While many horse shows are seeing fewer entries, due to the economy, that's not the case for the Menlo Charity Horse Show, which runs through Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton. This year's show has 100 more riders and horses signed up than last year, according to show spokesman Nan Chapman.
Equestrians seem eager to take part in the top-rated show, which is celebrating its 40th year.
Over the years, the show has received many accolades. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, subscribers to PhelpsSports.com named it "one of the best horse shows in North America." For more than 15 years, members of the Pacific Coast Hunter/Jumper Association have ranked it "Best in the West."
Focusing on hunters and jumpers competing in Olympic-style open-field jumping in three on-going arenas, the show has raised millions for the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, including $440,000 in 2009.
In recognition of the show's 40 years, local retailers have hosted events. The Rosewood Sand Hill hotel in Menlo Park was the setting for a reception in June for sponsors and friends of the show. Michael Kors at Stanford Shopping Center will be the venue for a final kick-off party on Monday, Aug. 9.
The Four Seasons Hotel, East Palo Alto, will host an exhibitors' dinner on Aug. 12.
The Windy Hill Larry Mayfield memorial ride and drive class, scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, is a new event this year. Other highlights of the show are the $10,000 Rector Audi/Ryman memorial speed jumping class, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday evening and the $40,000 Grand Prix at 6 p.m. Saturday night. The crowd-pleasing children's (under 6) lead line class takes place around 1 p.m. Saturday in the sand area.
A gala dinner-dance and live and silent auctions are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 13, in the clubhouse. Among the items to be auctioned is an original collage created by the show's official artist, Sam Price of San Francisco. Titled "Jubilee," the art is valued at $5,000.
Tickets to the gala are $225 per person. Complimentary valet parking will be provided. For reservations, call Pam Perez at 857-0422.
Food and beverages will be available on the club grounds and the club house and coffee shop will be open to the public during the horse show.
Hours for the show are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The Circus Club is located at 190 Park Lane in Atherton.
Tickets are $10 per day, or $35 for a six-day pass. Children under 12 and seniors over 65 are admitted free.
Go to menlohorseshow.com or call 701-0543 for more information.