Circle V History


Circle V Ranch, Fairfax, Marin County, California, circa 1950

Circle V Ranch, Fairfax, Marin County, California, circa 1950

circle v rodeo bronco.jpg

Baywood Equestrian Center is part of what was the Rancho Cañada de Herrera (Ravine of the blacksmith Ranch) Mexican land grant. People would bring their horses from miles around to be shod and for the chance to socialize. During the years that followed the original Mexican land grant bits and pieces have fallen away to development, leaving only a small piece remaining as horse property. Rancho Cañada de Herrera was a 6,658-acre Mexican land grant given in 1839 to Domingo Sais. The grant encompassed present day Fairfax, Sleepy Hollow and a part of San Anselmo.

The site was once part of a 1,000 acre beef cattle and dairy ranch. In 1934 the Smith family bought the ranch, it was called the Smith Family Ranch, subdivided it and sold parcels ultimately selling the Baywood parcel in 1974. Horses were stabled on the site while it was still an active livestock operation but horse activity blossomed in the 1940s with the development of what became known as the Circle V Ranch. Ed and Zeke Smith were members of the Marin County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse and decided to build a stable in Baywood Canyon for a central facility to board their horses. The outdoor arena was built for a roping club by the Sheriff’s Posse and in 1946 opened as a non-profit corporation called Circle V Ranch, the V representing the 5 partners who formed the corporation. By 1949 the outdoor arena had begun hosting rodeos with a seating capacity of 4,000 spectators and was becoming known as the Smith Ranch Showgrounds. In 1954 an indoor arena was built in order to practice cutting and roping in the winter. After the death of the Smith brothers in 1954 and 1955 the Kiwanis club took over the annual rodeo which continued until 1969. The estate was eventually sold in 1974 to Jack Farnar who tore down the rodeo arena and developed the stables, renaming it the Baywood Riding and Tennis club. 

In the early 2000 the property was bought and became Baywood Equestrian Center, where the outdoor arena gate still sports the historical Circle V logo.

circle v rodeo brono 1950.jpg