Boarding & Training
News & events
Spring Down Low Down Newsletter
The newsletter of Spring Down Equestrian Center
Winter weather is coming soon to Spring Down, but now we are enjoying extended Summer to it's fullest extent. Even though the days are getting shorter and wetter, keep those horseback riding lessons scheduled, because we have two all-weather arenas with lights to ensure that everyone can ride despite the darker, wetter weather. Lessons will happen even when it is raining. We never cancel lessons at Spring Down since we have two arenas in which we can ride when it rains!
Please remember that Spring Down is only closed three days in the year: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. All the other 362 days we have lessons with the regular schedule. If you do have a lesson normally scheduled that falls on one these three Holidays, please try and reschedule your lesson.
Check our web site soon for the 2013 calendar of events! We have many wonderful things in the works for next year. To finish out 2012, please don't miss our December 9th Horse Show. There will be a performance of the Rhythm 'n Blues Drill Team with our horses and riders decorated in holiday costumes. And of course, Holiday Camp will be Dec. 24-28, and Dec. 31-Jan 4th. Get in some last minute shopping while your kids spend the day with their horse friends!
HORSE SHOW UPDATES
Spring Down continues to host four horse shows a year, in March, June, October, and December. Carol Goodstein, Spring Down's owner and 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 several 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.
Our October show in 2012 was a wonderful event, with a record number of participants! The weather was beautiful for the show, and all of our participants did an outstanding job-with our High Point awards going to the following horse/rider combinations:
Senior Advanced High Point:
Megan Nicholls and Goldilocks
- Junior Advanced High Point:
Taylor Ford and Timmy
- Beginner High Point:
Julia Ford and Smoothie
Spring Down attended two outside Horse Shows this year-one at Webb Ranch, and one at the Woodside Horse Park sponsored by the Woodside Pony Club. Congratulations to the following horse/rider combinations for winning High Point awards!
BEGINNER: Emi Sears and Carrot
JUNIOR ADV; Laurel Saldinger & Chiquita
Emi Sears and Carrot
Our last horse show of the year will be on December 9th, and it is going to be a wonderful show for sure! Come and see the drill team all decked out in their reindeer and Santa hats. It will be a sight that you won't want to miss. Both drill teams have been practicing very, very hard for this event-so come out and support the Spring Down Rhythm 'n Blues drill team for this winter horse show!
The tricky trot pole class, a favorite of the pre-jumping Spring Down folks, will still be in this December horse show. The Equitation Pattern class will be deferred until Daylight Savings time has reversed, so that we won't run out of day light at our December show.
HORSE SHOW INS AND OUTS
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.
WELCOME TO NEW HORSES
Sylvester - SDEC
- Blue - SDEC
- Chiquita - SDEC
- Remy - SDEC
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.
SPRING DOWN STARS
We've launched it on the web site! Go look at 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 for Holiday Gifts: 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 ESEF, 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.
DRILL TEAM UPDATES
The Spring Down Drill Team, "Spring Down Rhythm 'n Blues" rehearses every Saturday and Sunday morning at 8AM, taught by their coach, Carol Goodstein. Carol has long been a proponent of drill team riding, because
riding in a drill team teaches you many riding skills, and you are having so much fun "dancing" with your horse, that you are not even aware how much you are learning!
The drill team did outstanding performances at the Spring Down barn party on Labor Day weekend, and also at the last horse show in October. There also are some great drill team videos up on the Spring Down Youtube channel, which you can access at the end of our web site.
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, Dina Gabriel, Deb Lyons, Megan Nicholls, and Dani Schneider.
The current members of the Sunday team are as follows: Emi Sears, Justine Efcavitch, Grant Doran, Taylor Ford, Julia Ford, Bronwyn Hogan, Emily Ketchan, and Caitlin Waddington.
Drilling can be thrilling! - so if you are a strong rider at the canter and have an interest in trying drill team out, contact the Spring Down office.
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.
NEWS FROM THE OFFICE
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.
SPRING DOWN CALENDAR
HORSE SHOW DATES: (2012)
HOLIDAY CAMP IS HERE! (2012)
December 24th, 26th, 27th,28th
December 31st, Jan 2nd, 3rd, 4th
(NO CAMP on Christmas Day or NY Day) - a great opportunity to get in some last minute Holiday shopping!
WINTER BREAK CAMP: (2013)
HORSE SHOW DATES: (2013)
NICK CLINICS: (2013) TBD,
March, July, October
SPRING CAMPS: (2013)
April 1st-5th, April 8th-12th, April 15th-19th
September 1st, 2013
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 epqupment, a live demonstartion, and of course, RIDING! Be sure to sign up early as this program is very popular!
Next 2013 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!
THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!
At Spring Down, we have a tradition of supporting and recognizing our wonderful staff of grooms during the Holidays. These fellows work tirelessly every day to take care of all the Spring Down horses, keep the barn up and running, tack up and untack, and assist the lesson customers if they need help. Please consider our special grooms by contributing to a Holiday fund for them. See anyone in the Spring Down office, and your donation will be truly and gratefully appreciated by Manuel, Francisco O., Candelario, Marcos, Sefarino, and Jose.
SPRING DOWN EMPLOYEES
Spring Down wants to acknowledge new employees, who are instructors in our riding program: Libby Beasley, Casey Charlton, Sarah Griner, andMegan Nicholls. All of these instructors are teaching private lessons at Spring Down, and they would love to meet all of you and help to introduce you or your children to the world of horses!
Libby and Casey are teaching on Sunday afternoons, Megan teaches lessons on Saturday afternoons, and Sarah is teaching Monday, Tuesday, and Friday afternoons, as well as filling in for other instructors who have time off. All of these equestrienne women are full of enthusiasm for riding, as well as teaching other folks to love riding and horses as well!
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
- Clark: Spring, 1983
- Dina: Feb, 1989
- Joke: April, 1993
- Party: Summer, 1995
- Pebbles: April, 2000
- Roxy: May, 2002
- Sally: June, 2004
- Sunshine: May, 2001
- Smoothie: July, 1993
- Ubu: Dec, 1991
MOMMY AND ME
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.
February 5th, 12th, 19th 2013
SDEC times for this class are scheduled from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. If you have capability for registering through Park and Rec, there may be availablitiy to sign up for the earlier group from 10:00AM - 11:30 PM. You must register through Park and Rec to get into this time slot.
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.
WHAT ARE TWO GOOD EXCERCISES TO DO BEFORE RIDING ANY HORSE?
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:
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.
- 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.
You must have good skills at mounting the horse safely.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Must be able to maintain good balance, steering, and control of the horse at all gaits: walk, trot, and canter.
- 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.
Two-point seat must be strong and balanced, with the ability to do poles at the trot and canter.
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.
Must be able to execute circles at the canter effectively.
Must be able to drop and regain stirrups at all gaits.
Must know diagonals and leads.
- Must have a basic knowledge of simple and flying lead changes.
WE GET LETTERS
Spring Down has been very loyal to the Portola Valley schools, and it's very much appreciated. You are always one of the first groups to donate to the Community Business Partner program. Than you so much for your consistent, generous support!
- Laura Kavanaugh
I wanted to thank you for a wonderful week at Summer Horse Camp! Alexa and Nicole truly enjoyed their time with the horses!
- Sydney Carey
All of you have had a part in the success my daughters enjoyed last Sunday at the show. Thank you for the kindness, support, guidance, and care you have shown there. My daughters love Spring Down because of all you do to make it a wonderful and safe place.
There are no words sufficient to thank you for the support, guidance, and kindness you have shown Taylor. Both my girls have thrived at your barn and for that, I am forever grateful.
I appreciate all you do to make Spring Down the wonderful place it is!
Thank you so much for the beautiful shirt... it meant so much to me that you gave me the shirt. Thank you also for letting me ride your wonderful and amazing horses. If you hadn't created this barn, I wouldn't have learned to love the way you love a horse.
Thank you so much,
CAROL'S 10 COMMANDMENTS OF RIDING AND JUMPING
Always check the tack-up book and
your tack before you ride.
One rein can stop a horse. If you don't learn anything else, this is one very useful thing to learn!
Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy for the horse.
Have a plan, stick to it, and don't give up.
- Every horse has its five issues.
Understand those issues and plan to
Learn to think like a horse.
Look up...don't look down unless you want to go there.
Regarding the number of strides in a line, the horse can't count. That's your job.
Turn late to change your lead, and turn early to keep it.
When jumping, the rider's four jobs are to find a pace and rhythm, steering, balancing the horse, and keeping the horse straight so they can see the jump and find a distance.
Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy.
- Carol Goodstein
Read the previous issue of the Spring Down Low Down: Summer 2012
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