The Bar SZ Ranch A Beautiful 2,200 Acre Horseman’s Paradise in Northern California

Tim and Michelle Borland feel blessed to have had the opportunity to leave the hectic city life in 2009 when their three kids were ages 5, 3, and 1, and raise their family and work their business together originally on the famous Doc Bar ranch in Paicines, CA in the Gabilan Mountain Range. Learning and experiencing the ranching life and how to build a world-class hospitality and guest ranch was a precious lesson that grew their business and their resolve to live in the backcountry and work with the animals in their care. In 2021, the Borlands along with their business partners bought the former legendary JL Quarter Horse Ranch that shares a fence line with the Doc Bar Ranch in the heart of San Benito County. The beautiful piece of land has all the amenities a horseman could want. It is a truly amazing place to train and board horses but also to get away, relax, and rejuvenate. The grounds are home to thousands of native birds and animals. It is just minutes from the Pinnacles National Park which offers hiking, rock climbing, and outdoor educational classes.

Bar SZ Ranch’s spacious pastures, paddocks, and barns give horses a place to experience life the way they were made to, where your horse’s health and happiness are the top priority.

Michelle is the barn manager and she heads up the training program at the Bar SZ Ranch. She has been working with horses for over 30 years. She began riding at six years old and became an assistant riding instructor at thirteen. She became a head riding instructor at 17. She rode horses in both 4-H and the United States Pony Club and was fortunate to train with many professionals in English and Western riding.
Michelle’s bio on her website states: “Michelle attended both Clemson University and Cal Poly SLO where she showed horses and earned her degree in Animal Science with graduate work in Agricultural Education. While in college, Michelle worked for a resort leading trail rides, giving arena lessons to both kids and adults and overseeing the care of both ranch and boarded horses. After college, she worked for 12 years as a veterinary technician. She was also certified through the Equine Growth and Learning Association (EGALA) where she worked as an Equine Specialist in therapy sessions with at-risk youth and families.”

The Bar SZ Ranch provides the best in professional care and a spacious, beautiful property for horses to roam happily. They offer retirement, lay-up, young horse, and vacation boarding with pasture, stall, and paddock options.

“Michelle earned a level four Master Instructor Certification in both English and Western riding through the Certified Horsemanship Association. She is qualified to improve the performance of advanced riders and their horses in jumping, dressage, reining, and other performance events.
Michelle manages the barn at the Bar SZ Ranch where she oversees the care and training of guest trail-riding horses. She also enjoys hosting clinics where she teaches guests, students, and 4-H members all about horses and other ranch animals. Additionally, Michelle oversees the care of all boarded horses at the facility.”
Michelle shares, “I take the art of training and working with horses very seriously. I am always working hard to learn more and better myself because I care deeply about the well-being of all horses.

At The Bar SZ Ranch, my main focus is working with Mustangs, young horses, and horses that come to us with behavioral challenges. Each day I look to God to help me evaluate the challenges each horse is facing and then I pray for wisdom in how to work through these challenges. I try to listen to the horses and make each day exciting for them with new obstacles and challenges that will help them overcome their fears and learn positive ways to behave and work with their owners and riders. I believe that horses should be allowed to “be horses”, so a lot of my work takes place outside of an arena, out on the ranch. I love using nature to build a horse’s confidence. Horses that I work with will be allowed to climb mountains, play in pastures, frolic in rivers, and follow cows and other types of livestock, in addition to learning the ways of conventional barns, stalls, arenas, and trailers. I am truly passionate about working with horses.”

Morgan Rogers is one of the trainers at the Bar SZ Ranch and Doug Jones raves about her and the
entire team in helping him improve his horse and his riding skills. Here she is with Doug’s Paycheck at one of the local schooling shows.

Michelle and Tim’s kids have been working alongside their parents and daughters Kailey and Maddi have been helping Michelle train the Mustangs they adopted. They have a YouTube channel with many professionally done videos showing their training techniques and more with over 20,000 subscribers. One of their videos shows Maddi training her young Mustang Fiona how to bravely jump over a burning log. They also have an impressive 60,000 plus followers on TikTok and a very large following on their Instagram and FaceBook accounts.
They also have a stellar reputation on Yelp with one of their customers Doug Jones who gladly drives an hour and a half to spend time with his horses at the the Bar SZ Ranch. Doug’s Yelp review which is among over 70 5-star reviews says: “Over the last six months (or more; one loses track) we have boarded between two and seven horses at any given time for training, tune-up, and evaluation. The Borlands have made every effort to build an outstanding working ranch and it shows. The ranch facilities are immaculate, the trails well groomed and the training for both horse and neophyte riders like me, are outstanding. Any horse boarded for training at Bar SZ comes out well-toned and a far better ride.”

“Morgan trains and exercises our horses as if they were her own. She’s ridden our buckskin Paycheck at Central Coast events and has the ribbons to prove the quality of her efforts. At one event, Bar SZ intern Hallie rode our smokey buckskin Pockets nearly sweeping her class.”
“Regardless of age, if you want to learn to ride, or have friends or relatives so inclined, Bar SZ is the place to go. Before I started learning to ride at Bar SZ the last time I’d been on a horse was in my teens in 1969 and I viewed mounting up with trepidation. Morgan trained my big girl Dolly then she trained me. After a few lessons, we’re a team and I’m comfortable in the saddle even on the steepest trails. The sense of satisfaction alone makes the hour and a half commute each way to a lesson, each week, worthwhile.”
“There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe Bar SZ and the staff!”
Another happy customer is showjumper Whitney Wickes who found the Bar SZ when she was looking for a ranch for her future grand-prix horse, a 7-month-old filly by Emerald van’t Ruytershof, to grow up before beginning her showjumping training. Whitney posted on her Instagram, “Great trip to @barszranch this past weekend to visit my 2023 filly (“Reina”) by 2016 Olympian @emeraldstallion. I am so impressed with the training and quality of life provided by the Bar SZ family! This girl is big, beautiful, brave, and very gentle/kind. Have a good feeling she’s going to be a superstar one day just like her daddy. I can’t wait to break her under saddle with @coltsunlimited in 2026!”

Showjumping rider Whitney Wickes loves having her world-class warmblood filly grow up at the Bar SZ Ranch where she can be a horse before she moves to Colts Unlimited, in WY to begin her showjumping career. Whitney raves about the care and training her filly has received and looks forward to coming out to visit her every couple of months. Being able to stay at the ranch in their many accommodation options and hop on one of the excellent trail horses to pony her filly in the beautiful country is priceless.

Whitney plans to visit her growing youngster every couple of months and can stay in one of the ranch’s guest accommodations, making the trip easy and enjoyable. She is super pleased with how welcoming Tim and Michelle were and how growing up on the ranch in just a few months has improved her youngster as she is now leading like a normal horse, her personality is so much better, and she is a happier horse and much gentler and more at ease in her surroundings. It was great to be able to hop on one of the Bar SZ ranch horses and pony her filly up and down the hills and enjoy her young horse that hopefully will be a superstar in the show ring in the future.
Tim says the expansiveness of the ranch, the massive mountains, and the variety of the terrain makes for a great place to raise young show horse prospects. The Borlands offer excellent training of the young horses, superior care, and give them a well-rounded education that prepares them when they head to the various competitive disciplines that they are bred to compete in. With every client, Tim and Michelle’s goal is to build meaningful and life-long relationships with them.

”The Borlands have built the Bar SZ Ranch brand with their kids, Kailey, Colton, and Maddi, over the last several years while running a hospitality business together. Working as a family has given them a perspective on living intentionally, and they hope to inspire others to treat strangers like family, put others first, and forge a lasting legacy.

Michelle states, “We are a small family business working tirelessly to care for the horses and livestock that live on the ranch. We may not be super fancy, but we do our best with what we have and we look forward to always bettering ourselves and our facilities to best serve our animal companions.
”The Borlands have built the Bar SZ Ranch brand with their kids, Kailey, Colton, and Maddi, over the last several years while running a hospitality business together. Working as a family has given them a perspective on living intentionally, and they hope to inspire others to treat strangers like family, put others first, and forge a lasting legacy.

To learn more visit www.BarSZRanch.com or call (831) 201-2593

Written by Cheryl Erpelding