By Maggie Mah/Special to The Almanac
Days are rapidly getting shorter and leaves are starting to fall — two sure signs that Day of the Horse is just around the corner.
The event, which pays tribute to horses and the equestrian lifestyle, is put on every year in October by WHOA!, the Woodside Area Horse Owners Association. This year, WHOA! is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Day of the Horse with the theme "Super Heroines and Heroes," and three days of events, including two new equestrian art exhibits and an opening reception.
Festivities begin Friday, Oct. 11, with the opening reception and first annual "Art of the Horse" exhibit, an evening of equestrian art, wine and live music. The art show features winning submissions by local artists in two age categories, youth (under 18) and adults 18 and older. The adult category was evaluated by four judges: Perri Guthrie, an independent fine art appraiser based in Woodside; Jill Layman, owner of A.Space gallery in Menlo Park; Sharon Campbell, Menlo Charity Horse Show's 2019 Artist of the Year; and Joan Wolfgang, renowned expert in equestrian and sporting art based in San Francisco. Local artists with works in the show include Peter Van Vlasselaer (Woodside) and Grayson Martin (Redwood City).
The event will be held in Woodside's Independence Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Running all three days at the Woodside Village Church is a separate youth art show featuring works by artists 17 years of age and under. Original works in a range of different media, including sculpture, will be on display Friday through Sunday, Oct. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All artists will be awarded a ribbon and be entered in a raffle for equine-related prizes, such as riding lessons and tack.
If past years are any indication, there should be some spectacular sights on Woodside's town trails on Saturday, Oct. 12, as horses and riders in costume for this year's Super Heroines and Heroes theme make their way along the route of the Progressive Trail Ride.
The ride attracts both local and out-of-town equestrians and is designed for riders of all levels of expertise. Maps direct participants along the town's roadside trails and on an optional loop through Huddart Park.
"We want every rider to experience the joy and pleasure of a trail ride through our lovely, horse-friendly town," said Jo Egenes, a WHOA! Steering Committee member.
The route includes 15 "heroically" themed ride stops (Batman, Super Girl, etc.) offering both human and equine treats.
The ride takes place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with a party afterwards for participants at the Mounted Patrol grounds from 3 to 5 p.m. Riders participating in the Progressive Trail Ride are required to register before the ride. For more information, visit the WHOA! website.
Also new this year is the timing of the popular Horse Fair at Town Hall, which has been moved to Sunday. The fair offers entertaining and educational ways for everyone in the family to connect with horses. Special activities include pony rides, opportunities to make equine art, blacksmith demonstrations, the Wells Fargo stage coach and more.
The Horse Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is admission charge.
In honor of Day of the Horse, the Woodside Community Museum is featuring a special equestrian exhibit of historic photographs, memorabilia and a timeline of Woodside's equestrian history. The museum is located in the restored Matheson Farm House near Town Hall and will be open Sunday during the Horse Fair.
To date, WHOA! has contributed over $200,000 to various local projects through proceeds from the Day of The Horse. Recipients include the Folger Barn Preservation, Woodside Jr. Riders, Town of Woodside Trails and the mare and foal sculptures on Village Hill.