Woodside's annual public celebration of its equestrian heritage – the Day of the Horse – takes place Saturday, Oct. 14, and includes a fair, equestrian exhibits and a progressive trail ride through the town and Huddart Park.
Theme of the event is, "Casino Royale," and although the name was used previously in 2007, this year it celebrates a newly added feature to the ride: poker-with cash prizes awarded for the three highest hands.
The trail ride runs from noon to 3 p.m. Equestrians must register and pay a small fee to participate in the ride. Entrants are encouraged to wear costumes while riding public trails to ride stops throughout the town, most of which offer treats for horses and humans.
Riders pick a playing card at each stop and turn in their cards at the end of the ride. The cards add up to a poker hand.
Two prizes of $1,000 each will be given for the winning hand and the best costume, with second- and third-place prizes also to be handed out. Prize money is courtesy of the Friends of the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County.
The panel of judges includes Woodside Mayor Tom Livermore, San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Superior Court Judge Richard C. Livermore (no relation to the mayor), Town Manager Kevin Bryant and representatives from local equestrian groups.
The horse-related exhibits and fair take place in front of Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The day includes stage coach rides, pony rides, a blacksmith at work, a petting zoo, a chance to create art on an equestrian theme and, on that theme, to decorate (and eat!) cookies.
Day of the Horse is put on by WHOA! (Woodside Horse Owners Association) with more than 120 volunteers donating their time. Proceeds go to support various horse-related programs and projects in the area with gifts to date totaling more than $177,000. WHOA! operates under the auspices of the nonprofit Woodside Community Foundation.