Spurs Rancho Vilasa Magazine
Spurs Rancho Vilasa Magazine

Welcome to Sandy Nathan’s “everything you need to know to live a good life” collection. These articles reflect pretty much everything that happened to me since the late ’90s. Back in 1998, during the nostalgic formative days of the Internet, we needed a web presence for our ranch, Rancho Vilasa Peruvian Paso Horses. I was writing like crazy, everything from recipes to life lessons. When we got our first web site, it was natural to combine the ranch’s needs with my scribblings.

Thus the site Rancho Vilasa-Spurs Magazine was born. The Rancho Vilasa is pretty easy to figure. Where did I get Spurs Magazine?”I write about personal development, spirituality, and the general need for us to act like grown-ups before we blow up the planet. For this, we need motivation. Horse people know that there’s nothing like spurs for getting things going. I named my early ‘zine after the biggest motivators I know. Spurs is written by a horse person on a horse ranch.

What’s linked below are the top-rated articles from Spurs Magazine. There’s LOTS to look at below. Funny, interesting, and beautifully illustrated articles that pack a punch. Enjoy.”

Sandy Nathan


LITTLE INDIA: Little India in Artesia CA (which is down near Disneyland) is one of my favorite places. This article tells about my first trip there with my daughter, Lily. The article has been #1 Google rated for years.

RECIPES WITH ATTITUDE:This is my idea of a food page. I hate to cook. These are very good recipes, though one is slightly adult, be forewarned. I’ve gotten mail from ’round the world telling me how funny this article is.

FAN PAGES: For many years I was too sophisticated to show much enthusiasm for anything. But I’ve grown, coming to be an over-the-top fan of several bands and other things, including a spiritual retreat. Find out about them below.

  • BILL MILLER I first heard Bill’s music in a western store in the pseudo-Danish town of Solvang, CA in the 1990s. Since then, the western store has disappeared and Bill has won every possible music award. This is Native American soul. Bill is a wonderful musician, artist, composer, speaker and generally admirable person.
  • ROBERT MIRABAL Another very talented and Grammy winning Native American musician. Great illustrations on this one and a cool story about Robert and a horse owned by my friends.
  • DREAMTIME CONTINUUM Santa Barbara’s own world music ensemble.
  • THE GATHERING I attended The Gathering, a Native American spiritual retreat in Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. Bill Miller is the retreat’s spiritual leader. The experience was so powerful that I ended up writing my first book Stepping Off the Edge as a result of attending..

WATCH OUT FOR: The first article warns of an unexpected danger. The second is about a tragedy.

  • SANDY NATHAN’S EBAY AUCTION WISDOM: This link takes you to a series of articles on eBay. At one time, the series was the # 1 Google rated. I stopped keeping the series up because eBay is addictive, as I found out the hard way. I’m linking to the most popular article–– how to buy. I now don’t go near eBay any more, but I wrote the articles and my book Stepping Off the Edge before I quit. Stepping has chapters on kicking eBay addiction. I’ve taken down everything but what you’ll need: The articles about how to buy and how to get unaddicted.
  • OAK TREES Are they an endangered species? The California oaks have been having a hard time these days. Biggest culprit is the wine industry, which cuts them down to make straight rows of oaks. I wrote this series about the trees I love When a big political flap was happening where I live. That’s passed, but are the oaks out of danger? Good heavens, no. Is there a reason to care about the trees besides the environment? Yeah. It’s in the first article.


FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS:My life with dogs, including how three little black mutts from the pound cured my almost fatal empty-nest syndrome. This is the first article of a series. I’ll probably write this up as a book one day, the way I did Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could. Lots of sweet stuff, great photos, and information on dog rescue.

H.A.Y.–HORSE ADDICTS OF YESTERDAY! A SORT OF 12-STEP PROGRAM FOR HORSE ADDICTS You gotta read this one! I have received fan mail from horse people around the globe telling me how hysterical this article is. And how true.


SANDY NATHAN RIDES: This article records my life with horses, which boils down to a history of horses on the San Francisco Peninsula. I’ve heard from some nice folks from my past because of this article and hope to hear from more. My ride may be over now, after the death of my beloved Tecolote. A horse that reliable doesn’t come along too often. It was a good ride, and a long one.

RANCHO VILASA Wonder what our ranch is like? This is the closest thing to coming out and walking around with us. The link goes to an index page which tells you about our horses, facilities, the trails around here. Even presents a poem about a mystical experience I had while riding. And a baby horse album! We’re in retirement mode around here, down to five horses from a one-time high of twenty-two.

TRAINING SERIES This is a series of five articles about the humane training of horses the way we do it at Rancho Vilasa. It includes the “first saddles” of four horses––the first time they were ridden. Some thrills, some chills, a lot of calmness, and a little rodeo.


It’s possible to live without horses. I’ll admit it, though reluctantly. It’s not possible to live a truly human without what I’ll introduce next. These articles about about “the biggies.” All are sumptuously illustrated.

INSPIRATION: COSMIC SPURS In this article, I talk about where I got my start as a writer. What inspires us? Is it the easy stuff? The stuff that falls in our laps? Not in my life. This is about what shaped me and moved me and got me where I am. My father’s death at the hands of a drunk driver. Lots of philosophy––I have almost a philosophy major, which I needed to survive what life handed me. Come with me, read this article. It will be a worthwhile trip.

THE JOURNEY In life, make a journey. We go from the putty-like state of a baby, undifferentiated from the world around us, to a fully mature human being capable of knowing and feeling everything that humans can know––and having a positive impact on everything we touch. Let’s make a journey. Gorgeously illustrated.

THE WRITERS’ CORNER Musings on life and creativity, psychopathology and the arts, why I write and what to do about it. And tips for you, if you’re a writer, too. This is a two part article with links to take you to the next part. I refer people to my blog for writers, Your Shelf Life, but the blog doesn’t really do what these articles do.

ECSTASY: Your Birthright, Shield and Reward The mystics’ ecstatic consciousness is the highest human state. Some of us touch the mystical state once in a while; some of us (very few) get to live there. This is an essay on ecstasy as I’ve experienced it. (I told a friend I was writing about ecstasy. He said, “Whoa. You got any?” No. I’m talking about the state, not the substance.)

ECSTASY: RESOURCE LIST––Reading & Listening Resources and Links to Bring Ecstasy to You This is a list of sources and links from most of the world’s major religions. From Mahalia Jackson to St. John of the Cross, from Rumi to Lao-Tsu to the Dalai Lama, you’ll find something to elevate your mood.