Spring Down Equestrian Center

Read the previous issue of the Spring Down Low Down: Summer 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

Winter 2013


2013 is coming to an end, but don’t finish out the year without being aware of all of the great things happening at Spring Down Equestrian Center!!  Our very popular Holiday Camps will be up and running soon, so sign your child up NOW to secure a spot.  The dates for our Holiday Camps are as follows: 

Week 1:  Dec. 23,24,26,27
Week 2:  Dec. 30,31, Jan. 2,3

There will be no camp on either Christmas Day, or New Years Day.

On December 8th, Spring Down will host it’s last horse show of the season.  There are still many great horses available to reserve to ride in the show, so sign up to share a wonderful day with one of your best horse friends.  At this end of the year show, our Spring Down Medal’s Champion will be determined for 2013—and whoever wins that medal will also win a fabulous prize—so stay tuned to hear more about that:)


Spring Down hosts four horse shows a year, in March, June, October, and December.  Carol Goodstein, Spring Down’s CEO, will always consider it extremely important to be able to provide her clients the opportunity to participate in quality horse shows for a reasonable price. Doing four shows a year also affords people the opportunity to ride and show different horses—and as we all know, we learn something unique in regard to horsemanship and riding technique from each and every horse we ride. Spring Down would like to reach out to our local horse community as well—because we do not put our shows on solely for our SD clients!!  Our shows are open to everyone—so even if you are not a SD client, come ride in one of our four fun, fabulous, and family friendly horse shows!!

Congratulations to the High Point winners at the June and October shows:


Anya Moturi

Candace Denny

Margo Mukhergee

Justine Efcavitch

Casey Charlton

Allison Conrad


Vivian Love

Oliva Gibeau
Maya Moffat

Lindsay Jamieson

Abigail Ramsey

Casey Charlton

Lauren Pittock

Spring Down also took a contingent of riders to the Pony Club show at the Horse Park in September, and  everyone who went did a fabulous job!!  All the riders who competed came home with a bunch of lovely ribbons ...so congratulations to all who participated in this away horse show.  If you are interested in going to the Pony Club show next year, you must be a more advanced rider who has already participated in several Spring Down shows, understanding the basic ins and outs of showing.  Also, you must get the approval of your riding instructor, and then the approval of Carol Goodstein.


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.


Atlie:  SDEC
Bosco :  Deb Lyons & family
Steve:  Sarah Griner
Frankie:  SDEC

Clark and Lucky have both been retired to the farm in Pescadero.  They are both doing very well, enjoying a life of leisure in beautiful pastures.


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.

Horse Show Equipment

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.


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: Diane Allison, Britta Buehneman, Kore Chan, Sarah Chinn, Kris Clark -Hahn, Lori Doran, Taylor Ford, Rachael Howard, Deb Lyons, and Dani Schneider,

The current members of the Sunday team are as follows: Justine Efcavitch, Julia Ford, Yvonne Franke,  Sarah Griner, Bronwyn Hogan, Isabel Maginnly, 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.


            December 8   (2013)
            March 2
            June 8
            September 28
            December 7

            March 25,26,27
            July 1,2,3
            October 21,22,23

            SIGN UP NOW!!!!!

            WEEK 1: Dec. 23,24,26,27
            WEEK 2: Dec. 30,31,Jan. 2,3

(There will be NO camp on Christmas Day or New Years Day)

            February 17-21

            March 31-April 4
            April 7-11
            April 14-18


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! 


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!


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.

The Holidays are Coming

Please ask in the office about the “Holiday Grooms Fund.”  This is a fund organized by Diane Allison, to help thank and support our fabulous and wonderful staff of grooms at this holiday season. Contribute a little or a lot, but do help because these guys work tirelessly all year long to take care of the wonderful horses that you ride and love. 



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!!  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 also recently said “Good-bye” to Robyn Ogilvie.  Robyn was married in July, so she is starting a new and wonderful chapter in her life.  She has moved up to the Oakland area. Robyn has recently let us know that she is expecting a baby—so congratulations to Robyn and her husband, Guido!!

One other person who continues to deserve accolades and recognition is Jennifer Dekker, the office manager at Spring Down.  Jennifer is one of the folks that helps to hold Spring Down together, doing an extremely difficult job every day.  Running the office at Spring Down can often be a tiring and thankless job, and the details that need to be managed can seem never ending.  Jennifer does her job with skill, grace, and humor, and we thank her very much for all of her hard work!


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

Barnum: Fall, 1987

Butterscotch: May, 2001

Carrot: Fall, 2002

Diamond: March, 1993

Dina: Feb, 1989

Joke: April, 1993

Pebbles: April, 2000

Polly: April 15, 2000

Roxy: May, 2002

Sally: June, 2004

Sunshine: May, 2001

Smoothie: July, 1993

Ubu: Dec., 1991


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.


Backing up 20 steps.  This will help to establish authority, as well as help to keep the stifle joint healthy.

Cross Over Exercises. Stand with your back to your horse’s withers. When turning clockwise, take right hand and pull horse’s head around your body, stretching his neck. Then, turn facing your horse, put your left hand at the elbow or behind the girth, and walk forward in a small circle, asking your horse to cross his hind legs over in four steps. Repeat this in the other direction.

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.
  1. 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. 
  1. You must have good skills at mounting the horse safely.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 posess 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Two-point seat must be strong and balanced, with the ability to do poles at the trot and canter.
  1. 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 arena.
  1. Must be able to execute circles at the canter effectively.
  1. Must be able to drop and regain stirrups at all gaits.
  1. Must know diagonals and leads.
  1. 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


Thank You for Joining Us! Woodside Day of the Horse

The tradition of great weather for the Bay Area's best Progressive Ride and Horse Fair continued. Blue skies welcomed the over 250 "RIDERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD" and over 1000 fair attendees who all joined in celebrating our
equine friends.

We are always grateful for your generosity which has allowed WHOA! to support a growing list of projects and causes in the area. Last year we donated to community groups that offer riding experiences to under-served children and war veterans, supported trail maintenance and more.

None of this would be possible without you. Thank you for helping us sustain the vision of horses in the community for generations to come.


Dear Carol,

SMCHA’s 65th Annual Open Horse Show at the Horse Park on August 25th was a huge success because of your generous sponsorship.  We could not have done it without you!  Your generosity toward the entire SMCHA club and equine community are certainly appreciated.  Of course, Carol, extra big thanks for the English riding Clinic, which was thoroughly enjoyed by thoses that attended.  You are the best!!

Cheryl Basin
SMCHA President and Horse Show Chair


Dear Carol—

Thank you so much for ensuring that Steffi had such a wonderful riding experience during her visit to Portola Valley.  She was so happy with her progress.  And, of course, she fell in love with Dina.  She is eager to return.

It was a wonderful experience for me, too.  It took me gack 40 years to the days when YOU found Blackjack and you trained Liz and Danny.  Thanks for all you did then, and thanks for the memories.

Fondly,  Lina Swisher


Hi Carol, I’ve been so remiss in profiding Ben updates for you….he is a bionic horse.  After another colic and close call last year, he is once again thriving—he won high point at a show last weekend—still going strong after all these years.  The girls and I love him so much and I will always be grateful to you for finding him...I still remember that day you were headed up the driveway telling me I ought to take a look at him to buy.  Best decision ever!!

We think of you often, and the many great years we spent at SDEC.  I hop, Stan and all you four-legged friends are well and happy.  I’ll come visit soon…..

Lori Evans.



Did you know that 80% of the serious accidents with horses happen when mounting and dismounting????

Carol Goodstein will be giving a hands on pre-mounting safety clinic and everyone who rides horses should know her 7 steps to mounting safely.  Each participant in this clinic will have their own SDEC horse with which to work.  The clinic will last one hour.  The cost will be $50.  Space and horses will be limited, so sign up NOW to reserve your horse and space.  We will run the clinic for 2 days in a row, so that the most people possible can attend.  The dates will be Saturday, December 21st (at noon),  and Sunday, December 22nd (at noon.)



DATES:  December 21st and 22nd
COST:  $50 PER PERSON  (for one of the above days)

Read the previous issue of the Spring Down Low Down: Summer 2012

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