Woodside is known as a horse-lovers mecca in the south bay, as the active Woodside-area Horse Owners Association can attest. The community is so supportive of the horse owners there is an annual celebration held every year during the second week of October called Day of the Horse. This year it falls on Saturday, October 12.
Garrod Farms, known to the locals as simply “Garrod‘s” is nestled in the foothills in Saratoga and adjacent Mid-Peninsula Open Space Preserve with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz mountains.
The farm was established in 1893 and the original apricot and prune orchards were gradually phased out and the stables built in 1962, followed by more barns and an arena in 1964. the fruit trees were replaced with wine grapes in the 1970′s.
Garrod‘s currently has 120 acres of stables, pasture, vineyards, an active winery and tasting room, family home and access to 23 miles of riding trails in the Open Space Preserve.
There is a large covered arena as well as a second large open arena, 2 lounging arenas, a round pen and 3 wash racks for bathing. All disciplines or riding are welcome and trainers and instructors are available on-site as well.
Boarding runs from full care to straight board and the accommodations range from pasture and a small shared field to paddocks and box stalls.
If you don’t have your own horse you can rent one for a guided trail ride, including the popular wine ride which concludes with a tasting at the winery and a mini-buffet.
His mom went to slaughter when he was 2 months old and he and many other foals were left at a feed lot. The Equine Rescue Center and Sanctuary in Watsonville, Ca. took in 5 of the babies, including Gabe.
Gabe has the nicest disposition independent and loves being groomed. He will be easy to train. If you’re looking for a horse to love on and start from the ground up he’d be a great addition to your family!
More about the Equine Rescue Sanctuary (ERC)
A no-kill rescue, ERC provides a home for older and injured equines as well as a safe place for younger horses to stay until they find their forever home.
The team at ERC gives these horses humane treatment, training, love and a natural herd environment in which to live out their days.
Here’s a video with more information on ERC. Visit the ERC website to learn how to help or adopt a horse.
Calero is one of my favorite places to ride for several reasons. There is ample parking in the staging area for trucks and trailers and there are just about always a few horses on the trail, especially on the weekends. There are a little over18 miles of trails which are very well maintained and range from single-track to wide dirt fire roads for hikers and horseback riders only. No dogs are allowed on the trail or mountain bikes, a welcome respite from some of the businer bay area trails. You’ll see lots of deer, the occasional herd of wild pigs, turkeys and orther small wildlife. That’s not to say that bobcat and mountain lion don’t roam these hills, but I’ve never seen one.
About the park
Once part of the Pueblo lands of San Jose, and Rancho San Vincente land grant, this 4,000+ acre park is nestled in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are two distinct areas to the park. The area around the reservoir, taken up with boaters and water recreation and the “backcountry” area, which roams the hillsides covered with Oak, Chapparal and open expanses of grassland.
The rolling foothills offer amazing views of the Santa Cruz mountains as well as the valley, but you’ve got to climb to get there. Some trails are steeper than others, and it depends on the athleticism of your horse. In rainy weather the trails can be slippery ahd there may be a creek or two to ford, but the rest of the year they’re easy to navigate and not too rocky.
There are a lot of routes to take and we highly recommend dowloading the trail map (PDF) from the county website to take with you. Any which way you go, once you climb the hills you are rewarded with breathtaking views of southern Santa Clara County and the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountain Range. Here are two rides we take regularly.
1.5 hour ride, moderate climb
Start out at the staging area and take the Pena trail to the first intersection. If you bear right you’ll quickly encounter some very steep climbs. We prefer to bear left, up over the rise following the Figueroa trail as it winds along the lower portion of the hillsides and through the woods. When we reach the Vallecito trail we turn right for a short climb, then join the Pena trail on the upper portion of the hillside and back down Figeroa to home.
2- 2.5 hour ride, moderate to steep climb
Start out at the staging area and take the Pena trail to the first intersection. Bear left, up over the rise following the Figueroa trail as it winds along the lower portion of the hillsides and through the woods. Take a left on the Javelina Loop Trail and then bear right around the hillside. This isn’t too steep until about a mile up Javelina and then it gets quite steep and there are rocky areas. If your horse is barefoot you might consider boots. There is a water trough at mile 4 with a picnic table for resting. Take the trail back to Figueroa and turn right back down the hill to the Pena trail the staging area
Hours and fees
The park is open year round from 8AM to sunset unless there has been a lot of rain, in which case it is open to hikers only. There are no vehicle fees at the back country staging area.
Her racing connections chose not to surgically repair the leg to give her a better chance at a sound productive life, so CANTER stepped up and financed the surgery, aftercare and rehab.
Today Revi is a happy, healthy and sound little girl.
She is 7 years old and about 15.2 with a petite build and sweet personality, She has training in jumping and dressage but she happiest on the trails so we are looking for a trail home for her. She may also be a very nice endurance prospect. She prefers to live in pasture but has also lived in a stall.
Here is REVI under saddle.
Not every thouroughbred makes it on the racetrack and sadly, far too few find good homes when their careers are over. The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER) is changing that by taking retired thoroughbred racehorses and preparing themfor new careers.
Horses teach us so much. Confidence, patience, integrity, compassion, the desire to keep trying until we reach our goals. Especially when things don’t go exactly as we planned them!
Still, through all the trials and challenges of having horses we know they will be there for us. I came across this video and it spoke to me about many things, especially the joys of having a horse here in Silicon Valley where I need a break from my hi-tech shuffle. My horse distracts me from all that because she keeps me on my toes!
A. The zoning regulations for your specific location will need to be investigated, but in Santa Clara County a shelter for livestock–including horses–should be located at least 100 feet from any well or established watercourse.
A. Well of course the answer to that question is “that depends”. Every property can be different based on city and county zoning, but the rule of thumb for the number of horses you can have on a property depends on the size of the lot.
The Santa Clara Horsemen’s Association is one of the oldest horse clubs in the bay area. Established in 1939, the purpose of the club is to promote good fellowship between horsemen and a greater understanding of horses. The club offers group rides, organizes play days at their grounds at 20350 McKean Rd in San Jose and is a great place to get to know other horse people in the bay area, learn about the best places to ride and generally have fun with other horse people!
The club participates in parades around the valley and as far west as Santa Cruz and north to Mountain View including the 4th of July parade in Gilroy and the Holiday parade in Los Gatos.
If you’d like to get together for some casual fun with horses, it’s well worth it to look into this friendly bunch at the SCCHA!