Fredric Steck had been at Goldman Sachs for almost 20 years when he decided to become a gentleman cowboy.

Although he was working in New York at the time as the head of sales for the firm’s U.S. fixed income division, most of his family lived in California and he returned whenever he could. “New York, with all due respect, was not my favorite place,” he says. “It’s an energetic place with a lot of incredible things going on, but it’s not an easy place to be.”

Steck knew he wanted a place in the country because he’d become increasingly involved in “cutting,” a rodeo-adjacent equestrian competition where a horse and rider separate a cow from a herd. (If you haven’t heard of the sport, there’s a reason, Steck says: “It’s like a swim-meet—when your child is in the water it’s interesting, but when they’re not, it’s pretty boring to watch.”)

He briefly considered buying a place in either Colorado, Montana, or Wyoming to raise horses, but “I’m a SoCal guy, and Western states are either cold or windy nine months out of the year,” he says. Instead, he settled on a 4,675-acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, about 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara and 145 miles from Los Angeles. He closed on a property for $10 million on Dec. 31, 1999, and immediately began to turn it into a proper residence.

He built a rambling, Spanish colonial-style main house designed by David L. Leavengood, whom Architectural Digest called “one of the country’s foremost authorities on ranch architecture” in a 2009 feature on the property.  Steck also built an 11,000-square-foot, 11-stall horse barn and restored the property’s fields of wildflowers, sage, oak, and gray pine—while continuing to commute from New York to what was now known as Rancho Latigo. (Latigo is Spanish for “horse crop.”)

In about 2002, Steck relocated to Goldman’s San Francisco office in its wealth management division, and in 2008 he retired.

Since then, Steck has used the ranch regularly, but with his five children and many more grandchildren scattered across the globe, he says, “I’d like to be a little bit more available to go around visiting my family. And also, this is a big place for one person.”

He first put the property on the market in 2016 for a hefty $45 million; after it failed to find a bidder, he’s relisting it for $24.5 million with Neyshia Go and Aaron Kirman with Aaron Kirman Group at Compass, along with Hillary Ryan, who’s also at Compass.

“We’ve priced it at a level to say that we’re motivated to sell,” Steck says of the 46% reduction, “and we’re trying to offer a real value proposition.”

The Property
Steck bought the property from Jean-Claude Brouillet, a larger-than life adventurer who joined the French resistance as a 14-year-old in World War II, founded an airline in Gabon, sold it and bought a yacht he called African Queen, set up a black pearl operation in Polynesia, founded a 50,000-acre cattle farm in Paraguay, and also, for a time, owned the ranch in Santa Ynez.

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