Still Going Strong: Catching Up with Carol Anderson Ward

Back Article Jul 15, 2019 By Tom Couzens

Carol Anderson, owner of the Murieta Equestrian Center, appeared on the cover to illustrate a story headlined “Horsing Around: The equestrian business is big in the Capital Region.”

“I think people would be amazed if they knew how many jobs there are locally in the horse business,” Anderson said then. “There are actually more horses per person in Sacramento County than in any other California county.”

Anderson’s father, the late Fred Anderson, bought the facility in 1983, but she was credited with making it the largest in California. In 1995, she built a 60,000-square-foot indoor arena with seating for 3,000 at a cost of $500,000. Running a successful business was in her genes: Her father was the founder of Anderson Lumber (later called Pacific Coast Building Products) and a professional sports entrepreneur who owned the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football, the Sacramento Gold Miners of the Canadian Football League and the Modesto A’s minor-league baseball team, along with a stake in the Sacramento Kings.

Status Check

The equestrian center, with four indoor and 13 outdoor arenas, hosts approximately 50 horse-related events that attract as many as 200,000 competitors and spectators annually. Though it has more than 100 RV spaces for rent, Anderson Ward (her married name), 67, had a dream to open a hotel adjacent to the facility, because many visitors went to Rancho Cordova or Folsom for accommodations.

In January 2018, the 83-room Murieta Inn and Spa opened, featuring The Gate restaurant and the Cupola Spa and Salon. “It’s really going well,” Anderson Ward says. “I should have built something bigger because we are really booked out.” She says many of the events at the equestrian center bring people in for four nights each week; she credits the facility for helping to attract at least five major equestrian events since it opened because it provided the required hotel space. The facility isn’t attracting only equestrian folks, she says, it’s also drawing people visiting the nearby wineries in Amador and El Dorado counties.

But Anderson Ward isn’t slowing down. The next project she’s involved in is a shopping center that will bring a 35,000-square-foot Bel Air market and another major anchor to the community of 5,000 people in eastern Sacramento County. “It will have everything you need so you don’t have to go out on the highway,” Anderson Ward says.

This is the third installment in a five-part retrospective series on past Comstock’s magazine cover subjects in celebration of our 30th anniversary. To see all of our 30th anniversary coverage, click or tap here

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