Portola Valley

Portola Valley News

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In October 2018, the Middle California Regional Supervisor awarded PVPC the 2018 Volunteer of the Year award, in recognition of our club's ability and willingness to provide volunteers to fill short-term and long-term roles at the Regional level. Our Horsemaster members are currently providing service as Regional Secretary, MidCal National Testing Coordinator, and Social Media Editor; while one of our Junior members is working with Glenoaks Pony Club Riding Center as the assistant administrator.


Upper Level member Rachael M. was named the club's Pony Clubber of the Year for 2018. Rachael has been chair of the club's Junior Board and a frequent participant in Horse Management teaching and examining. She has also been assisting at the Glenoaks Pony Club Riding Center. Congratulations to Rachael! 


In February, Upper Level member Athena B. was named the club's Pony Clubber of the Year for 2017. The club gives out over a dozen perpetual trophies annually. Other winners included Sophie H. for D-Level Equitation, Charlotte G. for the most active Upper Level member (the Millard Award), and Horsemaster Alisa B. who was our first adult winner of the Rookie of the Year award! Athena also received the annual Instructor's Award for most activity teaching Horse Management lessons during the year. Congratulations to all!


Portola Valley Pony Club was established back in 1967 as an off-shoot of the Los Altos Hounds. We have called The Horse Park at Woodside our home base since the mid-1970s. We are one of the oldest clubs west of the Mississippi, and one of the largest in the US! PVPC was honored at the USPC Corporate Meeting on January 28, 2017 with the presentation of a special banner commemorating our 50th Anniversary by Nanci Pittman, President of the US Pony Clubs Inc. Thank you to all the past and present members, parents, and volunteers for helping us reach this amazing milestone!

We celebrated our 50th with three special events in 2017: Everything But The Horse Rally in April, a mounted and unmounted clinic with Olympic coach Daniel Stewart in June, and a party in September.

Our party was attended by upwards of eighty people, including current youth and Horsemaster members, friends and family, and members and officers from several other local clubs as well as our Regional Supervisor (and former PVPC DC), Katie Graham, and our RIC, Deb Smith. We were glad that the entire membership of the small but mighty Moon Valley Pony Club could join us for the festivities.

Best of all was the strong showing of alumni and former officers from the 1960s and 1970s, including some of the club's earliest leaders without whom we would not exist today: Mary Ann Pfaendler, MaryBeth Novak, Kay Moreshead, Nancy Stangeland Szakacs, and Constance Berry Kilmartin. This group of pioneers and early years alumni brought albums of photos and memorabilia to share, along with stories of their experiences in the first years of the club. 

Our party guests enjoyed a tasty BBQ dinner, silent auction, and barn dance with live music. Several current and past members sponsored tables, the bar, and the dance; and we had great support from local businesses for the auction which raised over $2,000 to help subsidize the club's mounted lesson program.

It was a pleasure to see the spirit of Pony Club at our party, with the creation of connections across generations and the renewal of old friendships. Our party was also a testament to the strength of community in Pony Club and the commitment of our volunteers. A special shout out to Sandra Welch, Denise Kupperman, and Jody Domingos for putting on such a wonderful special event. And a rousing round of applause to all the many, many volunteers who have created, built, and run Portola Valley Pony Club since its inception in 1967. 

[A longer version of this article appears in Pony Club News, January 2018]


Sunday April 2, 2017 - The Horse Park at Woodside, CA.

Portola Valley Pony Club welcomed 81 competitors, arranged into 15 teams (including one team of Horsemasters!) hailing from 11 clubs/centers to this fun, educational starter rally.  A team from Glenoaks Pony Club Riding Center, ably assisted by more experienced members of Woodside Pony Club, took home the blue ribbon!

The goal of EBTH is to test horse management knowledge and prepare Pony Club members to participate in a regular mounted rally in a low-stress, fun, community building environment. Each team of 3-4 "riders" was supported by a stable manager and/or a C-Level coach.  Each rider completed an Intro Level dressage test and a jumping round riding on their stick horse.

Each team set up their tack room and prepared for this one-day rally as it if were a competition with horses present. This means complete preparation of saddle, tack, riding attire (including USPC pin and medical arm band), and rally kits. Competitors did not bring feed for horses, but teams did bring buckets and any items typically used to feed and hydrate a horse. Stall cards and feed charts were placed in each team's “pony paddock” for inspection by the HM judges.

The rally was supported by many adults in volunteer roles, setting up the arenas, acting as judges, ring stewards, runners, and chaperones, and providing the food and other refreshments. It was a great community building event, with more than 100 people involved in total!


Portola Valley Pony Club held its annual celebration of achievement on February 12, 2017. The club distributed 13 perpetual trophies among the membership, recognizing high levels of participation among D, C and Upper Level members; achievement in equitation at the D and C level; community service; outstanding unmounted teaching; excellence as a leader and role model; and more. Lindsey M. was named the 2016 PVPC Pony Clubber of The Year (pictured here with Michelle Cale, DC).