August 2019 - WHOA!
Written by by Nan Meek
Friday, 02 August 2019 02:27


Celebrate the 15th Anniversary Woodside Day of the Horse.

by Nan Meek

What do horseback riders who enjoy dressing in super heroines and heroes costumes to ride the Woodside trails, equine artists of all ages, and families throughout the Bay Area have in common? The 15th Anniversary Woodside Day of the Horse, which this year expands to three days of equestrian festivities, Friday through Sunday, October 11, 12, and 13, with events throughout the Northern California “horse country” community of Woodside.

Woodside Art of the Horse begins the festivities with a reception for the winners of this new equine art contest, on Friday, October 11, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, at the historic Independence Hall in Woodside Town Center.

Progressive Trail Ride finds riders dressed in themed costumes enjoying the renowned trail system of The Town of Woodside on Saturday, October 12, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, followed by the After-Ride Party from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at the Mounted Patrol Grounds.

Horse Fair is the family-friendly gathering where local equestrians introduce kids and their parents to horses, ponies, and a real Wells Fargo stagecoach, and share interactive learning experiences, on Sunday, October 12, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at the Woodside Town Center.

Project with a Purpose

Fifteen years ago, the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) recognized that a fun-filled celebration of Woodside’s unique equestrian heritage would showcase the extraordinary contribution horses make to the quality of life throughout San Mateo County. So WHOA! coordinated a public-private partnership with The Town of Woodside, Woodside Community Foundation, and a supportive network of generous sponsors and volunteers to bring their vision to life.

The mission of WHOA! is to “preserve the fundamental role of horses in maintaining the rural character of the Town of Woodside and neighboring foothill communities, to enhance opportunities for equestrian activities, and to promote the enjoyment of horses in all their various roles.”

Woodside Day of the Horse helps fulfill that mission as it attracts nearly 2,000 people to Woodside each year on the weekend of the second Saturday in October: trail riders from surrounding counties and other states who want to ride the famous trail system of The Town of Woodside, families from neighboring communities who want to have a fun day around horses at the town horse fair, and this year, artists young and old from across the Bay Area who will submit their favorite equine art to the First Annual Woodside Art of the Horse Exhibition.

In addition to bringing together new Woodside residents, local horse property owners and equestrians, and “not yet equestrian” neighbors from surrounding communities, proceeds from Woodside Day of the Horse are used to fund equestrian projects and programs throughout Woodside and San Mateo County. Over $200,000 of proceeds from Woodside Day of the Horse has been gifted to equestrian causes, including trail maintenance & building, community riding programs for foster children and veterans, and the Folger Stable renovation and community riding ring upgrade. Unmeasurable but equally important is the increased understanding of horses and their contribution to the entire community, which this event promotes.

“A neighborly touch that is appreciated by new Woodside residents, whether they are horse people or not, is the WHOA! Welcome Basket of gifts and information about living in horse country,” relates Anne Van Camp, member of the WHOA! Steering Committee.

Ready for the 15th Annual Woodside Day of The Horse, October 11-13, costumed in this year‘s theme of “Super Heroines and Heroes,“ Petra Beltran and her Kladruber stallion Generale Ariosa XLVIII-4, channel Supergirl, cousin of Superman, and her super-powered horse Comet. Photo: Debbie Hansen/Hansen Images

Woodside Art of the Horse Exhibition

Artists of all ages celebrate the beauty and nobility of the horse with every canvas they paint or sculpture they create, and the Woodside Art of the Horse exhibition gives equine artists a new showcase for their best work during an evening of fabulous equestrian art and exceptional wine that kicks off the weekend at the Woodside Town Hall on Friday evening, October 11, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

Woodside Art of the Horse contest is open to all Bay Area residents. Artwork must be the artist’s original design, and may be in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, graphic and charcoal, colored pencil, photography, sculpture, miniatures, or mixed media, as long as the artwork celebrates the horse. Submissions are due online by August 15, and selections will be announced August 31. Artwork must be delivered by the artist, at their own expense, to the Woodside location by October 1. Visit for more information and to submit your artwork.

Awards will be presented in two age categories: under age 18, and age 18 and over, during the reception on Friday evening. Prizes for young artists include five riding lesson packages, with five lessons in each package. Adult artists will find equally exciting prizes donated by local businesses. And every entry accepted into the show will be eligible for raffle prizes. There will be something for everyone, in both prizes and artwork. Best of all will be sharing the art that depicts our love of horses with the Woodside community and neighbors.

“Many residents and neighbors of our community may not actually ride or own horses, but may still have a special place in their heart for them,” comments Don DeFranco, member of the WHOA! Steering Committee. “Our goal for the Woodside Art of the Horse opening reception is to celebrate the horse in art, and also the chance to kick off our 15th Anniversary with a big thank you to all of our generous sponsors and volunteers.”

Supergirl had a great time recreating the look of Superman’s cousin, a popular super heroine from 1959. Petra Beltran of White Horse Dressage in Woodside, with her Kladruber stallion, Generale Ariosa XLVIII-4. Photo: Debbie Hansen/Hansen Images

Themed Progressive Trail Ride

Riders of all disciplines have discovered the fun of riding The Town of Woodside trails with friends, most dressed in costume, during the Progressive Trail Ride, checking in at “ride stops” to collect the stamps that lead to great prizes and creating even greater camaraderie among riders. It’s become an annual “must-ride” event for riders from the heart of Woodside throughout California and beyond.

The Progressive Trail Ride takes place on Saturday, October 12, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, followed by the After-Ride Party from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at the Woodside Mounted Patrol Grounds with live music, food, non-profit and equestrian exhibitor booths, and equestrian arena entertainment.

Registration for the Progressive Trail Ride is now open, and can be made online or by mail. Registration includes the completed registration form and signed waiver in addition to the registration fee, which is a minimum donation of $50 per rider when submitted or postmarked by August 31, $75 by September 1, and $90 cash if paid on the day of the event. Click on to register online.

“Riders can be assured that the route of the Progressive Trail Ride is designed for safety by minimizing street and road crossings, placing signs to warn traffic of horse-and-rider crossings, and stationing ‘tour guides’ at  strategic locations where riders and traffic interface,” points out Jo Egenes, member of the WHOA! Steering Committee. “The route is also designed so that every rider can successfully negotiate the trails, and experience the joy and pleasure of a trail ride through our lovely, horse-friendly town of Woodside.”

Saturday’s Progressive Trail Ride is designed for safety, including “tour guides” at street crossings, so that every rider can experience the joy and pleasure of riding through horse-friendly Woodside.

Super Heroines and Heroes

This year’s theme is “Super Heroines and Heroes,” so riders might costume themselves as Elsa from Frozen, or any of the Marvel Comics heroes who have lit up cinema screens in recent years, among others. Horses are included in the costuming, and the extent of participants’ creativity is remarkable.

Given the ride’s timing just weeks before Halloween, resources for creating prize-winning costumes are readily available. Pop-up Halloween stores offer ready-made costumes that can be worn as-is, or embellished, for rider and horse alike. Prizes are given in a variety of categories, and the sky is the limit when it comes to costuming both horse and rider. You can be sure that many riders are already working on their costumes as you read this article.

On this magazine’s cover, Woodside resident Petra Beltran, academic dressage teacher of White Horse Dressage, and her Kladruber stallion, Generale Ariosa XLVIII-4, are costumed as Supergirl, the cousin of Superman, and her super-powered horse, Comet. Supergirl originally appeared in DC Comics in 1959, and since then in numerous comic books, movies and animated films. Supergirl, Superman, and many more super heroines and heroes are expected for this year’s Progressive Trail Ride.

“Putting together the Supergirl costume was fun,” recalls Petra. “I started with a costume purchased online, added a blonde wig, and made a red cape for Ariosa. Since he’s worn costumes before, he was okay with that, but for horses who are not accustomed to wearing things that may fly or flap in the breeze, I recommend getting them used to their costume – and yours – before the day of the ride!”

Make way for the Wells Fargo Stagecoach! It’s always a favorite with Horse Fair visitors, taking visitors for a ride back in time to the days when Woodside was founded and transportation was horse-drawn.

Horse Fair Fun for Everyone

Whether visitors to the Horse Fair are already equestrians or not-yet equestrians, there’s something for everyone in the family. Children can enjoy pony rides, listen to a horse’s heart, try out a vaulting barrel, take a turn at leather working, and more. Adults who want to know more about sustainable horse-keeping practices, how to get “Back In The Saddle” after spending time away from riding, and more information about equestrian activities in the area can find all that and more at the Horse Fair. Plus, there’s the always popular visitor favorite: rides on the authentic Wells Fargo Stagecoach.

The Horse Fair is on Sunday, October 13, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Woodside Town Hall. As families from neighboring communities, and Woodside itself, enjoy mingling with equestrians and some good-natured equines, one of the most important missions of WHOA! is actually underway: Families who might not otherwise encounter horses in their daily lives are meeting the horses and horse people who make Woodside the unique community that attracts residents from around the world.

The Horse Fair, along with the Progressive Trail Ride and Woodside Art of the Horse, helps to “preserve the fundamental role of horses in maintaining the rural character of the Town of Woodside and neighboring foothill communities, to enhance opportunities for equestrian activities, and to promote the enjoyment of horses in all their various roles.”

As WHOA! Steering Committee member Kristina Chancholo says, “The Horse Fair has wonderful opportunities for children, teenagers, and adults to connect with horses. It provides an equine educational experience while offering hands on activities such as decorating horse shoes and horse cookies, coloring equestrian artwork, riding a pony, petting a miniature horse, and riding the Wells Fargo Stagecoach. Kids and parents show up excited and leave happy, hopefully inspired to pursue activities with horses.”

There’s no better place to connect with horses than Sunday’s family-friendly Horse Fair, where hands-on activities and educational opportunities introduce equine fun to kids, parents, and grandparents.

Volunteers Are Welcome

Volunteers are always welcome, whether for a few hours at the Horse Fair, at a ride stop during the Progressive Trail Ride, with the Woodside Art of the Horse, or longer-term to help prepare for Woodside Day of the Horse and support the projects and programs funded by its proceeds. Click on the website link below to volunteer, or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For More Information

Have questions? Visit the new WHOA! website at for more information about Woodside Day of the Horse activities, how to enter Woodside Art of the Horse contest and register for the Progressive Trail Ride, plus information about Woodside-area equestrian resources, activities, and more about WHOA!