in California, Inc. in 1984 and started off the year by hosting a world-class show jumping and grand prix event called “The San Francisco Show Jumping Grand Prix and Equestrian Festival”. This was a three-day event held at the Marin Headlands. In 1985, Horses in California moved its venue to the San Francisco Golden Gate Park Polo Field and showcased polo matches as well as other horse-inspired festivities.


In 1981, the physical and psychophysical benefits of horseback riding gained national attention when James S. Brady, Press Secretary to President Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head and used horseback riding as a means of physical therapy during his recovery. Hugh and Melba Meakin met with Brady at this time and were given the honor of using his name for a riding program that the Meakin’s were opening to provide therapy alternatives to disabled children. Thus, the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program for disabled children was founded, and has since helped over 200 youths find wellness and happiness through horsemanship and horseback riding lessons.


Today, Horses in California is continuing to help disadvantaged and disabled children as well as bring awareness of horses, horse-related arts and equestrian sports to the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to Polo in the Park, we have been hosting other fundraising events throughout the year such as Jumping in the Park and Dressage in the Park, since 2003.


The James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program has received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly and Award of Honor from the City and County of San Francisco.