Spring Down Equestrian Center

Read the previous issue of the Spring Down Low Down: Winter 2013

For questions regarding the Spring Down Low Down please contact: Diane Allison allisonjdmh@aol.com

Spring Down Low Down Newsletter

The newsletter of Spring Down Equestrian Center

Summer 2014



            Vol.11,Issue 1                                Spring/Summer 2014


            Summer is fast approaching, and along with that comes our amazing June Horse Show on Sunday, June 8th.  There are still a lot of great horses available to show, so if you are interested, please check with the Spring Down office. Our horse shows are fun, family friendly, and affordable, so bring the whole family with you to cheer you on!!
            Our other favorite summer happening is our Spring Down Horsemanship Camp!!  There will be ten weeks of fun, fabulous summer camp—pretty much all summer long—so check with the office to sign up NOW.  We are also offering two separate weeks of Intermediate Camp for our more advanced riders.
            And of course, we will be welcoming back Nick Karazissis for another one of his amazing clinics in July.  Along with that is an option for and “advanced clinic” - for advanced riders.  You will ride with Nick Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and ride with Carol Goodstein Monday and Friday.  Every day, Carol will give a hands on lecture on some aspect of horsemanship, such as join up, your horse’s “Horsenality…” , understanding different bits, and much, much more!!  Sign up NOW, because spots for this advanced clinic are limited!


            Spring Down hosts four horse shows a year, - this 2014 year in March, June, SEPTEMBER, and December.  We changed up the show schedule from October to September due to other local show schedule so as not to create any conflicts, and our Nick Karazissis Clinic—to hope to get better attendance for each event with the shows spread a bit more apart.


            Carol Goodstein, Spring Down’s owner and CEO, has designed our show program to make our shows fun, educational, and affordable for anyone who would like to be in a horse show.  If you were at a local “A” show barn in the Portola Valley/Woodside area, going to a horse show could cost you between one and two THOUSAND dollars per day—when our Spring Down shows have the extremely reasonable price of between two and three HUNDRED dollars per day. Our shows are equally as professionally run  - we always hire professional judges, and our shows are as well organized as these other, very much more expensive shows.  Do the math…..our Spring Down shows are the best show deal for the dollar!!



       So have you wondered why some folks win ribbons in the flat classes and others don’t?  A lot depends on the category of class in which you are entered.  In any flat class that is an EQUITATION class, the judge is looking primarily at the rider’s position and technique. Some of the things the judge will consider are the following: having your eyes up and looking ahead, having your shoulders back, a good posture with a straight back, elbows at your sides, palms facing each other with thumbs up, fingers closed on the reins, seat in the center of the saddle, heels down, and a straight line from your shoulders to your hips to your heel.  Also, it is very important to be on the correct posting diagonal, or the correct canter lead, b/c that is critical for the balance of the horse and rider.
          In the HUNTER UNDER SADDLE classes, the judge is primarily judging the horse’s movements and manners. The rider’s equitation is important here because it will influence the way the horse goes...but the judge is really judging the movements and manners of the horse related to how well you are riding him.

            There often is confusion about what equipment is allowed at Horse Shows.  Let’s try to cover some of the basic rules here.  SDEC follows all of the rules dictated by the USEF, and we are  going to talk mainly about equipment that is used by SD horses. For the basic bridle, most SD bridles are OK as they are.  Snaffles, and Pelhams are bits that are fine to use at a show.  If your horse wears a flash noseband, like Sally, does, that is not allowed.  Standing martingales are allowed, but germans are not—so you will notice that all horses who have a german will change to a standing for the show (and also the week before the show so they get used to it.) The reins need to be changed to a braided leather rein with no D rings.
NO martingales are allowed in flat classes, or any class with a flat component such as Hunter Hack.
All adult saddles are assigned to prevent mayhem the day of the show. If your horse has an Equipedic pad, it should be used because the horse’s back will be most comfortable for the long show day. No blue cotton pads should be worn. A  flat leather girth should be used, but sometimes we make exceptions for certain horses.
The horse should not wear any boots or wraps on their legs.  It is OK to wear these for warm-up, but not for your show classes.




Atlie:  SDEC

Steve:  Sarah Griner

Frankie:  SDEC

Ben:  Lori Evans (but now a school horse:)


We would like to pay tribute to three of Spring Down’s most favorite horses who have joined the equine angels up in heaven:  Clark, Brandy, and Tony…..may you run forever carefree and happy in heaven’s pastures...


                    WELCOME TO NEW BARN CATS

Sookie— This lovely kitty came to us because her owner had to move to a place (due to health reasons) that did not allow animals.  She has taken up residence in the hay barn, so go back there and visit her!
Ruby—This wonderful and friendly feline came to us because her family could no longer keep her.  She loves to live in the lower barn and keeps watch over the vending machine area.  Ruby loves to be petted and fussed over


AVAILABLE NOW!! - New cards for new SD horses and felines!!  The STARS of Spring Down who work tirelessly, patiently and lovingly to teach our riders how to ride. We couldn’t do what we do without our horses! They are trained to do a special job here, keeping new or experienced riders safe, as well as patiently guiding us to new challenges in the arena.  Spring Down trading cards are now available: 2 for $5, and a complete set for $120.


           The Spring Down drill team competed for the first time ever on August 4th in the Coto Cup Competition at the Horse Park in Woodside.  The team came in second place in the Novice division, losing by less that one percent to the winning team!!  Here is what was read just before the drill team performed:

            Spring Down Equestrian Center is a beautiful and beloved barn in Portola Valley, CA, owned and operated by Carol Goodstein.  For almost 30 years, Carol has been building the stable, teaching generations of young, old and returning riders the disciplines of English hunter, jumper, dressage and Western riding. Spring Down has 50 wonderful school horses and an excellent staff of instructors in all aspects of riding and horse care.  Carol’s life-long love of equestrian drill has resulted in her developing a drill team program, both for drill beginners and also more advanced riders and horses.  Spring Down is  proud to present its first ever competitive team riding in the Novice Division.  The drill riders are very diverse in ages and backgrounds, and include two high school students, a Cal sophomore, and HR manager, an internet web technologist, a high tech marketing director, a PhD at a prominent governmental lab, a popular Palo Alto dentist, a horse show/barn manager, and a retired tax accountant.  The horses are all part of Spring Down’s terrific school horse line up, and include quarter horses, thoroughbreds, warm bloods, and a couple of mustangs.

           The current members of the Saturday advanced drill team are the following:  Britta Buehneman, Kore Chan, Kris Clark -Hahn, Taylor Ford, Dina Gabriel, Rachael Howard, Laurel Saldinger, Dani Schneider, and Caitlin Waddington.
           The current members of the Sunday team are as follows: Casey Charleton, Justine Efcavitch, Julia Ford, Suzanne Lambert, Isabel Maginly, Anneke Powers, Julie Ramirez, and Caitlin Waddington.




          Spring Down will be continuing to offer group tack-up lessons as often as possible.  The lessons are scheduled on a Sunday, at noon, for one hour. 
          "Why take this lesson?,"  you may ask.  At Spring Down, we teach comprehensive horsemanship, not just horseback riding.  A very important component of horsemanship is understanding the equipment you are using on any given horse:  both how it is put on, and how and why it works.  The group tack-up lessons will allow time both for demonstration of the equipment that we use, and hands on practice with someone standing by for instruction and assistance.

          General grooming and equipment used for grooming will also be taught in the tack-up lesson.  And, of course, as we are very safety conscious here at Spring Down, techniques for keeping both you and your horse safe will be taught so that everyone is safe and comfortable during the grooming and tacking-up procedures.

          Please see the office to schedule yourself into one of these tack up lessons. If you are unable to make the group lessons, a private lesson may be arranged.  The group lessons are preferable, because the  hour time will allow you to become familiar with more different types of  equipment and also allows for more time to practice.  A private lesson is the next best thing, however, if that is what your schedule will allow.

          It has always been a SD rule that, if you  are about 12 years old or over, and you are capable of tacking up your horse, then you need to take a tack up lessons to learn how to do it safely.  If you fit these requirements, but you chooses not to tack up for whatever reason, then you will be charged an additional $10 for tacking and also untacking your horse.





          Please remember that Spring Down  has a strict 24 hour cancellation policy. If you do not cancel with 24 hours notice, you will be charged for your lesson. This means that, if you have a lesson at 12 noon on Wednesday, you need to cancel your lesson by 12 noon on Tuesday.  If you call to cancel at 4PM on Tuesday, you will still be charged a late cancel feel. This policy exists because we need to plan our instructors and horses schedules in advance. We have reserved your teacher's time for you, your horse's time for you, and very often the horse has been tacked up by one of our grooms. Making an appointment for a lesson is a firm obligation, so please consider it as such, and give us a minimum of 24 hours notice if you are not able to attend your lesson.
          When requesting a specific horse for a lesson, everyone needs to understand that it is just that:  a request.  The office will make every effort to honor that request, but sometimes we have ten requests for the same horse in a given day. Also, all the horses at Spring Down need to get exercise each and every day, so it is our responsibility to make sure that each horse gets ridden by someone (and that one horse doesn't get ridden too much).  We try to match the horses and riders as best as possible, but please remember that each horse can teach you some new and different skills. Be flexible, and you'll be surprised at how many new horse friends you will acquire by branching out a bit...and at how much you will learn.




          June 8
          September 28
          December 7



          July 1,2,3
          October  20,21,22



          Session 1: June 16-27
          Session 2: July7-18
          Session 3: July 21– Aug 1
          Session 4: Aug 4-15
          Session 5: Aug 18-29

Sign up now—space is limited!!


Spring Down Barn Party:

          Sunday, August 31st




MINI CAMPS -   Our  new monthly program "Crazy About Horses"  has been quite successful for those that only have a day to spend with horses and get their "boots wet."  It is a perfect option for the parent, friend, or grandparent  to ride along  with their  horse crazy kid.  The camp is from 10 AM - 2PM covering many aspects of horsemanship: safety around horses, horse management and care, grooming, understanding how to put on  special equipment, a live demonstartion, and of course, RIDING!  Be sure to sign up early as this program is very popular! 

2014  DATES:  TBD

GIRL SCOUT "HORSE RIDER" BADGE PROGRAMS-  We've been working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California as an approved vendor. The standard Horse Rider badge is $40 per rider.   We currently offer the Horse Rider and now Horse Fan badge to all troops.  Each troop can earn 2 badges in one visit for a special price of $65 per rider.  For the Brownies, we are offering the Horse and Pony Try It patch for those young scouts! Check our web site at http://www.springdown.com/groupevents/girlscouts/

15 FOR 15-   Do you finally get in the groove after the first half of your lesson, and need just a little more time to figure out how to get things right?  We are offering, during the slower times of the day (Mon - Fri, 9AM - 2PM) 15 extra minutes of lesson time for $15 dollars. If your instructor is availlable, the extra time can be just the ticket to boost your confidence. Contact the office within 24 hours of your lesson to see if the 15 for 15 is available for your next lesson!



          Portola Valley is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, and Spring Down is going to help in this celebration.  There will be a day to honor the horse in Portola Valley—on June 22nd—up near the road entrance to Spring Down Equestrian Center.  There will be booths and activities in the tennis court area, as well as areas around the big oak trees with veterinary lectures, farrier demonstrations, and other hands on horse exhibits.  There will also be carriage rides sponsored by NCEFT, and pony rides for the little ones.  Please come out and help us celebrate Portola Valley’s Day of the Horse!!

If you are interested in volunteering to help out with this wonderful event, please contact the SDEC office at (650) 851-1114.


          Spring Down wants to acknowledge our primary part-time instructor staff—because all of these wonderful folks help to keep our lesson program strong and vibrant.  Thanks to Lori Doran, Sarah Griner, Cherie Hammer, Megan Nicholls, and Erin Pittock!!  Laurel Saldinger and Kelcy Senz are also back from college this summer to teach lessons:) Other Spring Down folks who have stepped up to teach lessons are Taylor Ford and Justine Efcavitch—thank you for joining our amazing staff of instructors. You are all fabulous, and Spring Down would not be the same without you!!  To schedule a lesson with any of these terrific instructors, please see the Spring Down office for their availability.

            Spring Down celebrates the birth of Robyn Ogilvie’s baby boy, who was born the end of May:)  Robyn retired from Spring Down late this winter to get married, and now lives up in the Oakland area. 


            We are in need of advanced riders to help teach in our summer camp program.  If you are 1at least 16 years old and are an intermediate/advanced rider at Spring Down, please see Diane Allison if you are interested in working at our summer camps.           




Everyone has a favorite horse at Spring Down, and here we will mention some of these favorite horse’s birthdays!!

Belvedere:             March, 2000

Butterscotch:        May, 2001

Carrot:                 Fall, 2002

Diamond:           March, 1993

Dina:                    Feb, 1989

Paint:                   Oct., 1995

Pebbles:                April, 2000

Polly:                    April 15, 2000

Remy:                   July, 2006

Sally:                    June, 2004

Sunshine:             May, 2001

Smoothie:             July, 1993

Ubu:                     Dec., 1991



          This program has turned out to be a smashing success. It is a series of 3 classes designed to introduce the smallest member of your family to horses while spending some quality time with Mom or Dad.  As a group, you'll be introduced to safety, horse's ground manners, and  you will get comfortable around horses.  We'll teach you all about their special equipment, grooming and tacking up, and learning to ride. Each class may include the use of a vaulting horse, grooming, a riding lesson, and a special lesson about some aspect of horsemanship, geared to the little ones..  The series is a scheduled class, so look for upcoming dates!
Please see the office for more info.



This class is scheduled from 10:00AM to 11:30 AM.  You may have the option to sign up for this program through Park and Rec—so check your local town to see if Spring Down offerings are available.  Otherwise, you can just sign up through the Spring Down office by calling (650) 851-1114.





          Understanding the way a horse thinks is a big part of what we try to teach people at Spring Down.  Horses have a reactive side and a thinking side of their brain.  When they are on the thinking side of their brain, they blink their eyes and lick their lips—look for these signs of submission and paying attention the next time you ride your horse.
          For horses to become willing partners and followers they must have a natural leader , so walk tall and walk strong when you are riding your horse, and when you are handling him on the ground.


Horses can not see right in front of their faces or down by their front feet.  Their eyes are placed facing forward in the front of their head, so they are designed to further in front, and in conical patterns to either side of them.

Horses also can not see directly behind themselves—so this is why one should not ever run up directly behind a horse.  Always approach a horse from the side at a diagonal—this way they can see you well and will not be surprised when you approach.

     Are you ready to join a group?

            A frequently asked question is " When will I (or my child) be able to join a group?"  There is no one answer to that question, because every person, no matter how young or old, learns skills at a different rate.  In my experience as an instructor, the time may vary from just a few  months, to over a year or more.  But, there are a few key criteria from which we instructors judge whether or not joining a group is feasible:

1) Can you get your horse out of the stall to the arena, and back again after the lesson SAFELY AND CORRECTLY?  Parents, a hint to expedite this process for your smaller child is to learn how to do this too so that you can assist your child.  Be sure to wear appropriate shoes with a hard toe so your feet will be safe as well when assisting your child. There can sometimes be 6 or 7 folks in a group, and one instructor can not help everyone in the group to and from the stall.

2) You must be able to check and tighten your girth, and also adjust your stirrups MOSTLY BY YOURSELF.  This does not mean that your instructor will not help you at all, but it DOES mean that you must make a good effort to get as much done by yourself as you can. 

3) You must have good skills at mounting the horse safely.

4) You must be able to do a posting trot ON THE RAIL BY YOURSELF WITHOUT MUCH ASSISTANCE.  This includes being able to start, stop, and steer by yourself.

5) Do you know how  close you can safely get to the horse in front of you?  Do you know what to do if you think you will get too close, i.e. pass safely, cut across the arena, or circle safely?  Your instructors can assist with your refining these skills, but the basic knowledge and ability must be there.

6) A basic understanding of posting diagonals is necessary.  Of course, your instructor will continue to help you with this skill, but it must be understood by the rider.

7) Do you know how to dismount safely by yourself? Your instructor can not assist everyone in a group without taking too much time away from the lesson.

            There are, to recap, lots of requirements for being able to join a group.  The bottom line for the necessity of these requirements is to ensure the safety of all the riders.  Remember, there is only one instructor in a group, so each rider must possess the basic riding skills to ride responsibly and safely.

Do You Want To Jump?


            Our goal at Spring Down is to help people to acquire the skills to do whatever type of riding interests them.  Jumping is one part of the equestrian experience, and although it can be very exciting, it is also very demanding and challenging.
            It is essential that you have mastered your flat work before you start jumping.  After all, jumping is really advanced flat work with obstacles.  Having solid flat skills is vital for your safety and security.
            The following guidelines provide the minimum essentials that are required before you are able to safely and securely start jumping:

1)  Must be able to maintain good balance, steering, and control of the horse at all gaits:  walk, trot, and canter.

2)  Must be able to walk and trot without stirrups.  The instructor should not notice any difference in leg position or effectiveness with or without stirrups.

3)  Two-point seat must be strong and balanced, with the ability to do poles at the trot and canter.

4)  Must be able to stay in two-point seat at the canter three times around the indoor arena, or one time around the big, jumping

5)  Must be able to execute circles at the canter effectively.

6)  Must be able to drop and regain stirrups at all gaits.

7)  Must know diagonals and leads.

8)  Must have a basic knowledge of simple and flying lead changes.

The more you use the reins, the less they use their brains!!

                        Carol Goodstein

                                                                WE GET LETTERS

Dear Spring Down—

I am so sorry for your loss, Tony.  On line, my friends were talking about it and I was heartbroken.  I was just worried for him.  And, when I heard he died, I said, “No!” and collapsed.  I told my mom and seconds later Diane called her.  Without listening, I knew what was going on.  As a sign of appreciation to Spring Down and Tony I wrote this letter, share these flowers, and cry many tears.  Thank you for teaching me to love something so much and put it to use.  I will try to do the same thing again but it will never be the same.  I have only ridden him a couple of times, but when I first rode him with puddles from the rain, I couldn’t stop smiling until the next lesson where it was renewed.  Tony was truly :

               “As Good As it Gets”

                    TIPS FROM CAROL GOODSTEIN:


What Horses Teach Us:

Practice does not make perfect—perfect practice makes perfect!

Here is Another Adage that Changes with Horses:

You either win, or you lose

This Should Be:

You either win, or you learn!!  Because when you fail, you are motivated to change to make it better:)


Read the previous issue of the Spring Down Low Down: Winter 2013

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