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Meet Marika and Mark Matson of Temecula Carriage Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marika and Mark Matson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marika and Mark. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Go Wine Tasting with Old Fashioned Horse Power!

I love taking people wine tasting with our Horse Drawn Carriages. We started this company in 2007, we wanted to share our love of horses and wine country with others.

Tucked behind the orange groves, nestled in the heart of wine country Mark and I began our journey of building our ranch. We built our barn and these days twelve horses can be found dozing in the pasture under the tall eucalyptus trees in the front of the Temecula Carriage House. The horses are a variety of different draft horses.

Percherons, Belgians, Clydesdales, Mules and Gypsy Vanners make up the herd of horses that are loved and owned by our little family. Draft horses are known for their strength, patience and docile temperament. These horses are well suited for pulling with short backs and powerful hindquarters. They each stand 16-19 hands high at their withers and weigh in at about 1400-2000 pounds.

Our horses are accustomed to living outside in the pasture together. In inclement weather, they are all brought into our post and beam barn. The barn was hand built by our family. A wind tight barn is a warm, dry refuge for the sweet horses to snuggle together on chilly, wet nights in Temecula.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Being a husband and wife team has had a learning curve. Our family has grown and so has our business. Mark and I have both learned to trust each other more and we have found that we both bring something good to the table. Patience and hard work is our foundation.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Temecula Carriage Company story. Tell us more about the business.
What is it about a horse that is so romantic?  There is something about Prince Charming riding in on his white horse to rescue his damsel in distress and fulfill all of her romantic expectations.  Equines symbolize bravery, boldness, wildness, freedom, journey, adventure, victory. Romantic, indeed!

The popular private Horse drawn carriage rides are frequented by couples for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, date nights or just a special way to get around to the different wineries. Proposals packages are complete with intimate vineyard sunsets and a bottle of sparkling wine from our favorite local wineries.

The carriages are “Vis-a-vis” style meaning face to face in French. The plush seats are of burgundy velvet. Each carriage is outfitted with a wicker picnic basket. Picnic baskets are filled with a charcuttere picnic of herbed meats, artisan cheeses, buttery crackers, olives, chocolates and of course, a bottle of wine.  Parasols and flannel blankets are also onboarding the carriages and are within reach of the riders.

Guests peer out the windows of the winery pick up location waiting anxiously for their horse drawn tour. Passengers step onto the carriage and sip their favorite wine as drivers doff their top hats and whisper the words “step up” to their faithful steeds.  A slow-moving ride awaits them. Traveling through the winery property and opulent gardens couples begin to connect with each other as they see the connection with the grapes on the vine and the grapes in their wine glass.

As the pavement turns to dirt and the gentle hooves land softy making a clip clop sound as the vineyards engulf the carriage.  Snowcapped mountains in the distance make the air fresh and clean. Birds of prey and wildlife are in plain sight and as our minds slow down to the speed of the horse’s easy-going gate we can plainly see our very own Prince Charming and our very own Damsel in distress sitting face to face in the beautiful horse drawn carriage.

Temecula Carriage Company offers 1 hour and 2-hour private horse drawn carriage rides through the wineries.  The Horse Drawn Trolley Winery Shuttle is also avail for larger groups.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Call it luck or family love. Family has been a huge influence on our life and our family business. We could not have done it without family.


  • 1 hour private carriage ride is $150 per couple and includes a bottle of wine
  • 2 hour private carriage ride is $260 per couple and includes a bottle of wine and a picnic
  • 4 hour horse drawn trolley winery shuttle starts at $39 per person

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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