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Santa Ynez Valley farmer, cattleman Larry Saarloos succumbs to horseback riding injures

Santa Ynez Valley farmer, cattleman Larry Saarloos succumbs to horseback riding injures

Ten days after being involved in a horseback riding accident at Hollister Ranch on April 14, rancher and farmer Larry Saarloos has reportedly died at the age of 68.

Along with an image of Los Olivos' town center flag flying at half mast, Ballard Canyon AVA made an announcement via social media on Friday, April 24, stating that the winemaking community had suffered a tremendous loss. 

Known in the Valley as "Big Lar," Saarloos was a cattleman, grape grower, active community member and devout family man, having developed a small 17-acre farm in the hills of Los Olivos into a thriving 100-acre producing property, Saarloos & Sons Windmill Ranch & Vineyard on Ballard Canyon Road.

Written as part of the family's story, the Saarloos brothers described their father's epiphany to expand the family business in 1998 as a careful "listening."

"Larry woke one morning to see a cool layer of fog filling the canyon, he felt the midday sun on his neck, he listened to the wind turn the windmill blades each day coming from the same direction, and then he did what every good farmer does. He waited, he watched, he felt, and he listened. Day after day, week after week, year after year. Then like a great farmer, he picked up his shovel and got to work. And get to work he did."

Friends, family and community members paid their respects to Larry Saarloos and the late Sue Herthel, co-founder of Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center, on Sunday evening with a public procession through Los Olivos' main street, Grand Avenue.

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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