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Sunday: Barnstorming tour

Stables open doors in celebration of area's horsey heritage

Submitted by Lisa M. Krieger, a member of the Horse Park at Woodside and Portola Valley Pony Club, and a volunteer with Portola Valley Trails Association.

Olympic equestrienne Gina Miles, carriage rides, an art exhibit and seven of the Peninsula's most lovely barns are featured in a celebration of our rural heritage on Sunday, Oct. 24, in the "Day In the Country Stable Tour" fundraiser.

Miles, a 2008 Beijing Silver Medalist, will sign autographs and perform a jumping demonstration at the event, which supports the newly created Portola Valley Trails Association and the longtime Northern California hunt club, the Los Altos Hounds.

The featured barns -- some historic, others new -- will open their doors for public tours, welcoming visitors with a fragrance of leather, grain, and molasses as sweet as perfume. Some, such as the newly restored Folger Barn, have an air of grandiosity. Others are contemporary and more private, owned by Silicon Valley professionals.

The event, held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include a polo demonstration and performance by a 12-horse drill team, as well as a sale of equestrian paintings, bronze statues, and other art. There also will be a talk on trail etiquette.

On display at one barn is a children's play structure by the esteemed North Carolina sculptor Patrick Dougherty, recently featured in the New York Times for his weaving of natural materials into whirling, animated shapes.

Tickets ($25 each, and free to children under 5) and tour and event information may be picked up the morning of the tour at the Portola Valley Town Center, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-851-2551 for more information.

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