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November 02, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Woodside honors two pillars of equestrian community Woodside honors two pillars of equestrian community (November 02, 2005)

By Andrea Gemmet

Almanac Staff Writer

Howard Boone's love of horses began in second grade when his parents bought a pony for him and his brother to ride to school. For Ursula Eisenhut, it began when she got a horse as a teenager. And it was horses that brought them and their families to Woodside.

Mr. Boone and Ms. Eisenhut were honored recently, as part of Woodside's Day of the Horse festivities, for their many years of contributions to the town's horse community.
Howard Boone

Mr. Boone, who moved to Woodside in 1960, is the first winner of the town's Trails Legacy award for his decades of work maintaining, improving and expanding the public and private trail systems.

He's been a member of the Woodside Trail Club since 1962, served on the town's Trails Committee for 13 years, and is a longtime member of the San Mateo County Mounted Patrol and the Shack Riders.

"As far as I'm concerned, Howard is one of the true ambassadors of our trail system," said Rick deBenedetti, vice chair of the town's Trails Committee. "If there was a horse-related issue on a trail, Howard would get the call and somehow he would be able to smooth it out, and everyone would walk away happy."

Mr. Boone was given a commendation from Woodside Mayor Paul Goeld at the Day of the Horse reception on October 6. In addition, he received a plaque that names one of his favorite trails the Howard Boone Trail.

"I was thrilled," Mr. Boone said. "It was a complete surprise."

The trail named for him is one he's ridden regularly for 45 years when going from his horse's stable to Wunderlich Park, where he has a favorite spot in a peaceful meadow where he likes to "rest and contemplate the world."

Mr. DeBenedetti said he likes the fact that the Howard Boone Trail connects to a trail named after Mr. Boone's good friend, the late Harry Williams.

At age 86, Mr. Boone said he doesn't ride as often as he used to, but he still takes his horse out on the trails about once a week.
Ursula Eisenhut

Ms. Eisenhut has been a tireless advocate for horses, barns and trails since she moved to Woodside in 1959, but she's best known for her long association with the Junior Riders. For 42 years she was the organizer, chair and den mother for the summer camp that teaches horse care and riding skills to children in the Woodside Fire Protection District, said Woodside Councilwoman Carroll Ann Hodges.

Ms. Eisenhut is the first recipient of the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association's hall of fame award, presented at the Day of the Horse reception. WHOA members organized the Day of the Horse event.

Ms. Hodges said Ms. Eisenhut can always be counted on to speak up whenever there's a horse-related issue in town, and that in her eight years as a Planning Commission member, Ms Eisenhut was a consistent advocate for horses and trails.

Ms. Eisenhut said her long association with the Junior Riders began when her 6-year-old daughter attended the program, and grew from there. She estimates that about 4,000 children participated in Junior Riders during her tenure.

"All through the years, I've always said that as long as Junior Riders exists, there will be horses in Woodside," Ms. Eisenhut said. "That's why I stuck with it. It wasn't always sheer fun, but we need it in this town to keep horses alive and going."

She said she worries about the drop in the number of horses in Woodside. There were more horses than people in Woodside -- at least 4,000 horses -- when she moved here, and now there are fewer than 700 according to town statistics, she said.

Ms. Eisenhut said she is satisfied that she played a part in keeping Woodside horsey, and that the Junior Riders program is thriving in the hands of a younger generation of horsewomen.

She said she's especially pleased that she was able to get a barn built on the Kiely Equestrian Center where the Junior Riders program is based, after years of struggling with spoiled hay and mildewed tack.

For all her dedication to horses, Ms. Eisenhut said she hasn't ridden much since 1968.

"I love horses, but I can live without being on their backs," she said. "My favorite thing is playing with them and doctoring them and loving them."

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