It has been 45 years since seven women got together and decided to put on a horse show at the Menlo Circus Club to prove to its members that there was still enough local interest in horses to renovate the club's barn and to save its polo field from being turned into a nine-hole golf course.
The Menlo Charity Horse Show has grown from that humble beginning, when about 40 competitors rode in front of their family and friends, to an event which attracts up to 500 competitors over six days and is internationally recognized.
This year's show, which raises money for the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, will be held at the Menlo Circus Club, 190 Park Lane in Atherton, from Aug. 4 to 9, with events taking place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or later in three arenas.
Free shuttles will be available to ferry attendees from on-street parking to the event.
While it's been 45 years since its founding, five of that original show committee -- Betsy Glikbarg of Atherton, Nan Chapman of Woodside, Nancy Parker of Redwood City, Nancy Robinson of Woodside and Jane Yates of Portola Valley -- are still active on this year's committee, which now has nearly 130 members.
The show, which has raised more than $6 million for the Vista Center, has more than just horses. Each day hunters and jumpers compete nonstop in all three arenas, while food and beverages are available on site, and the private club house is open to the public. Forty vendors also offer clothing, jewelry, art and items for the home, garden and stable.
A kickoff party for the event will be held on Monday, Aug. 3, at Wilkes Bashford in the Stanford Shopping Center with a gala dinner and auction scheduled for Friday evening. Tickets are $250 per person.
Highlights of the event include the Grand Prix, where winners share $40,000 in prizes donated by Bentley San Francisco and Bentley Los Gatos, on Saturday evening, Aug. 8. On Thursday evening, Aug. 6, the International Hunter Derby winners share $20,000 donated by Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman of Atherton.
Tickets are $10 a day, or $35 for a six-day pass. Those under 12 and over 65 are admitted free.
Menlocharityhorseshow.com has tickets for the gala, more information, and a schedule of events. Information is also available by calling (650) 701-0543.